Australian Newsagency Blog

A blog on issues affecting Australia's newsagents, media and small business generally.

Sunday newsagency challenge: compare suppliers

Mark Fletcher on February 7, 2016 7:20 AM

IMG_5465Use your newsagency software to compare suppliers that compete in a department or category.  Do this based on brand even if all are through one wholesales, like pens.

Compare the performance of Artline, Pilot, Bic and Uniball, see which provides the better stock turn, return on space and ROI.

Compare your suppliers and focus more on those that perform better for you.

Your data is more important to your business that data from your suppliers about what they have sold to you.


→ No CommentsCategory: Newsagency challenges · newsagency of the future · Newsagency management · Newsagency opportunities · Management tip

Sunday newsagency management tip: product knowledge drives Pilot Frixion sales

Mark Fletcher on February 7, 2016 7:15 AM

IMG_5465The Pilot Friction pen range offers more than the TV commercial pitches. If art or writing done with a Friction pen is left in the sun it fades. Place it in the freezer and it comes back. This is a ‘magic’ pen kids will love. Ensure all team members knows what the pen can do – and sell more. We sold 20 to one customer as a result of product knowledge.

The Pilot website has more information on this product.

My tip today is tossed out product knowledge from sales reps, the supplier website and online forms – and ensure your team members have this knowledge so they can professionally engage with shoppers on the shop floor.


→ No CommentsCategory: Newsagency management · Management tip

Sunday newsagency marketing tip: leverage the Pilot Frixion TVC

Mark Fletcher on February 7, 2016 7:10 AM

IMG_5465The Pilot Friction pen TV commercial is terrific at raising awareness for this range. Leverage the TV commercial for your newsagency by promoting the range on your business Facebook page and through other marketing platforms you use. You can own this range for your newsagency in your area if you tactical in your marketing.


→ No CommentsCategory: newsagency marketing · marketing · marketing tip

Promoting jigsaws in the newsagency

Mark Fletcher on February 6, 2016 6:12 AM

Here is the jigsaw wall that did so well for us in the newsagency through January. It stood out, easily attracting shoppers from outside the business. Promoting jigsaws in a non traditional (for a newsagency) way and challenging the shopper perception of the business.



→ No CommentsCategory: Gifts

Promoting Chinese New Year in the newsagency

Mark Fletcher on February 6, 2016 6:06 AM

Here is a display we have promoting a range of beautiful monkeys for Chinese New Year in the newsagent. This is a terrific seasonal opportunity for newsagents.




→ No CommentsCategory: Plush

Promoting UK Mother’s Day in the newsagency

Mark Fletcher on February 6, 2016 6:02 AM

We are pitching cards for UK Mother’s Day, which is on March 6, with this placement within our card department. With only a small range available it is challenging as to where to place them.



→ No CommentsCategory: Greeting Cards

Promoting magazines in the newsagency

Mark Fletcher on February 6, 2016 5:59 AM

We are promoting the WIN A CAR competition supported by three magazine publishers with displays on the lease line as well as deeper in-store. We selected the next to Valentine’s Day placement to leverage that traffic for magazines.



→ No CommentsCategory: magazines

Trashing the newspaper

Mark Fletcher on February 5, 2016 7:52 AM

Check out how the Herald Sun looked for one newsagent today. The sticker stuck on the front page is for the Dr Seuss promotion. Being half stuck like this looks bad. I know plenty of customers who would look for an undamaged copy.  On a copy I saw earlier today, the sticker was obscuring a chunk of the photo about the main news story. Dreadful.



→ 1 CommentCategory: newspaper masthead desecration

What does Bauer media need to do?

Mark Fletcher on February 5, 2016 6:09 AM

What does Bauer Media need to do to become a real force again? is a must-read article for newsagents and others interested in print media businesses in Australia by Miranda Ward and published by mUmBRELLA.


→ 1 CommentCategory: magazines · newsagency of the future · magazine distribution

Pitching products for impulse purchase at the newsagency counter

Mark Fletcher on February 5, 2016 6:03 AM

IMG_0232I love the way this gift and card shop in the US handles an impulse purchase pitch at the counter. It makes good use of space between two customer serving locations, using what would otherwise be dead space. It pitches products easily purchased by those close to the counter.

