Mark Fletcher on March 11, 2014 5:53 AM
I noticed Yours placed with Anti-aging and I though that’s an odd placement, like the titles didn’t / shouldn’t belong together. To me, Yours belongs with British weeklies or our Aussie weeklies and Anti-aging with cosmetic and fringe health titles. Maybe I’m wrong but I see Yours as a title for people embracing who they are and Anti-aging more for those in denial. But I am not the customer!
Thinking about this placement later on, I wondered if it was deliberate, I wondered if someone in the business put the two titles together believing that they spoke to the same shopper.
Product placement is an inexact process outside of mass-appeal and obvious adjacency opportunities. Yet it is important. We need to put products next to each other that speak to the same shopper otherwise we miss opportunities.
While newsagency software can guide you about what sells with what and that data is useful for existing products, this post is about products for which you don’t have historical basket data.
It’s important we take time and consider who is the shopper we are targeting here? when looking at parts of our businesses – and in asking the question ensuring that we have product adjacencies that leverage a common shopper.
Yes, obsession about product placement takes time. The reward in more sales revenue when we get it right. This is especially true with magazines. In fact, checking your magazine department for ideal product placement is a good place to start.
Footnote: See my Magazine Relay advice for more on placement opportunities and the process of changing magazine layout.
Category: magazines · Newsagency management
Mark Fletcher on March 11, 2014 5:48 AM
This display promoting Peppa Pig products at the front of the newsagency will drive traffic given that Peppa Pig is the #1 girls pre-school brand. Kids with parents in-tow will drag them to our shop when they see the display.
Leveraging licenced products is another way newsagents can drive new traffic to their businesses. Key to success is sourcing a broad range of product – often from several suppliers each with different licences.
Category: newsagency marketing · Newsagency opportunities
Mark Fletcher on March 10, 2014 1:59 PM
The newsagency on the ground level of the Virgin domestic terminal at Sydney Airport is now a WH Smith business, another new outlet from the successful UK retailer that is expanding in Australia. This location is different to others I have written about several times recently.
I saw WH Smith Express today. From the name to the in-store offering, this a more focussed business than had occupied this location for many years. It’s impressive.
This is what WH Smith brings to Australia, retail focus, absolute clarity on their offer and all their brand stands for.
WH Smith is a brand on the move in Australia. Newsagents need to have a plan – from the individual business perspective to brands we trade under.
Take a look at the WH Smith corporate website and you will soon see that they dominate in the UK the space we occupy here. There are not here to escape the harsh UK winter. No, they are here for profit. We need to develop our response.
Category: Newsagency challenges · Newsagency management · newsagency of the future · Newsagency opportunities · WH Smith
Mark Fletcher on March 10, 2014 5:41 AM
I’m told the VANA state conference and trade fair in Melbourne last wednesday attracted around 40 newsagents. This is less than half VANA had been telling suppliers to expect. I decided to not attend as the agenda was nothing flash and I see more appropriate suppliers at gift fairs and marketing group events.
With many trade fairs and conferences already available to newsagents through the year, there is no need for associations to play in this space. All it does is suck cash out of the channel as suppliers have to fund the trade fair space, time and freight. Newsagents ultimately pay the price for inefficient events. By all means, host a conference if you have relevant content best delivered in a conference format where newsagents are out of their businesses for a day, but not a trade fair. Some suppliers at last week’s event are very disappointed.
Category: Newsagent representation
Mark Fletcher on March 10, 2014 5:28 AM
A supplier of circulation products to newsagency businesses was heard recently to say that newsagents were wrong to chase sales of cheap gifts. This supplier is ignorant of what many newsagents are actually doing in the gift space. Sure, some newsagents offer cheap gifts. Many, however, are playing a different gift space altogether. Indeed, I know of newsagents enjoying excellent success selling gift and homewares products priced at $50, $75, $100, $200 and more.
Take the Disney characters (from Jasnor) in the photo. They’ll retail for close to $300. Are newsagents selling these? Yes!
Just as I say newsagents need to break free from the history of their shingle, so too do newsagency suppliers need to break free from what they think newsagents should do. Our businesses are not their business – unless we negotiate commercial terms.
The days of newsagents focussing only on cheap gifts are over.
