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Shilin Night Market is a well-known tourist spot in Taipei. The market is surrounded by three main roads - Jihe Road, Wenlin Road, and Xiaobei Road. It was one of the busiest night markets in Taipei from the 1990s to 2010s, but now there are signs of recession.
As a tourist attraction, the majority of consumers in Shilin Night Market are international tourists, especially those from mainland China. However, during this period of the pandemic, the fact that the night market is highly dependent on overseas tourists has become an issue.
No distinctive character, similar products all over the area - these are the two main reasons why Shilin Night Market loses its competitiveness. Tourist night markets in Taiwan tend to duplicate on-trend and successful business models, resulting in more and more similar stands and stores everywhere around the corner. This has become increasingly difficult for the market to attract more customers since it is not easy for customers to distinguish the difference from other night markets. A night market without proper segmentation and positioning strategy will eventually lose its edge.
美國紐約的Chelsea Market可以提供士林夜市一個參考。這個室內市集融合各種不同商品於此，例如墨西哥捲餅、海鮮食品、酒窖及各種手工藝店家，並且結合工業風建築，這些都塑造了單屬於此市集的特色及風格。倫敦的Covent Garden也融合各種特色商店於一身，咖啡廳、酒吧，及各種美食都成為觀光客流連的地點。這兩個市集甚至也擁有精美網站，提供市集的歷史、商家資訊、活動資訊，並結合附近住宿、觀光景點等資訊，除了方便遊客更快獲取資訊外，也能增加商圈內各商家的曝光度。我們找不到第二個Chelsea Market或是Covent Garden，因為每個市集皆有其獨到之處。當每個商圈都能根據自己的特色和做出差異化時，才能在競爭的環境中找出自己的定位和價值，並且永續經營。
However, Chelsea Market in New York can serve as a good example for Shilin Night Market. This indoor market is famous for a variety of commodities, such as burritos, wine cellars, various handicraft shops and industrial style architectures. These features make it distinctive from others.
Apart from the Chelsea market in the US, Covent Garden, located in the west of London, is another good example. It also has a variety of coffee shops, bars, and various cuisines. These two markets even have websites providing not only the information of market history, shops, and events but the nearby accommodations and sightseeing spots.
These marketing tools help to increase its market exposure for their businesses. There won’t be another Chelsea Market or Covent Garden, because each market has its unique character. Businesses should create their own value through good positioning methods in order to operate sustainably in a competitive market.
In fact, there are still some unique and well-run stores in Shilin. They have good quality products that meet customer’s needs, and their diehard customers are willing to market topics on the internet and boost spendings from the locals.
However, as mentioned earlier, the store owners should avoid copying the same business model, while they are seeking to differentiate themselves to attract the locals. Take the claw machine craze a while ago for instance. It quickly went viral on the internet and once brought a wave of claw machine shop openings. When the market becomes saturated, these shops will gradually go out of business, and landlords eventually become the victims.
Therefore, thinking about how to meet the needs of the locals and students from nearby Ming Chuan University and Bailing High School becomes a critical issue to solve.
Therefore, these asset owners have to start to reposition their vacant storefronts. They should think whether to rent the spaces to ordinary tenants or to look for those who can stand out and be different with good value for money and bring stable and long-term income for their assets.
As to create the best asset value, the basic and essential part of running these retail properties is to satisfy the needs of the locals. And, more importantly, it is better to look for tenants that can leverage on the local demographics and create differentiated product to attract a broader range of customers, so as to create the best value for assets.
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