I think it is important the unit is curved. That makes it easier to navigate, easier to shop and less visually harsh in my view.

It is the type of unit that could be made and pushed up against the counter without being built-in, without costing too much money.

Many newsagency counters I see are old school, pitching a product mix that has not changed in years, achieving little in the way of impulse purchases at the counter, most likely not contributing appropriately for the premium space allocated.

The approach shown in the photo shows how one retailer has created new space to achieve a better financial return from expensive counter space. I think it is worth a try.

My advice to any newsagent considering something like this is – don;t use a shopfitter and their shares are likely to be considerably higher than if you purchased the item from a cheap furniture place or had a local hippie knock something up.

Spend as little as possible to trial this or any other similar future idea you have for your business.


→ No CommentsCategory: newsagency marketing · Newsagency management · Newsagency opportunities · visual merchandising

Would you ‘sell’ The Freeman Journal?

Mark Fletcher on February 5, 2016 5:49 AM

Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 7.48.18 pmI have been contacted by the publishers of a soon to launch publication, The Freeman Journal, seeking expressions of interest in receiving copies for free, which can be sold.

Click here to see a mock up. There is more information at their website.

While this title is not for me, I thought I would share it here for others to consider.

Here is the note from the publisher:

My name is Jack Freeman and I am the director of a luxury online and a soon to be released quarterly distributed print publication The Freeman Journal. With an elite and targeted audience of high net worth individuals, aspirational luxury consumers and frequent travellers.

Thus we were contacting you as we are in the coming months releasing our first quarterly edition and were looking to send free editions to Newsagents across Australia to which may be sold on behalf of agents entirely.

Let me know if interested to participate. I have attached our Media Kit and Mock Up First Edition.


→ 1 CommentCategory: magazines

Newspaper front page headlines deemed useless

Mark Fletcher on February 4, 2016 7:34 AM

FullSizeRenderThis morning’s Daily Telegraph shows, once again, how irrelevant newspaper headlines are deemed y newspaper publishers in promoting their product.

It surprises me they treat promotion of I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here with more respect than they do what the editorial team considers to be the main news story of the day – our country’s treatment of babies held in the asylum system. Those making such decisions ought to be ashamed of themselves.


→ 8 CommentsCategory: newspaper masthead desecration

Cheap Valentine’s Day cards at Woolworths

Mark Fletcher on February 4, 2016 5:35 AM

IMG_5422The stand of $3 Valentine’s Day cards at Woolworths that I saw yesterday was in the high traffic ground floor entrance location of the Sydney CBD business while the higher priced Valentine’s Day cards were in the second floor card department. While I get that supermarkets are interested in what they say is a ‘value’ pitch, it is not, in my view, value in that the cards look and feel cheap compared to the regular priced cards.

Unfortunately, I suspect we will see more and more of these ‘value’ pitches the greeting card category this year and beyond. It is an overseas trend retailers here will not want to ignore.

There are too many ‘value’ models in the UK and US for Australia to not be confronted by this phenomenon. It is only a matter of time before it hits here. I have looked at two of the models in detail may have more to say about them soon.


→ No CommentsCategory: Newsagency challenges · Greeting Cards · Competition · Newsagency management

Large capacity printers set to impact ink sales

Mark Fletcher on February 4, 2016 5:22 AM

In Sydney yesterday it seemed to me that every second bus I passed was advertising large capacity printers from Epson. The signs promoted a two year life for the ink provided with the printer. Epson is not alone in pushing this model.

Newsagents with considerable ink sales need to be aware of the trend and to factor this into their business planning.


→ 5 CommentsCategory: Stationery

Timing on the closure of Network Services

Mark Fletcher on February 4, 2016 5:17 AM

Click here to download communication from Network services for newsagents on the timing of the closure of the business. I share it here with permission.

The processes outlined by the company are clear cut. Achieving a refund of any money owed requires newsagents to provide bank details. The way things go with this channel there will be newsagents who ignore this request and then complain they have not received a refund.

