January is notoriously a slow month for the best of markets, but for most, the show must go on. The New Year is a great time to review with a fresh pair of eyes what you can do in 2016 to revive your market. Here are a few ideas.
As retail institutions markets have a genuine opportunity to offer something that can’t be bought on the High Street. With so many discount and pound shops, it’s harder for market traders to compete on many everyday items that people used to head to market to buy.
Niche traders who can offer products or services that aren’t readily available with the local area have a much stronger chance of creating a viable business. The fact that some traditional niche market businesses like haberdashery and fabrics, for example, have survived supports this.
Attract Strong Brands
If they don’t come to you start head hunting! Find out who your local brand-stomping businesses are. These are the businesses that people are talking about and are ready to recommend.
Social Media is a great place to start your research. Look for local community Facebook groups and Twitter Feeds. Perhaps you could attract them initially with a special small business showcase or something similar.
If you can attract the local press with additional news worthy activity, this could help to attract the brands that you want to your market.
If you’re lucky enough to be working at a market where you can rotate traders and events, then think alternative!
Antiques & Flea Markets in London are hugely popular and traders are always seeking new markets to trade at. Old Spitalfields Market in East London holds a fantastic flea & antiques market every Thursday. The weird and wonderful stalls found at Old Spitalfields Market keep visitors returning. Bermondsey Market, Portobello Market, Camden Passage and Deptford Market are other great examples.
Another epic alterative market is Wayne Hemingway’s Classic Car boot. Markets including Greenwich, have successfully replicated their own versions of the classic car show/market. Record Fairs, Teen Markets, Baby and Children’s Markets and Alternative Fashion Markets, like the Tottenham Flea Pit are proven formulas. As long as you have the audience and demand, why not try something new?
Community People Power
In 2016 make your market matter to local people. In my previous articles I have discussed the positive impact they can have in engaging locals and improving local economy. Lambeth seems to be leading the way in London. Brixton Station Road, The Granville Market Space, The West Norwood Feast are all shining examples. Watch out for Twist on Station Rise, which was recently funded by the Mayor of London and other crowd funders on Spacehive, with ambitions to regenerate Tulse Hill at the run-down end of West Norwood Road.
I hope I’ve given you some food for thought? Whatever you do, think big for markets in 2016!