Sunday, March 1, 2015

Indoor spaces - bane or boon?

1 March 2015

Guess where this post was written at ? This is on a weekend Sunday where we have 3 outdoor bazaars in 3 different out door locations. 

Needless to say, to be able to blog from one of the locations, it can only mean a few things:

  • That if we're not busy attending to customers, we can find time to do other things;
  • That outdoor locations are bad for organisers (we digress, every location has its good and bad days);
  • That outdoor locations are bad for vendors (we also digress, besides getting free, much needed sunshine vitamin, a good proportion of our vendors are having brisk sales - remember - besides the traffic, there's the part on what you sell, and how you sell it, and your interpretation of the crowd there - which is why we always encourage you to conduct your own site surveys before signing up with new venues we offer);
  • That TGIF Bazaar has not sufficient staff (we kind of think that way, especially with the opportunities that we had to let go... and its hard to find folks with the right aptitude to work in a brick and mortar start up);
  • That TGIF Bazaars has a certain capability where logistical and operational capabilities are concerned.

Anyway, back to the topic we want to write about today: Indoor spaces

Recap on last post with more details: 

What we've observed (you may beg to differ) about indoor (or semi indoor) spaces available for flea markets and bazaars that is commonly known in Singapore are:

  • Shopping mall atrium space;
  • Shopping mall non-commercial space;
  • Empty retail outlets; 
  • Empty office space;
  • Co-located / shared space with restaurants / cafeteria with extra space
  • And semi-outdoor space such as the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station where Public Gardens held the first night flea market, Happier Hour.
And there are also the push carts that are usually owned by mall management themselves.

In our encounters with mall managements, we can safely assume the following to be true especially for indoor atrium space:

Assumption 1 : Mall management will charge you a premium for their atrium space if they think you need them more than they want you. 

Assumption 2 : Mall management will be prepared to give you discounts or the venue for free if they think they need you more than you want them.

Assumption 3 : Mall managements know what they want.

Our opinion is that any good organisers who truly think for the business well being of their vendors and partners, will make the appropriate suggestions so that everyone in the business eco-system, will know how to position their businesses and products for synergistic gains.

(But our opinion on what makes good organisers could be wrong).

Moving forward, the onus is on organisers to create that value proposition for mall management, so that they will consider give you large discounts for their atrium space. 

Is there a universal value proposition? Not really. It all depends on how you read and understand the situation as well as mall managements' objectives.

Here are some examples of objectives that we have encountered : 

  • Raise footfall to the mall through targeted or blanket approach, with incremental footfall there are greater opportunities for their tenants to drive incremental spending of shoppers 
  • Raise awareness of their new mall.
  • Refreshed and unusual merchandise mix that draw repeat visits from shoppers returning to their malls - a flea market or bazaar is a whiff of fresh air and helps sustains repeated visits. 
  • Raise rental revenue for mall management (this one, I am sure all organisers will go bleah... without showing it on our faces for sure ! heh heh )... )
So how do you find out from the venue owners?

Simple - just ask them (they may or may not give you the true picture - but how you get the true picture depends on your inter-personal skills with the officer in charge).

Empty office / warehouse / multi-function space : 

Good existing examples are : 1) Triple One Somerset 2) F1 pit building 3) Museums with empty halls or spaces

Exhibition halls that host Mega Flea markets by T Cartel are a different ball game with different business models altogether.

Organisers considering the use of empty office spaces (usually near town or in town) have to be able to draw crowds there. 

The plus points of having such venues are : air-conditioning, shelter and you have great photography angles showing how crowded the flea markets are, as well as some benefits of some other unmentionables that only industry players know, and I ain't going to pitchia lobang here !   ;) 

The downsides of such venues are : over-crowding, shopper experience will be affected by  shoppers obstructing one another as they stop to browse the merchandise. 

In addition, What are the chances of vendor/ shopper fatigue (same merchandise, different venues) setting in? We are human after all and sometimes we like variety.

As for other indoor locations such as empty retail spaces and co-location with restaurants / cafes, it is also commonly known as retail pop up, and there are 2 organisers at the point of writing that we know of who are doing this : 

  1. For Flea Sake
  2. Three blind mice... 

That's about it for this time, I know we haven't put up a lot of pictures and everything is wordy - we'll put up some in time to come!

We will talk more about outdoor spaces the next time!