21 Apr Leeds City Council – Case Study
The largest indoor market in Europe and the site of the very first Marks and Spencer Penny Bazaar in 1884, Leeds Kirkgate Market have been working with Marketti to bring this historical market into the digital age.
I have a particular fondness for Leeds Market. The beautiful soaring arches of the main Victorian market hall can be seen repeated across the world from Bratislava to Buenos Aires, as a model for how indoor commerce was to be carried out. I love the cheeky little red dragons that help make up the cast iron supports for the first floor area and progressing down through Butchers Row and Fishmongers Row, little covered streets that connect the various parts of the market, you start to get an idea of the scale of the place before heading through to the newly refurbished events space, adjacent to the large outdoor market, that now contains food stalls, an eating area and which was created as part of the recent £12.3m investment programme committed to such an important local landmark.
BBC HQ for the Northern Powerhouse is just round the corner and last year for the start of Love Your Local Market, I held twenty-four regional interviews back to back in the centre of the market, complete with the sounds of market life in the background and the cries of the nearby fruit and veg trader. Recently the management team and market traders have come together to challenge the approach to traditional trading hours to pilot Kirklate, a monthly night market in the new events space that has proved so popular, it now has approval to become a regular fixture in the market calendar.
The process we have gone through with Leeds City Council has been thorough and has helped enormously shape the direction we have taken in engaging with the industry. I first met Project Officer, Susan Upton and Market Manager, Steve Mason back in January as they were keen to know how Marketti could assist in the future direction of a digital market place. There is a drive by market operators everywhere to get traders more engaged with social media and Leeds Market is no exception which is why all Marketti listings for both traders and markets will link to social profiles, supported by a range of learning tools we shall be rolling out over the Summer to support traders in gaining vital digital skills.
Other questions the team wanted to know where around the role of apps in the market world and while some exist for town centres or act at a local level, the power of Marketti is in aggregating markets on both a regional and national scale. Barriers to entry for traders are low with Market Operators having the choice to verify licensed traders and the team were satisfied that roll out can be managed through clear communications channels that will be adapted over the coming months with support from us.
The ability for traders to take card payments was also high on the list of wants, as it is across the country with the consensus that market businesses are missing out if they don’t accept cards. Indeed, 2018 is forecast to be the year card processing outstrips cash for the first time and it is highly unlikely this is a trend to see a reverse. The Marketti business model is centred around card transactions and the reason we are able to make the market and trader listing free, although it should be noted that our first step is to get markets and traders on to the platform with no prerequisite to sign up to our payments system in order to do so.
In February it was time to meet the rest of the team and Derek and I went along to further illustate the collective power of Marketti to the councils Commercial, Communications and IT departments as well as a representative from Visit Leeds. All were very impressed and we heaved a sigh of relief to know our Local Authority Briefing Note had been passed by a scrutiny committee. We had already done a sample poll from LA’s across the country on the acceptance of apps and submission and approval to the App Stores is the accepted standard and the head of IT was assured of our tight security protocols and that the code for the app and desktop service being our IP.
We’re really looking forward to working with the Market Team and traders on next steps and Market Manager, Steve Mason has volunteered his time and expertise in the process to Market Operators in the North looking to implement Marketti on their market.
To get in touch with Steve, you can email him HERE!