Please follow the advice in the Network document.


→ 2 CommentsCategory: magazine distribution

Hallmark at Melbourne Gift Fair

Mark Fletcher on February 3, 2016 8:06 PM

The Hallmark stand at the Melbourne Gift Fair at the weekend was designed to inspire retailers to consider alternative ways of displaying cards outside the usual card department approach. It was a stand unlike anything you would have seen from a mainstream card company in Australia previously.

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→ No CommentsCategory: Greeting Cards

There are some nutters out there

Mark Fletcher on February 3, 2016 5:49 AM

I feel for Allan and Stella Wickham, the owners of newsXpress Eli Waters, the business where the winning ticket in the $70M Powerball jackpot was purchased. I feel for them because they are attracting nutters from around the country, people approaching them because they think they got a great payout as a percentage of the $70M . They are also being approached to get them to put people in touch with the winners.

People have requests for a share of the money for charities and all sorts of crazy plans.

It does not help when Allan and Stella say they did not get a percentage or they cannot connect with the winner for private reasons. People persist. Even today, weeks after the win.

While it would be easy to laugh off the interruptions, they are so considerable that they get in the way of everyday business.

So, I feel for Allan and Stella – and any other newsagent hit by similar circumstances. However, the $70M prize is a record for a single winner.

In 2007 by newsagency at Forest Hill sold a $11M winning ticket in Powerball. It was a house syndicate we created. There were plenty who were sure we had a share in the syndicate so there was that to deal with as well as the nuttiness of some of the syndicate members who wanted their share the next day even though we had to wait the two weeks and then pass the month through our account – yes that is the way Tatts did it then.

While I like the model I have seen in some overseas locations of the selling business getting a small percentage of a major jackpot, it would bring with it problems beyond the nutters newsagents selling winning tickets have to face today.


→ 2 CommentsCategory: Newsagency challenges · Lotteries

What I still don’t promote Inside Out magazine in the newsagency

Mark Fletcher on February 3, 2016 5:34 AM

IMG_4946Since News Corp. continues to favour Coles with pricing of $6.00 for Inside Out magazine I see no reason to promote the more expensive newsagency version priced at $8.20. This long-term campaign by News disrespects newsagents and shows the desire of News Corp. to switch shoppers from our small business channel to the giant Coles.


→ 5 CommentsCategory: magazines · Competition

The reach of newsagency brands on Facebook

Mark Fletcher on February 2, 2016 6:28 AM

With the Facebook user community continuing to grow – 1.5b monthly users in Q4 2015 – it is a vitally important place to promote your business and the brand under which you trade. Promoting on Facebook is an easy way to reach people outside your business to attract them in. It is also an easy marketing platform through which to track engagement results including demographic information.

Here are numbers from this morning of people who like or follow the corporate page of the newsagency banner groups:

  1. newsXpress – 12,060.
  2. Nextra – 8,545.
  3. The Lucky Charm – 2,086.
  4. Newspower – 4.

These numbers are important as they speak to the base community easily reached by each of the groups when promoting offers and opportunities available in member businesses.

The numbers themselves need to be considered a springboard as plenty of Facebook users share posts they like to friends who, in turn, can share to their friends. In one recent promotion for which I have data the ripple effect reached an additional 15,000 people.

Note: I could only find one Newspower national page and it had not been updated since August last year. If anyone is aware of another page please let me know.


→ 13 CommentsCategory: newsagency marketing · Newsagency marketing group

News Corp. promotion favours supermarkets over newsagents

Mark Fletcher on February 2, 2016 5:55 AM

The TV commercial from News Corp’s Herald Sun promoting the Dr Seuss book series lists three supermarkets by brand yet lists newsagents as, well, newsagents. The folks at News ought to respect brands newsagents trade under more than this. Their failure to list the brands demonstrates a preference for the supermarket brands in my view.

Here is a photo from the TVC – listing the supermarkets.




