“Meeting the challenges to secure our future”
Over many years markets have shaped the development of our towns and cities retail offer. They still have a very important role in bringing new independent businesses to the high street. Market operators and traders will have to embrace fast moving changes within the retail industry if they are to compete with well funded competitors.
The National Market Traders Federation (NMTF) has joined forces with The National Association of British Market Authorities (NABMA) to identify the six major issues that will affect the market industry over the next three to five years.
Next generation of market trader
Market operators will have to attract the next generation of trader. Consumers are becoming savvier in the way they shop, using mobile and tablet to check out what is available before they visit a premises. Operators and traders will need to make the market place a more up to date inspiring place to visit.
Adapting to new technology/new trading skills
Traders and operators will need to be trained to utilise new online concepts and social media to attract customers. An advert for their business or venue on a mobile phone or tablet is the same size as an advert placed by a national retail chain store. This gives the trader a great opportunity to promote their business for free. Introduction of a top class wi-fi system would encourage more foot-fall into markets. NMTF have produced a business support guide NMTF400 giving 400 ways to improve your sales.
New skills for the management of markets
The changes that have happened within the retail industry over the years means that market operators will have to adopt innovative ways to compete.
Structural change to local government
Local authorities will have to support their markets and invest in the infrastructure to ensure that businesses and customers feel the benefits of a thriving market place. Markets have provided a number of authorities with a surplus over the years and it is vital that changes are addressed and other forms of management are identified.
Market rights have been debatable over the years when used by authorities and operators to halt a rival market being set up. Market rights have also had a legitimate role to play to ensure a balanced market offer and maintain good standards.
The introduction of the European Services Directive has important implications for markets and it is essential that any changes do not affect the way existing markets operate.
Markets need the freedom to operate in the best locations to suit the consumer. In order to do this they need to be free from the long drawn out procedures of highway closures that prevent them from hosting markets.
Markets at the centre of our high streets
It is important that markets are at the centre of the high street debate. Parking, public transport and safety are amongst things that need to be dealt with, alongside business rates after recent revaluation of many markets. Markets will need to work closely with key stakeholder groups within their area.
Mission for Markets has held a number of road-shows in early 2015 to debate the six issues. This will provide the resources to prioritise and adopt measures to meet the future challenges of the industry.