Making a market of it…

…online of course!

The St. Andrew’s bazaar has been a mainstay of church activities and fundraising for many, many years (more on this to come in the next few days…) but we had to take a different approach this year, for obvious reasons.

The thinking and discussion started back in September, at a time when we could hold the book sale, and whilst still hopeful, it was looking increasingly unlikely that the bazaar would be possible. The energy and interest from several of the stallholders was obvious, as they set up stalls in the church garden, building interest and takings from the book sale. The community interest was also clear, and it was lovely to see the people gathering and chatting – with suitable distance and precautions of course.

As there were many homemade goods available, and people were wondering how best to get hold of their Christmas essentials (and some luxuries) the conversation started to explore how we could sell things online. This created a huge number of questions – website, payment, stock control, deliveries – many of which we only realised when it was staring us in the face!

A team of volunteers came together with only limited amounts of press-ganging needed to work it out, and the market went live in early November, with the first order being received about 20 minutes after the announcement. In the next 4 weeks, 120 orders were received for items such as crackers, Christmas puddings, cards, groceries and of course homemade jams and marmalades. There was a raffle for a prize hamper, and each order over Fr 50 received a complimentary bottle of wine – which proved quite popular as people came back to order more wine.

The prize hamper

To put it into the words of Miriam, who was coordinating the orders:

I was first-in-line to receive the orders by email.   As I am no computer expert, I had to find a simple, foolproof, efficient way to send them on.  I did this with a Word list summarising each order – order number, name and address, goods requested, price, comments – and when the page was full I sent it on to Sarah and Lisa.  In all, there were 38 pages.   Whether this was the best way to do it, I can’t judge, but the system worked and I enjoyed being part of the team.

All of our “elves” took great satisfaction from the work, and were pleased with how it came together. The talk of “never again” soon turned to “next time…”. Most delightful of all, was the response from our customers, who sent some lovely messages:

I wanted to say thank you for the great service with the market. It was great to be able to order online, pay by Twint and have it delivered to my village!
These things do not happen by accident so thank you to all involved for the great idea and excellent execution of it. If you decide to repeat it, I will certainly save my Christmas shopping spree for St Andrew’s. 
Thank you also for the bottle of wine – we have not opened it yet but look forward to enjoying it  🙂

Dear Team ,
Thank you so much for the Delivery of our Order No 36.
All those Goodies at one time. It’s quite  amazing really!!!!
I think it was due to the services  of Peter and Ingrid that the order was delivered in such a good way. Please thank them both for us

In addition to the Online Market, volunteers have been busy with the after church sales and selling goods via Ricardo. Whilst we all take a well earned break over Christmas and New Year, I am sure there will be more activities starting up again soon. In the meantime, I can confirm the Treasurer is very grateful for everyone’s efforts and contributions. We have not replaced the bazaar income, but have closed the gap significantly.

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