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Why Transportation Matters For Christmas Market Traders

With the days rapidly getting shorter and the orange and gold leaves cascading from the trees, now is as truly autumnal as it gets. After all, the two main events of this season - Halloween and Bonfire Night - have both just come and gone.

However, the very fact that the times for spectres and sparklers have passed by means that for traders, there is nothing left to do except look forward to Christmas.

Some may argue that the festivities should be kept for December, but the reality is that not only will millions of shoppers be out looking for gifts, food and bunting, but Christmas markets will be getting underway all over the UK.

The Magic Of Markets

This highly popular innovation, inspired by German traditions and often still full of European elements even after Brexit, can now be seen in cities across the UK. The markets in big cities like Birmingham and Manchester are already underway, but there will be many more in smaller cities and various towns all over the country.

As anyone who has visited will know, the variety of items on sale is huge. There is plenty of food and drink for consumption on the spot or for later, as well as lots of gifts from grand (or just quirky) presents to a plethora of stocking fillers for the kids. And while there may be traders from all over Europe, many others will be from the UK, often local to the venue.

Millions will be drawn to these events, which will make for great days out and opportunities for socialising as well as chances to do some shopping. But while these will be much-anticipated events for most of the public, those directly involved in putting them on will realise just how much planning, preparation and logistical support is needed.

It may be that your company has already made its presence felt at one or more of these markets, but it might also be the case that it hasn’t yet and you are about to make your first foray into the world of Christmas markets.

With these events opening in more locations, the opportunities emerging after Covid, and some existing markets being enlarged, there are more chances to take part. Slots may also become available if previous years’ traders have dropped out.

How Can You Transport Your Stock?

If you are planning to get involved, it’s worth thinking about a few different questions that will arise, as these will determine the sort of freight support you need.

A few traders might be able to get away with having one van of their own to bring all their stuff to the market if they have just one stall in one venue, either replenishing their wares (especially if they are of the edible kind) or bringing enough small items to last for the length of their stay - especially if the market starts later in November or even in December.

However, in many cases that clearly will not be enough. You may not have a lot of stock that will keep for a long time (or is neither imperishable nor inedible). Your stall may be large. You may be working far from home and therefore need a delivery to a place of storage at or near the market itself, not to your normal home base.

In addition to these scenarios, if your company is large enough you may be splitting your staff between different stalls in multiple locations. In that case, you need to have the logistical support to keep all the stalls stocked up, often at different times and some needing to be replenished faster than others.

Not only might this be more than you can manage with your own company vehicles - which may or may not include a van - but you may need a much larger vehicle for the volume of goods you will be taking. On top of this is the fact that you might need to take all sorts of other equipment, signage and other accessories with you.

Indeed, it may be that what you actually need is substantial warehouse storage nearby for your goods, which can help ensure you won’t keep on running out of popular items.

That means your needs for logistical support will not just focus on the size of vehicle you need, but how often and frequently it is available. The last thing you want is to need some more stock in but have no means of getting it to the market.

This last consideration is a significant one because the markets go on for so long. Not only have some already begun before the last firework has fizzled out, but they will typically go on until the last few days before Christmas - when traders pack up and go home to spend the festive season with their loved ones - but can sometimes carry on until New Year.

Not Just Stallholders

All these elements can apply if you are simply selling things at a stall. In many cases, the actual physical structure you inhabit will already be provided; local councils will set up every year by assembling large interconnected structures that fill pedestrianised streets and squares with stall space. However, this does not apply to everyone.

In other instances, firms may be adding their own features to the markets. This could include a pop-up tent, or an ice rink, in which case a lot of privately owned equipment needs to be transported, including everything from the structures that need to be assembled and then dismantled, to the equipment users will need.

As Christmas approaches, trucks and vans all over the country will be very busy ferrying goods back and forth to retailers and in the fulfilment of e-Commerce orders. But they will also need to be taking loads of goods, equipment and signage to the various Christmas markets that people will enjoy.

By ensuring you have the right preparations in place to ensure your equipment and stock get where it needs to be and can be replenished fast whenever you need it, you can make a great success of your own festive market stall.

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