When looking at starting your market, one of the very first things you have to ask yourself is…will people use it?
If the market has traders but few, if any, customers, then you will quickly find yourself in a situation where your traders have gone off to find a more lucrative way to spend a day.
There are lots of ways to assess public reaction to your proposed market. There are many examples of simple and relatively cheap resources. Just remember technology is your friend!
You’re going to have to spend a bit of time on the Internet.
A huge amount of local statistics can be found on your local area and a good place to start would be local and town council websites, which should be able to tell you if there is a Community Area Plan, Neighbourhood Plan, Core Strategy or documents like Public Health Reports. These can provide you with the answers to hundreds of questions relevant to your community, such as:
Availability of fresh food at affordable prices?
Is there a high turnover of young people leaving the area as soon as they become adults due to a lack of opportunities?
Is there adequate promotion of the arts and culture?
Are there enough local opportunities for people to come together?
Can local people get information about community services?
Many applications on the Internet have a free usage allowance and questionnaire tools are no exception. Sites like Survey Monkey all allow sample questions when consulting with the local community, as part of your market research.
Once you have completed your desktop research it is time to see if the public agrees with you, or have some other suggestions for you. Think about your questions carefully and try to keep them to six, as any more may disengage your audience. Try to keep as many of the questions as closed as you can with multiple-choice answers, as this will help you build up your statistics for reporting purposes.
One open question asking for peoples individual opinions is also useful though as this can open up areas for consideration that you may not have previously considered.
Recommendation: Opinion Poll
There are countless free Opinion Poll applications on the internet that work with social media and are completely free. Decide which one is the best for you and regularly ask people in your area what they think about your idea for a new market, alongside supplying them with all the information around your aspirations for the project.
One of the fastest ways to gather and accumulate public opinion is through social media.
As a minimum we would recommend setting up a Facebook page to help you do this. This can then become a living record of how your market research is conducted and offers a platform from which to post your questionnaires without going to the expense and effort of a website. Your basic aspirations and who is involved in the project can be made entirely transparent and any collated statistics, facts and other information, disseminated and shown to a wider audience, as well as a great way of getting feedback and seeing support.
For a greater insight into what other markets are up to on a daily basis and to be more pro-active in gaining support for your project, you may want to try a dedicated Twitter account. There are many sites dedicated to the pros and cons of various social media platforms but put simply, Twitter can help you get out there and find out what everyone else is saying.
How you use social media will also need some desktop research. Find out which other clubs and organisations in your area have Facebook pages or Twitter accounts and include them in your questions and conversations. Are your local, Town and Parish Councillor’s on there? Make sure you include them in the consultation process by sending them the link to your questionnaire and signpost them to your opinion poll. How about all the schools and local colleges? If you think about all the different age brackets and other demographics, you will probably find something that touches all of them.