Thursday, May 29, 2014

Equator Shops/Ndeeba Market

Visiting the equator we shopped at small stores located on the side of the road.  The merchandise and artwork in these stores was produced by the shop owners.  It was interesting to see some of the sales practices used by these shop owners as we browsed through their merchandise.  The shop owners took great business initiative to open up stores in a large tourist attraction like the equator.

6 comments:

  1. Did the shop owners differentiate their products? Why would you purchase from one shop versus the other (was it just price)? Do you think that the shop owners can make a living or are their margins to small? How did the shops compare to US shops?

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  2. Most of the shops sold the same item which I thought was interesting and I only visited one that specialized. I also saw that the shops on one side of the street sold at a considerably higher price than the other. This was due to the nicer stores having a higher rent to pay, and there for charging a higher price. Since most prices on items were negotiable I don't think the shop owners can make a living simply by selling at these shops. They are also competing against each other by selling the same items which will lower the prices across the board.

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  3. I as well noticed that the shops sold mainly the same items, as a market would be in other countries I have visited such as Mexico and Jamaica. I did notice however the owners in Uganda are much less pushy than other markets I have visited in the other countries I previously mentioned. Which leads me to my next point that I did not discriminate stores based on price but rather on how the owners treated their customers. I would rather pay more and benefit a hard working business owner. The next question on whether the owners can make a living, I would say is solely dependent on the tourist traffic. Which is not very sustainable because tourism can decrease due to national security or economic downfalls in other countries.

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  4. Although many of the shop owners had the same items, each one had one or two things of specialty. I think if they could each come together and discuss what would benefit each person/ the group it could become more sustainable. I also believe they should offer services that would be attractive to locals and non-tourist passer-byes.

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  5. During our time at the equator you could see the dependence of tourism for shop owners to succeed. Most of the shop owners had started off with sometimes ridiculous prices on somewhat cheap products. While we shopped you could bargain to a bit more of a reasonable price but at times they were reluctant to sell because they tried getting the most out of our money. One shop was selling a bowl for 65,000 shillings which I bargained to 55,000 shillings while the same bowl at another store was for 80,000 shillings which the lady wouldn't go under 70,000 shillings. It was interesting to see these things and how shop owners reacted when we were in the stores.

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  6. Viewing a retail business model different from the average American model was very interesting. As Alex said, these shop owners depend heavily on tourism. Having such an unreliable source of income provides for unique sales tactics. Starting small talk and inviting everybody into their shop "just to have a look around" gives the impression that these owners have a hard time finding revenue. While bargaining with them I almost felt too bad to ask for a lower price because I had the feeling that something as small 5000 shillings to me was huge to them. It really shows how hard it is to be a small business owner in Uganda.

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