How embracing tech has made this Melbourne artist market completely cashless

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Melbourne has a long heritage as Australia’s leading market town and the city’s culture has paved the way for creative types to sell their locally sourced wares. Rose Street Artists Market is a perfect illustration of this market culture; featuring around 50 contemporary artists each week, likened to the designer markets of London, Berlin and Europe.

This weekend, Rose Street Market will become the first Australian market to go cashless, recognising consumers changing spending habits and setting the event up for further growth. Square is providing the company’s new tap-and-go card reader to every trader at The Rose St. Market, ensuring that for the first time, all the sellers at Melbourne’s home of art and design are able to accept credit cards, debit cards and mobile wallets.

One such vendor is The Naked Store. Founded in Melbourne by a small team of passionate creators, Naked has positioned itself at the forefront of bamboo fashion across Australia and New Zealand.

“The vision is simple; to uniquely bring together classic style and quality to create long lasting wardrobe essentials you’ll never want to take off.”

Naked are a staple in the Melbourne market scene and the recent boom of artists markets in the city have played a big part in their success.

“The bonus is, Naked is able to commit to reducing our environmental impact through using natural, sustainable fibres and is proud to be sweatshop free.”

We spoke to Christian Ferrante, owner of Rose St Artists’ Market on the role markets play within the Australian retail space and how they are promoting microcommerce.

How are markets disrupting the retail space in Australia?

In many ways, markets are a traditional retail space. That said, they may have lost their sparkle for some years but there’s no doubt that nowadays, both customers and independent makers see the value in selling at markets. Markets are great because you can bring them to the people and utilise non-traditional retail spaces like schools, pubs, town squares and parks. And lately we’ve seen the rise of event based markets which including live music, food, activities and of course retail therapy. These markets create a sense of urgency for customers to buy here and now which today’s traditional retail can’t match.

How does the Rose Street Market support microcommerce and small vendors?

By giving our artists and designers a platform to sell their wares without high commissions and rents, we give them flexibility to use their money to grown their business, not simply pay a lease. As we’ve seen with things like the Square payment system, we also give them access to technology which they might not otherwise have to help them keep pace with traditional retailers.

Why go cashless? What have been the challenges and benefits?

Going cashless is a no brainer!  There’s no doubt people have taken to things like tap-n-go type payments so it makes sense to offer this service. We’re removing the barriers to our stallholders making a sale. Of course there will always be a place for cash at a market – it’s just a smaller segment.

What’s to come in the next 6-12 months?

Partnering with Square has given us the ability to take retail anywhere so expect to see The Rose St. Artists’ Market pop-up in places where you least expect it and continue to disrupt traditional retail.

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