Bring and Buy gets radical make over
This year saw the bring and buy nearly collapsed under the weight of its own popularity and with large shows like the UKGE this usually spells doom for the bring and buy. However those at the UKGE are made of sterner (stubborn) stuff. We have thought long and hard about how to make it quicker to book in, quicker to buy, quicker to find items and quicker to collect your payment and unsold goods.
So what were the issues last year:-
- The volume of people trying to book in meant the queue for booking in was taking several hours at the peak time
- The volume of people trying to buy led to long queues and waiting times.
- It was very difficult to actually find stuff on the large tables, further slowing through put.
- Half the room wasn't used as the tables were against one wall, when the scrum was two deep no one else could see.
- Huge amount of manual book keeping for the admin staff
- People putting stuff on the bring and buy which had no value and when not sold was just left behind, (so we have to get rid of it).
So what's the plan
Small tweaks and more space will just not do the job so a radical redesign is needed. This is what we are going to do.
Booking in can be done online before the show and we would encourage everyone to do this. When you turn up with the goods low tack labels will already be printed for you to attach to your goods as they are checked in by the b&b staff. These labels will have the description/price and a bar code for your item. So booking in for you should be a quick stick and check that what you are selling matches the label. Then pay your fees and off you go.
ALL b&b items will be entered into the data system. NO EXCEPTIONS. On the day submissions can be entered by staff on their computers or you can enter them via any device you have and then check them in and have them labelled.
The booking in will be separate entrance and area from the shopping. So if you are buying you are not waiting for people to book in.
The buying set up
The b&b will no longer operate by setting up behind a line of trestle tables. The room will be set up like a shop. Free standing shelves will hold the goods ordered based on their barcode item number. This will allow a free flow of people making most use of the room and allow up the four times as many items to be displayed as before in the same space.
NO bags/rucksacks/wheel barrows will be allowed into the shop area. We will endeavour to have an area for you to drop your bags so you can collect them on the way out. This is to help prevent loss of goods due to stealing which it is sad to say happens each year.
There will be one way in and one way out. Anyone coming in MUST exit through the tills, at this point you can pay for anything you have bought and collect your bag. This will be done using bar code scanners to total the goods. Otherwise you are free to look through the shelves and collect what you wish to buy.
Don't like to queue or browse, fine. Last year we came mind numbingly close to releasing our convention app (3-4 days). Next year it will be released for android and iphone and possibly windows/blackberry. As ALL items will be on our database you can view them via he app or via our website. If you spot something you like, note the itm number, run to the express desk, and a volunteer will fetch the item and take payment. This will be restricted to a certain number of items , eg 3 or less. But does mean you can browse the b&b without ever going near it until you spot what you are after. Of course the item you want might sell before you get there but them's the breaks.
Collecting your loot
As the sales are all computerised, if you have an expo account you can see what you have sold live. However when you wish to collect your goods and money a sheet will be printed showing what you have sold, so you can be paid and your unsold items recovered.
Hopefully with these changes things should speed up everything on all fronts. Over the next few months we will begin to test booking in etc to make sure it all goes smoothly and hopefully do a dry run if we can at a smaller b&b.