Mark Fletcher on March 10, 2014 5:13 AM
I was asked over the weekend where we place Pure Bride, the magazine I blogged about last week. This photo shows the current placement.
We put what we consider to be the funky wedding titles with each other. We move the titles around so they each have full-face placement.
Mark Fletcher on March 10, 2014 5:10 AM
We promoting AFL products in multiple locations in-store with the season close to starting. We have products where appropriate to our various shopper profiles. For example, collector cards are at the counter as this is where they work best – 50/50 purchased on impulse and destination. Our season guides are with newspapers and sports titles as this is where they sell from.
Category: Newsagency management · Newsagency opportunities
Mark Fletcher on March 9, 2014 6:41 AM
Setup a digital camera somewhere with a clear and wide view of your retail newsagency and have it take a photo every sixty seconds for a day. Play the photos as a video and see what you can learn about your business.
I expect the video of time-lapse images will show you things about your business that you did not know, things about traffic flow, employee activity, your activity and product hot spots.
The goal here is to look at our shops through different eyes and from this to learn how to improve the business.
Category: Management tip
Mark Fletcher on March 9, 2014 6:29 AM
Have fun, promote your business and encourage engagement with a product or group of products in your newsagency with a dress-up promotion. Nothing too crazy because you want as many people engaged as possible. Here are some ideas I think could work in a any newsagency business – high street, rural and shopping mall:
- Wear your knitting. Wear a hand-knitted article of clothing and get 10% of any knitting magazine. Create a display featuring these and place with it gifts and other products that will appeal to this shopper.
- Retro day. Wear anything retro and get 10% off anything in-store. Be sure to have an excellent range of retro products on display.
- Be a character. Dress as a character featured on a kids magazine and get 10% off any magazine. feature displays of character-driven product. For example, feature Peppa Pig products from several suppliers to show off the character focus of your business.
- Easter bonnet Wear an easter Bonnet you’ve made and get 25% off Easter cards.
- Uncovered tatts. Dress showing off your tattoos and get 10% of tattoo magazines.
- Show your models. Bring in a model you have made and get 10% off any model making magazine.
- Smuggle your budgies. Wear speedos and get 10% off anything in-store.
- Wear the local high school colours. 5% of all purchases by people wearing the local high school uniform or school colours will be donated to the school.
- Wear something promoting a local community group. The group with the most support gets a $100 cash prize.
- Wear something from or related to your wedding day. Wear an article of clothing either from your wedding or related to your wedding and get a discount of 25% off wedding, engagement or anniversary cards.
- Boardies sale. Wear board shorts for a 10% discount off anything especially surfing, skating and water sports magazines.
- Tradies sale. Everyone dressed as a tradie gets a discount of 10% off anything in-store.
- Cat day! Wear anything cat related and get a discount. Meow for a bonus discount!
- Handwriting day. Bring in a letter you have written and get a 25% discount of any pens you purchase.
- Paper plane discount day. Bring in a hand-made paper plane and throw it down our discount aisle and get the discount off your purchases that matches the distance the plane flies.
These and other ideas you come up with from reading this list should be single day promotions. In addition to any purchaser discount, offer a prize of the best – this can drive better engagement. The promotions with a local community connection offer you bonus kudos as a local business.
A side bonus of these ideas is that they can drive interaction with shoppers – another point of difference for small business newsagents.
Category: Fun · marketing · marketing tip · newsagency marketing
Mark Fletcher on March 9, 2014 6:14 AM
The borders between retail businesses are more blurred now than ever. We are all playing outside what is usual for our respective retail category. Coupled with this is a reduction in loyalty due to online businesses and the blurred borders between retail niches.
The blurred borders make our windows and front-of-store displays more important than ever in attracting new shopper traffic.
We buy products specifically to use them to lure passers-by to the lease line and then into the shop. We change the pitch facing into the mall a couple of times a week, offering a different pitch to weekend traffic than we offer to weekday traffic. The Slumbies are a good example of us playing outside traditional newsagency space. I watched yesterday as the display attracted young girls an mums. The commitment to promoting products outside what people expect works. It’s vitally important to us.
Take a look at what you present to shoppers walking past today. Is it attracting people who would not usually shop in a newsagency? In not, you’re not keeping up.
