I think a lot of Shanghai entrepreneurs would put ours to shame. They really want the sale. Here are my stories of competition and cooperation.
Many of the stores we visited were more like markets. There may have been a storefront with a name and brand, but inside were independent sellers renting space. They competed and collaborated with each other, at the same time. The main thing was to help everyone make sales.
For example, our friends were shopping for last minute gifts (chopsticks) at the store on the right. When they went to pay for their purchase, they realized that they were short on cash. It was our last day in China and our local currency was low. So, they asked to pay on VISA. Problem. Everyone in this store was cash only.
But wait, the store next door took VISA. Can you go there and pay? Quickly, two transactions were arranged. One by our friends paying for the goods. And a second between the entrepreneurs for mediating the first transaction. It worked. Everyone was happy. Sale made.
For another example, consider Despicable Me toy on the left. These flying Minions are very popular with young kids and darn cheap in China. We had been keeping an eye out with a view to buying some for the grandchildren.
One evening in Shanghai we were having supper at an outdoor restaurant. A perky young lady, who I will call “Rosie” approached. Would we like to buy a flying Minion? At first, no thanks, too expensive. She left only to return shortly. What color would we like? Did we want a demonstration? Negotiations commenced. After several visits, the price came down enough for two and my purchasing manager reached for her purse. Sale made. Everyone happy. Rosie got on her motorcycle and rode away, smile on her face.
Did we get a good deal? Who cares. Sale made. And I suspect Rosie had a business arrangement with the restaurant. Who knows, maybe she owned it, too.
Shanghai Entrepreneurs Make and Sell Everything
Shanghai is full of entrepreneurs. Young and old, male and female. And much more than street vendors or small retailers. The city has many networks for entrepreneurs to meet and develop their skills. It’s a gateway for commerce and risk taking.
Yes, I know every tourist destination has many vendors. I found those in Shanghai assertive but not aggressive, and persistent.
Want to buy some consumer electronics? Here is a video at a typical electronics market we visited on our first trip to find replacement chargers for our Apple devices. First question: “Original or Chinese”?