We’re currently entering into one of the most exciting times for the markets industry, with many markets growing in popularity as more and more people begin to look beyond supermarket shelves to find a more unique and individual offer. This isn’t the case for all of our local markets, however, and it’s vitally important that they quickly learn to adapt in order to survive and thrive for years to come.

I’m sure many of you will know of those markets that are currently suffering from a lack of footfall, as more and more people turn to online shopping to get their clothes, goods and groceries delivered straight to their door. Amazon’s recent announcement of their partnership with Morrisons to deliver fresh and frozen products is yet another indication of how the competition is strengthening even further, with online giants and big supermarkets now teaming up to dominate the retail and grocery sector.

So, faced with this huge challenge, how can our industry adapt to ensure that markets remain at the heart of our society for years to come? The answer is quite straight-forward really, we need to be able to provide an offer which is simply unavailable anywhere else.

The one big advantage we have is that people are at the centre of everything we do. People can come to our markets and have the opportunity to shop and socialise with their friends and family. That simple human interaction is fast becoming unavailable anywhere else, as even our friendly checkout assistants are replaced by automated self-service robots. Markets need to take full advantage this and promote that they are, in fact, one of the few places left where you can actually talk to a friendly-face.

Coupled with this is the opportunity markets have to become home to one of the biggest growing sectorstm1 in the UK, street food and drink. A high-quality street food and drink offer is what will make many markets stand out as destinations for people to visit in town centres all across the country. Another area that markets need to embrace is interactive performance. People love to be entertained and adding in opportunities for local bands and musicians to perform will help bring our markets to life. Many markets will also need to really consider changing their hours of operation, as customers now want to visit their local market in the evening after work or at the weekend with their family.

Whether these changes are achieved by evolution, with these ideas being steadily introduced to our existing markets in order for them to survive, or by revolution, with whole new markets created in place of old ones in order for them to thrive, it is vitally important that markets find a way to remain a central part of our society for generations to come.

Joe Barratt

Co-Founder, The Teenage Market

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