Category: Management tip · Newsagency management · retail
Mark Fletcher on March 8, 2014 5:49 PM
Interest has been good for issue #2 of The Saturday Paper, out today. Sales are down on last week as I’d expect – it happens to all new titles. It will take a couple a while to find consistent interest. Issue #2 is a good read, a better investment of time to this reader compared to other newspapers.
Mark Fletcher on March 8, 2014 2:42 PM
We have been lucky to have stock of Loom Bands while all other retailers in the centre sold out. We leveraged the opportunity by promoting at the entrance to the newsagency. This brought in plenty of shoppers yesterday and today and now we’re sold out – but only until early next week. Next week we plan to go bigger and bolder on Loom Bands. This is a short-term opportunity to leverage while it’s hot.
If you sell to (or want to sell to) kids and those who buy for kids, you need to have Loom bands and understand what they, how they are used and the add-on sale opportunities. Click here for a news report that captures the interest.
Mark Fletcher on March 8, 2014 2:34 PM
Here’s how one retail newsagent handled the subscription ads on the front of The Saturday Age today. I can understand this action given that customers complain about the stuck on ads and like their removal without damaging the editorial content.
Category: newspaper masthead desecration
Mark Fletcher on March 8, 2014 2:29 PM
For the record, here’s the front page of The Saturday Age newspaper today. There is a house ad promoting subscriptions for 50% off covering editorial content. I’ll keep posting about this when I see it as a record for the future.
Click here to see other newspaper mastheads trashed by advertising covering editorial.
Category: newspaper masthead desecration
Mark Fletcher on March 8, 2014 6:38 AM
Distribution newsagents have told me to be ready for sell-outs on Monday – Labour Day everywhere except for NSW and QLD – as those managing circulation nationally for News Corp. have set supply numbers based on Australia Day this year. Yes, seriously!
Newsagents who have sought to change their Labour Day 2014 figures based on sales for Labour Day 2013 have, I am told, had their allocation reset to reflect Australia Day 2014 sales.
There are plenty of areas in Australia where customer traffic on Australia Day is very different to Labour Day. I know in Victoria, for example, that Australia Day is about BBQs and parties whereas Labour Day is more likely to be family outings often including shopping.
Looking at my own retail data, Labour Day is easily double the Australia Day sales.
So, if you own a retail only newsagency and find supplies of your News Corp. products low for Monday and can’t get extra, don’t blame the distribution newsagent. They are likely to have been cut by a circulation management decision at News Corp. that has not sought to understand the differences between Australia Day and Labour Day.
One newsagent I was talking with about this yesterday questioned the News Corp strategy: if they want to kill off newspaper sales they’re going about it the right way.
Footnote: today is not GET NEWS CORP. day. This post and the previous one are here because the company is letting shoppers and newsagents down.
Category: Newsagency challenges · Newspaper distribution · Newspapers · Ugh!
Mark Fletcher on March 8, 2014 6:33 AM
News Corp’s Herald & Weekly Times division issued an apology to newsagents about returns issues with the Mr Men books. It appears the company’s software platform will not allow returns to be done the way the company intended. They have requested manual returns in a letter to distribution newsagents. While News Corp has excuses for this and for the lack of top up stock where there have been sell-outs, and there have been plenty, it keeps having problems like this with promotions and opportunities where the resolution is for newsagents to spend more time. As one newsagent pointed out this week: this is 2014, not 1974. News Corp needs to adopt current practices.
Category: Newspaper distribution · Newspapers
Mark Fletcher on March 8, 2014 6:30 AM
I love Pure Bride magazine. The content and stock are a package targeting a different wedding magazine to the usual. Having it on the shelves gives us a valuable point of difference pitch. It’s a wedding magazine we could comfortably place next to the highly popular frankie magazine. Right now we have Pure Bride placed as one of our hero wedding magazines. Next week we plan an off-location feature.
Mark Fletcher on March 8, 2014 6:26 AM
With space limited we have the Disney cakes part series launch display unit located next to the Disney Princess range and the Pacific magazines WIN A CAR impulse unit next to it – bot on the lease line facing into the mall and both driving purchases off the respective units. While they are targeting different shoppers, both are connected with high-profile campaigns. Connecting our business with the campaigns is key to attracting new traffic. hence the placement.
