a virtual field trip of markets

Stephen Fanning


An understanding of the language and concepts of marketing is critical to an understanding of the discipline. Let us begin our exploration of marketing language and concepts with the term market. This activity is important to understand markets, marketing, and the evolution of marketing.

The word market is an ancient word – it originates from the Latin word mercatus and was first employed in the English language in the 11th century (Clancy, 2014). Market has several meanings; and may be employed as both a noun and a verb

Markets and going to market [marketing] are ancient customs [note how the word custom [a frequent ritual] and customer [someone who frequented a shop are related – interesting?].  

One of the great markets is the Salamanca Markets in Hobart, Tasmania. The markets happen each Saturday 8:30am – 3:00pm. With over 300 stallholders there is a great variety of products on offer. The atmosphere is fantastic and I am sure many locals attend just to catch up with friends – it is also a must do for tourists. 


Formal markets pre-date the Roman Empire in Europe, however, the Romans established a strict market behaviour. In ancient cities, such as Rome, there are examples of ancient markets – for example, tourists can visit the site of Rome’s ancient fish market – Il mercato del pesce or visit the site of an ancient shopping precinct – Mercati di Traiano. In Europe many towns have their origins as market towns.

The word market is an ancient word – it originates from the Latin word mercatus and was first employed in the English language in the 11th century (Clancy, 2014). Market has several meanings; and may be employed as both a noun and a verb

  • Let’s look at a few meanings of market:
    • The market: a specific place where buyers and sellers come together to exchange and satisfy their needs – going to the farmer’s market in ……
    • The market: a specific space where buyer and sellers come together to exchange and satisfy their needs – this house is on the market for $X
    • The market: a grouping of all current and potential buyers [domestic or commercial], who have the ability and willingness to purchase a product in a product category – are you in the market for a new car?
    • The market: an abbreviation for the conditions that determine supply and demand – the new home market is experiencing growth
    • To market: the activity of offering a product in exchange for something of equal value – I work for a real-estate company I would like to market this home for you for $650,000.00

Derivatives of the word market: include – marketing, marketer, and marketplace, marketable.

In this slide we see an ancient market in Padua [Italy]. We can see that locals come here to shop and most likely visit a number of stall holders and select the best from each. This is a key message people will always select the best.

A virtual field trip of markets

Please watch and listen to the video and then review the images of the markets below. Look for common characteristics.

Shopping for value

In this very short video you will see people selecting and rejecting produce. You may notice an exchange and a lady checking her change. 


In this activity you should examine the slides, the images within the slides, read the text for each slide, identify common themes and consider your overall findings. 

This image is the candy store ate the Fremantle Markets, I selected this photo as it demonstrates customers carefully considering alternatives and selecting their purchases. 

The Fremantle Markets is well known in Western Australia and is a mix of food, produce, products, and entertainment.

Many markets are located in the buildings of former wholesale markets, as wholesale markets, for ease of access, moved outside of the city centres retail markets took their place. What is evident in this slide of the Adelaide Markets?

This Dijon Markets [which is located in a former wholesale market] would cater to the tastes of local customers, or tourist wishing a French food experience. How do you think this market would differ from the Adelaide Market?

The above slide shows the covered markets in Florence. What do you believe are the similarities and differences between the Florence, Dijon, Adelaide, and Fremantle markets. To start the discussion, consider how customers would search for quality, value, and satisfaction?

The ancient city of Bologna has a history as a centre for commerce in this slide are images of the ancient marketplace.

The street market in Florence is famous for leather products. Do you believe many shoppers are ‘just looking’ in case something catches their attention? Reflect on your own experiences of shopping.

The market in Split is located in the ‘Roman’ part of the town. This provides a magnificent backdrop for the markets and is popular with locals and tourists. The above images were taken at the height of summer – how would the market change in different seasons?

Sometimes, when travelling we may visit a market where some products are valued by one group of people but for cultural or personal reasons are not valued by others. Are there any products visible in the slides [above and below] that may be unacceptable to some people? When we employ the term a market is a group of people with similar needs what do we mean?

Copy branded products are often available in markets [either visible or hidden]. Clearly, they would not be offerred for sale if there was not the demand. What do you believe is the appeal of copy brands? Would copy brands appeal to some consumers more that others?

The Italian tourist town of Santa Margherita is described by Lonely Planet as like ‘a calm Impressionist painting’. It is a favourite of the author and you can read more on this and its neighbour Portofino in the exemplars. Santa Margherita is also favourite port for cruise ships. How would the influx of tourists influence what products the market offers? Would the setting influence the customer’s experience? Would people visit the markets just for the experience? Would locals tend to avoid this type of market?

The medieval Ponte Vecchio spans the Arno River in Florence. The bridge has shops lining either side and has long been regarded as a gold market. Being a major tourist attraction would present opportunities and challenges for shopkeepers. What are the opportunities and challenges?

We tend to think of products as having a life-cycle. When you consider antiques – how does this differ from the traditional view of products?

Sometimes when you walk around a market you see stallholders or their staff busy on their mobile phones. When you visit some markets the staff are busy working whilst waiting for a customer [see above]. Do you believe that these people have a better understanding of the value of time?

Reflect on how customers search and select the best fruit and vegetables. In the Fremantle Markets people build relationships with their fruit and vegetable vendors. As one customer stated ‘they still give personal service here unlike supermarkets where it is all self-service.’ How does the personal service of markets differ from the self-service of a supermarket?


Other than revenue – In what ways could a new start up, like the one in the slide above, benefit from marketing their products in a setting like a farmers’ market? What market research could be gathered by meeting customers face to face?

People, in many cities and townd, seem to gravitate towards farmers’ markets and whilst some are seeking a quality product there are other considerations. List the attributes of farmers markets that you believe people find attractive.

The Harrod’s food market is described in more detail in an exemplar. Why do you believe people, particularly visitors to London, put Harrod’s food market on their must do list.

Customers search for and select best satisfying products, in the process, some products are selected and others rejected. Supermarkets will only stock products that have sufficient demand. Therefore, are consumers in some way determining what products are stocked on a supermarket shelf? Do consumers determine supply and demand [the market for a product]?

Make a list of services that a supermarket, like the one pictured, performers to facilitate and enable an exchange.

Note: the supermarket below has a childminding service on the 1st floor overlooking the supermarket.

The transition to online marketplace has been easier for some than others. Many were reluctant to embrace, however, a number of catalogue – or mail order organisations evolved into the online marketplace rather easily.

Perhaps, you have been searching for a new or pre-owned car. You can search online or visit a car yard. What are your observations? 

Statement: The term market is broader than we first thought. What are the origins of the stock market?

As consumers some services are quite visible, whereas others are hidden. Hidden services are often only considered when the service is below standard or when the service has been poorly performed. Identify a few services that could be classified as hidden.


  • What are the qualities that a market stall customer would look for when selecting produce?
  • Would value be a priority – qualities received V costs 
  • Identify the overall objectives of a market stall customer – satisfaction or dissatisfaction?
  • Consider the financial, and communication objectives of a market stall owner?
  • Identify the overall objectives of a market stall owner – satisfaction or dissatisfaction?
  • What have we learned from the virtual tour of markets that we may apply to the marketplace in general?



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