Many of you will know that WeLoveOurVillage has been given exclusive access to the plan produced by our local shops’ association OVIS (Our Village’s Independent Shops) entitled a Big Plan for Developing Retailing in our Village to 2020 (subtitled: “Shut Up and Shop”).
It’s a report that which has had the whole village talking in our cafes, pubs and shops – ‘leading to further shopping inefficiencies’ according to Malcolm Haxton, the Chair of OVIS with a roll of hos eyes and a shake of his head.
In the concluding part of this exclusive, – Malcolm Haxton continues to lay out the key points in the OVIS plan for better village shopping – but more succinctly than last week, where he wrote loads.
Malcolm Haxton writes:
Here are the final changes we would like to see in the shopping habits of our villagers, since as we say in OVIS “you won’t get better shopping in the village without better shoppers in the village.”
These points are taken from the chapter in the report “How our Shoppers must up their game” here are the improvements we are looking for:
- more specific descriptions for items being shopped for: “I want something simple for our tea as I’m having a few friends round, what do you think?” is simply no good to our members any more. The quality and quantity of food programming currently on the television and pumped out in the press means that shoppers should jolly well know what they want – otherwise why bother watching or reading that stuff? We now expect clear precise instructions on what is required and please, keep it simple and remember we don’t have access to many of the foods you will see on television or read about in your papers.
- no general ‘touching’ of items in our members shops – we know most people aren’t going to buy what they are touching and they are just wasting time, but people still do it which is irritating.
- faster decision making – too much of our members time is spent waiting for people to make their minds up over very basic decisions – for example on a regular basis you can see village shoppers holding two cans of soup or pasta next to each other weighing up which that would prefer. Sometimes they read the labels in some detail and sometimes they even ask questions before a decision is made – this process takes even longer if the shopper wears reading glasses
- no schoolchildren allowed in any shops at any time, the only way we would want schoolchildren in our shops is if an OVIS member is present at the child’s house with a parent at the time and full telephone contact is kept between the shop and the OVIS member in situ at the house. This simple device means that the shop owner can give a simple ‘all clear’ when the child leaves. If the child steals something during his or her visit (or is suspected of doing this) the OVIS member will remove items to the value of the stolen goods from the child’s house. This may seem draconian but we’ll see how they like it.
So there you have it – a few simple and common sense steps to better shopping in the village.
“But what are the shops going to do?” I hear all you shoppers cry!
Well, here are just some of the initiatives that OVIS is considering to enhance the village’s shopping experience:
- support local initiatives with advertising (Mr Petersham who sits on the board of OVIS was very keen on this)
- better local signage (Marcus Phelchurch who sits on the board of OVIS was very keen on this)
- clearer identification of shops the sell second hand items and those selling new stuff – there has been some confusion on this especially with a number of newer charity outlets setting up in spare retail space in the village which have filled up with some second hand stuff from our more affluent residents. These residents are the ones who shop in Town and then dispense with their assorted old (ie used once and got bored) cafetieres, sun lamps, fondues, crockery, DVDs, designer dresses, designer shoes, designer shirts, designer this, designer that in support of ‘charity’ which is of no use to our OVIS members at all. OVIS members sell new items and see this form of retailing as a threat to our values. OVIS does not recognise charity retailers.
- more fact finding missions to USA – to keep OVIS at the cutting edge of retail and let’s face it nobody sells or buys like the Americans
- obtain at least one new credit and debit card reader in the village – some OVIS members have asked for a new online reader – but the majority would prefer an updated ‘slidey’ type
- late night shopping on the first Thursday of every month perhaps until 6:15pm
With these in place we feel the village will offer a faster, slicker shopping experience for all except young people and old people. And less affluent mothers.
To those villagers who say that OVIS members do not provide a retail environment the modern shopper is looking for (apart from haircuts, shoes and tobacco products), we can point to the success of two of our newer members namely Kirsten van der Wette’s proprietor of The Twee House and Tony Mortocelli owner of Tony Mortocellis ‘World of Baubles.’ Each of which offer new customer centric experiences. But more of those shops another day.
There is plenty to think about in our report and I urge all villagers to seek out a full copy and read it. But not whilst taking your time drinking a coffee in a village coffee shop.
Yours in retail