Mark Fletcher on March 7, 2014 7:05 AM
Check out a new style meat shop in Glenferrie Road hawthorn that I saw this morning. I call it a meat shop as that’s what it is.
This is not a butcher, certainly not what I’d expect a butcher to look like.
Branding themselves as The Meat Cellar separates this business from butcher businesses. In doing so they change the expectation of shoppers, they pitch themselves as specialists.
The days of similar small business retailers trading under a common name are over. Specialisation is the key – under a group banner or under your own name – what you call your business and how you present it on the high street or in the mall positions your point of difference.
With the gap between good / successful retailers and bad / unsuccessful widening – as evidenced in the recent newsagency benchmark study results – connecting your business with the worst is not ideal. I suspect this thinking played a role in the development and branding of The Meat Cellar.
By the way – if you love cooking and eating meat, you must check this place out.
Mark Fletcher on March 7, 2014 5:43 AM
Newsagents Products on Consignment – a business offering newsagents counter items that I wrote about recently – has sent at least one newsagent products that were not requested or agreed to. This is contrary to how the company said it would operate.
The newsagent who contacted me advised that they received the goods in their shop with an invoice despite having had no contact with the company prior.
While I am no lawyer, I’d be surprised if the supplier had any rights in relation to getting paid for the unsolicited goods.
On the products themselves – touch screen bullets, newsagents have access to better packaged versions that provide a considerably better margin.
Has anyone else been sent these items unsolicited?
Mark Fletcher on March 7, 2014 5:39 AM
Our sales of issue #2 of Yours magazine were down 30% on issue one yet we promoted the title the sale. Bauer increased our supply of issue #2 significantly so we had plenty of returns. Despite having sales data from the last two weeks, Bauer kept issue #3 supply at the same level as issue #2. We continue to support Yours with placement in two high-profile locations. If sales don;t lift we will scale space allocation for future issues back to one pocket. The question then will be – with Aussie weeklies or English weeklies as it’s the latter location that works better for us.
Mark Fletcher on March 7, 2014 5:37 AM
We’re promoting the latest issue of Better Homes and Gardens with this display at the entrance to the main magazine aisle. Within minutes of putting in place yesterday I saw a customer purchase off it. They had selected a greeting card and was walking past the stand to the counter. I suspect this customer would not have gone into the magazine. This type of impulse purchase is important for us – we achieve it by tactical placement.
Category: magazines · Tactical display
Mark Fletcher on March 6, 2014 6:06 PM
A colleague shared this video. Pizza hut money invested in a technology prototype taking pizza choices to a new level.
I’d hate to be waiting for these people!
Mark Fletcher on March 6, 2014 6:13 AM
Michael Kozlowski writing at Good Reader says that Marvel is retreating from retail distribution to focus on digital:
Marvel is endeavoring to focus almost exclusively on digital distribution to maximize revenue. In the past few months the company has pulled their comics from bookstores all over the world. You would be hard-pressed to find anything but the odd graphic novel in your favorite bookstore, such as Barnes and Noble.
Marvel is finding that they are selling more comics online, than they are in the retail environment. Comixology is their main partner in the digital sphere and they have dedicated reading apps on every major platform. They have sold over 125,000,000 comics since 2009, most of them from Marvel.
Category: Media disruption
Mark Fletcher on March 6, 2014 6:04 AM
On checking out of a hotel overseas at 4:30am a couple of weeks ago they gave me this breakfast to go package: yogurt, a croissant, a fruit danish, butter, jam, a bottle of water and an apple. I had a long drive to the airport and the food was a welcome start to the day.
The hotel did not need to provide breakfast, there was no commitment they would. It was a complete surprise. A delightful and delicious surprise.
Here it is a couple of weeks later and it’s memorable to me.
It’s hard for large hotels to provide genuinely personal service. This hotel has 500 rooms. They were at 100% occupancy during my stay yet them had processes in place to know that I was leaving early and would have a bit of a drive ahead and could therefore use a breakfast to go. They provided a service as personal and appreciated as I’d expect from a tiny boutique hotel or a B&B.
How can we do this in our newsagencies? – have systems and processes in place to help us consistently provide extra services that delight our customers. Such memorable service is key to business growth now more than ever.
Category: Customer Service