Company: Good Market
Location: Colombo, Sri Lanka
Industry: Social enterprise
Good Market was started in Sri Lanka as a mission-driven social enterprise to promote products and services that are “good for the planet, good for the country, and good for you.” It now has over 200 market vendors and continues to grow day by day.
Can you tell us a little bit about how you got started and what you’re all about?
We started in 2012 as a weekly market in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo. Now, we have over 200 approved Good Market vendors, a retail shop that’s open daily, and we’re always getting requests to expand to other cities.
All our vendors go through a review process to ensure that they meet Good Market standards. We want to make sure that they benefit the community’s health and environment.
What’s your local community like?
It’s an exciting time in Sri Lanka. The country is emerging from nearly 30 years of war, and there are many new initiatives developing in our communities.
Good Market vendors are doing some incredible things. Socially responsible enterprises are working on organic and natural food, fair trade and upcycled crafts, ayurvedic medicine, natural body and home products, ethical fashion, green construction and landscaping, alternative energy services, ecotourism initiatives, and much more.
The customers are equally inspiring. We see all sorts of people that want to feed their families healthy natural foods, purchase according to their values, and support local retailers.
What brought you to Vend and how have you found it? Would you recommend Vend to retailers like you?
We were looking for a cloud-based POS and gave Vend a trial in our Good Market pop-up shop. We loved that it was so easy to use, and integrated with Xero!
It wouldn’t be possible to run Good Market without Vend. We’re operating out of a fairly small space with limited stores, so everything works on a “just-in-time” basis. Vendors deliver small volumes weekly or sometimes even daily. The shop team receives hundreds of deliveries per month in Vend, which gets pushed through to Xero so the accounts team can process payments. Since we work with lots of rural producers and small businesses, it’s important that we process payments quickly.
We love using a cloud-based system and recommend Vend to everyone. It’s amazing to see what’s happening in the shop from any location. We’ve really benefited from the continuous upgrades and improvements, and the Vend customer service team is always quick and friendly.
What does your passion come from for what you do?
It’s so inspiring to see change unfolding. Customers are becoming more aware of sustainability issues, and Good Market vendors are always improving and expanding. The passion of our young volunteers and team members is really motivating.
What’s your best retail tale?
There aren’t many part-time job opportunities for students in Sri Lanka. Young people often graduate from university in their mid-20s with no practical work experience. We’ve set up scheduling and training systems that make it easy for students to work in the shop part-time and during holidays. The Vend interface is so intuitive that they pick it up quickly.
It’s really fun to watch this young team experience the joys of customer service and retail. They have a WhatsApp group and share customer questions, feedback, and new ideas for improvements. The first day the shop passed a major sales milestone, they took a picture of the sales report on the Vend home screen and shared it with the group, which was followed by lots of celebratory emoticons!
Do you have any advice for retailers that you wish you’d known?
Invest time in developing systems and putting them in writing. Especially for small business owners, it’s so easy to get lost in day-to-day operations. If you spend time now developing training systems, operational systems, and reporting systems, it will save time in the future and free up space for new initiatives.
About Ashley Gilgrist
Ashley looks after product marketing at Vend — working hard to bring exciting product launches to retailers around the globe. When she’s not busy talking all-things-Vend, Ashley also has a love of tea, candle-crafting, binge-watching, and hiking the pointy peaks of New Zealand.