→ 2 CommentsCategory: Newspapers · Newspaper marketing

Slick looking stationery department

Mark Fletcher on February 2, 2016 5:41 AM

IMG_5275This photo shows part of the stationery department of a store I visited in Nuremberg last week. I am sharing it as it represents a different approach to stationery layout compared to what we see in newsagencies and other stationery retailers in Australia.

I like the consistent fixture colour and that it does not detract from the product itself. I also like the lower height units at the front and their use for uplifting products, to draw the shopper into the department.

I draw plenty of inspiration from this photo.


→ 3 CommentsCategory: Stationery

Newsagencies in Germany

Mark Fletcher on February 1, 2016 6:06 AM

I was in Germany for four days last week on business and got to see a range of newsagency and related businesses. I saw two types of businesses: small, almost kiosk like in size, shops with around 50 magazine titles and convenience lines; and, large format stores in high traffic locations like railway stations and shopping malls or precincts.

Based on what I saw, Germans love their magazines and newspapers.

The photo below is from the entrance to a shop in Munich. I saw this same type of entrance in several shops. I like that it is open, easy to see around the whole shop.

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Here is the entrance to another shop. The same approach: a low profile display unit for volume titles in the entrance.


Here is the entrance to another magazine shop in Munich.


Here is the extraordinary range in the kids magazine section in a magazine shop in Nuremberg railway station:


TV and related titles:


Weeklies from a Munich store.


Crossword titles from a Munich store.


Newspapers in a the business in the Nuremberg railway station.


Looking a plenty of retail in Germany, magazines are not as readily available in Germany as in Australia but most of the shops that do sell them have an extraordinary range of titles. The bigger shops have more than double the magazine range we have. This stands to reason with the German population more than three times that of Australia.

I do wonder if the size of the range of magazines in the bigger stores is a function of there being fewer such stores.

I picked up plenty over the course of the week, not only in relation to magazines but in other product categories important to us.


→ 4 CommentsCategory: Newsagency management

Another poorly managed newspaper promotion from APN

Mark Fletcher on January 31, 2016 10:40 AM

Screen Shot 2016-01-31 at 10.32.47 amNewsagents were given three days notice about a promotion by APN’s. The email promoting promotion of a complex Scratch and Win competition was sent at the close of business Wednesday.

Sending an email late on Wednesday results in a lower readership.

When will they learn that promotions need to be simple. The process they are imposing on newsagents is cumbersome and time consuming.

Newsagents were not given an opportunity to opt out. With barely two days notice APN promoted the participating newsagents 0 without any other communication with those newsagents.

Promotions like this, that do little to drive sustained revenue growth, are a tax on the limited time resources of newsagents.

It is also frustrating that the prize pushes people to fuel outlets and not back to newsagencies.

Overall, this appears to a poorly considered and poorly executed promotion with little regard for newsagents and the time required of them to execute.

Newspaper publishers need to be smarter if they want to run promotions that genuinely serve the needs of their products and retail newsagents.


→ 2 CommentsCategory: Newspapers · Newspaper marketing

Sunday newsagency challenge: say hello

Mark Fletcher on January 31, 2016 7:04 AM

For at least three hours this week stand at or near the entrance of your business and say hello to all who enter and thank people as they leave. Choose the busiest three hours.

Look for insights you might otherwise have missed had you not done this. Hopefully, these insights help you run a better business.

While this tip is aimed at the owners of the business, any team member acting as a greeter will reduce the opportunity for theft and increase the level of personal service provided shoppers and, thought this, overall revenue.


→ 6 CommentsCategory: newsagency marketing · marketing tip · Newsagency management · Management tip

Sunday newsagency marketing tip: paint your nails

Mark Fletcher on January 31, 2016 7:01 AM

Paint your nails in a colour that is meaningful to you. It could be your sport team colours, the local school colours or colours with some other personal significance such as supporting a charity (as has happened previously).

If you usually have painted nails, what you do for this exercise must be noticeably different.

The goal is to get people talking, to raise awareness of the ‘thing’ you have painted your nails for. Hopefully, it is community group or charity that will benefit from you talking about them

The painted nails, especially for guys, ought to act like a speed hump, they ought to get people taking notice.


→ 2 CommentsCategory: newsagency marketing · marketing · marketing tip