Tuesday 5 December 2017

More On Ditching General Merchandise

The term “General Merchandise” has been criticised as a inappropriate for describing top end trading activity because it smacks of old world retailing and is just plain boring.

The QVM Marketing Team recognised this some time ago and official notification of trading hours on the QVM website uses the term “Specialty Shopping” to differentiate from food.

Traders in the upper market essentially specialise in particular ranges, categories, or concepts, so “Specialty Shopping” or “Specialty Merchandise” seems a much more appropriate term than “General Merchandise”.

Although when you go deeper into the QVM website you find entries like this –

Other official documentation, particularly from City of Melbourne and more recently from the renewal team regularly refers to General Merchandise Sheds and General Merchandise Traders. 

People make assumptions about names and it is likely that the old term “General Merchandise” doesn’t conjure up many positive thoughts. We think it is time all that terminology changed to something like “Specialty”.

Have Your Say – click here. 

05/12/2017 15:54:07      Upper market         "Without doubt should be specialty merchandise don’t know why we are having this debate it should have been changed long ago most upper end businesses are Special."
Thank you for your contribution - Ed.

06/12/2017 08:05:51      General Merchandise       "No offence everyone, but you need to deliver on promises. So be careful what you over sell. Specialty / exciting??? Pleeease! How bout 'same-same' or 'not much to look at here'. Sorry, but lets get real. Lets lift our game first (yeah Im talking to you) and then maybe launch new branding (that's what a name is by the way)"
Great Point! - naming is one thing - delivering a better offer is something else. But this is not about misrepresenting (ok, "exciting" isn't always appropriate). This is about more accurately describing what traders do in the Upper Market. Let's make the point again - upper market traders specialise in particular categories, ranges or concepts. The fact that they specialise usually results in expertise that goes way beyond what you find in department stores. I don't sell a general range of goods, I specialise in one category. It is more appropriate (and better marketing) to say that the upper market is populated by Specialty Retailers rather than it sells a general range of goods. Making things better, lifting our game, removing repetition, and meeting consumer needs, are all issues that are receiving our attention, but lets get the name right. - Ed

From Facebook 6/12/2017
Drita Mclennan  - "I am a little tired of this same same bs...Don’t complain about “same same”, when you can walk into any of the major shopping centres and see multiple jewellery, nail, hairdresser etc, etc ... in a shopping centre we are told its competition... at QVM we are told its repetitive. Until we change our overall view and language of how we describe ourselves nothing changes. Stop trying to talk our wonderful Market down."
Thanks Drita - Ed.

06/12/2017 09:57:42      Specialty       "The term 'Specialist Traders' might have some merit, as indeed many traders do 'specialise' or know a fair bit about a particular product. But 'specialty merchandise' suggests more about the products and range on offer in general, and that I would argue is another matter altogether.
So whilst I could agree on Specialist Traders as an interesting and appropriate term, I would say that Specialty Merchandise would be a misnomer given the current state of things. How about we get to appropriate that description when we actually have nailed something special and not same same. When our point of difference is clear and irresistible to customers." 
Thank you. You are quite correct - Specialist Traders and Specialty Merchandise are two different things. But I still think we are confusing the term Specialty with being special. This is not about how special the offer is but how we describe what is on offer beyond very boring and old world terminology. We need something better than General Merchandise. Maybe the generic "Retail Sector" is the way to go. - Ed

06/12/2017 10:07:33      Upper market         "I think the point to be made is that we need to remove repetition the same stall holders having multiple stalls. There are innovative stalls at the top end please keep it that way."  
Thanks for your input - Ed.

09/12/2017 18:15:23      General/Specialty Merchandise "The biggest mistake you can make is to overpromise and under deliver.  Although we have a small handful of specialty traders, a majority of traders are not.
A market full of unique hard to find items would attract people in - many years back general merchandise did have better product curation and there were more visitors and customers to the aisle.
While our small handful of traders do have a nice offer, it gets lost in amongst counterfeit toys, sports jerseys etc.  No one would walk through a shopping centre that has $2 shops making up 75% of the retail space, it is no different in the market.
When we changed the QVM logo we did so without making improvements to the market - it has in fact gone backwards since then.  There is little point changing the term general merchandise until after we make wholesale improvements.  We also are in dire need of traders to take pride in presentation - clean displays, proper fittings, clear & computerised or digital signage.
Until a higher standard is met I don’t feel we serve as a specialty precinct."

Thank you for such a considered response. The input on this subject has been great. Your thoughts about the standards of presentation in our market would be echoed by many traders. However we have what we have. Much work will be done over coming months and years to assist traders to adapt to a rapidly changing environment. That is a major task and in the meantime there is a little thing about terminology that might assist our transition. I disagree with you on one point - I think the majority of our traders in the Upper Market are Specialty Traders. There is always room for improving presentation but that is a different matter all together. Rather than wait for improvements let's correct an anomaly right now and get rid of an outdated description. - Ed

10/12/2017 16:26:26      Specialty merchandise      "Using the term specialty merchandise excludes traders who are service based.  Specialty traders or specialty shopping would be more appropriate."
Good Point - Thank you. - Ed