Australian Newsagency Blog

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

Perth newsagents for sale

Mark Fletcher on July 29, 2015 9:02 PM

READ ALL ABOUT IT is an interesting article online published by Perth Interactive Voice. It starts with a compelling opening paragraph:

DOZENS of Perth newsagents are selling up amid fierce competition from major retailers and the rise of online media.

The article goes on to respite about a proactive newsagent diversifying to attract more shoppers.

This report is more interesting and accurate in reporting good news about our channel than the story APN published in Toowoomba a few weeks ago.

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A stunning newsagency success story

Mark Fletcher on July 29, 2015 5:41 AM

11800610_722882817857496_9022396491198622984_nI was thrilled to hear from a newsagent yesterday who won a $313.17 purchase of good margin product from a customer who redeemed a $10.00 discount voucher from a purchase earlier that day.

The success is an endorsement of consistency at the sales counter.

The customer was a tourist, in town for a few hours. They made a purchase and received a discount voucher for $10.00. Once the newsagency employee explained the voucher, the customer browsed … and spent $313.17.

This is a story of inspiration for the newsagency channel: a newsagency winning valuable revenue from high margin product all because of a simple voucher program that drives loyalty from some of the most valuable customers, those you will only see once.

Yes, we can grow our businesses.

The old points based programs are like you see in many other retail shops. Give some $$ off a purchase, $$ they can spend right away and you are more likely to guide valuable behaviour – as happened this time.

Of course, discount vouchers can only drive this type of outcome if you have products people are prepared to spend big on.

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→ No CommentsCategory: marketing · Newsagency management · Newsagency opportunities

Now this is what being a local newsagent is all about

Mark Fletcher on July 29, 2015 5:38 AM

IMG_8808I love this local photocopies ‘book’ for sale in a newsagency I visited in Tasmania yesterday. The placement of the title at the counter pitches local engagement better than any poster could. It shows the business living the local connection.

What other business competing with a newsagency would offer such local stories? Not the supermarket for sure. Very few businesses would take on a product like this.

I applaud newsagents who take on opportunities like The Story of Battery Point Street by Street – and plenty do. For sure you will probably not make any serious money from the item itself. However, you will win respect from those who care about the local community and that could be invaluable to your business.

I’d love to hear stories from others of local books they sell.

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→ 1 CommentCategory: marketing · Newsagency management · newsagency marketing

Good collateral promoting the BBC Earth offer

Mark Fletcher on July 29, 2015 5:34 AM

IMG_8801I like the collateral from the folks at The Mercury provided to Tasmanian newsagents for promoting the BBC earth DVD set offered with the newspaper. In Hobart yesterday I saw this floor promotional unit. I like that it can be easily moved, enabling newsagents to combat store blindness. This is especially important for newspaper promotions.

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If you pay cash in hand or under the award you will get caught

Mark Fletcher on July 28, 2015 5:51 AM

A prospective newsagency purchaser recently declined to proceed with a purchase after they discovered that two full time employees were being paid under the award and were paid in cash. The annual saving to the business was in excess of $25,000, which was reflected in the profit and loss statement for the business.

The accountant for the prospective purchaser discovered the issue during due diligence. This is pretty easy really – checking hours worked from the roster with published award rates.

While this illegal behaviour by this one newsagent is rare, it can impact on all newsagents.

As the purchaser intended to run the business with all employees fully on the books they sought to discount the requested goodwill down. The vendor refused.

The prospective purchaser commented to me that the discovery of the underpaying caused them to not trust the vendor. I am sure I am not the only person involved in the newsagency channel who has been told the story.

If you underpay employees and or pay cash in hand to reduce your obligations you will get caught by the ATO, by a prospective purchaser or by some other person. It’s not worth it. Don’t damage your investment, employee relationships or the good name of the newsagency channel.

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→ No CommentsCategory: Ethics · Newsagency management · Social responsibility

A cautionary tale on discounting and franchises

Mark Fletcher on July 28, 2015 5:43 AM

The 7.30 Report on ABC2 last night had a report the impact on franchises of deep discounting as introduced by Pizza Hut around a year ago.

Last year, Pizza Hit dramatically cut advertised prices to respond to price pressure from rival Dominos. Sales went up and, as some in the 7.30 Report story said, these increased sales at a deep discount considerable hurt the bottom line.

The report is a cautionary tale about franchise agreements and the amount of control you have, or do not have, over your franchised business. One former Pizza Hut franchisee mentioned they were surprised to discover how little control they had in their business.

There are several franchise systems in the newsagency channel, making this topic relevant for consideration by newsagents. It could be a good time to reach your agreement – if you have signed one.

Hop on iView and check out the 7.30 Report story.

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Promoting Total Girl and K-Zone

Mark Fletcher on July 28, 2015 5:40 AM

IMG_8734I like the counter unit from Pacific Magazines for Total Girl and K-Zone. We are using the counter unit to promote the titles off location, away from the regular base for the titles. We have chosen to place the unit near our popular kids area toward the front of the shop.

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Get ready for Tatts Set for Life game

Mark Fletcher on July 27, 2015 11:57 AM

Tatts has loaded the barcodes for the Set for Life game that launches next week. Newsagents should follow the advice from their newsagency software companies ASAP so they are setup and ready.

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A different approach to promoting large cards

Mark Fletcher on July 27, 2015 8:47 AM

IMG_8757Where do your have your large greeting cards? If you are like me they are all in a low traffic corner, probably at one end of the card department. This is done in the belief people will ask for them. What about those who could buy a large card on impulse?

Card shops I have seen in the UK and the US have large cards on a spinner in mid and high traffic locations that are far more noticeable than is usually the case in Australian newsagencies. They also have a bigger range of designs.

Thinking about this and my desire to sell more large cards, we have established two placement of large cards in the middle of our card department, near relevant captions. This is not a permanent change as I want to find a way to do this without taking up the premium space you see in the photo.

I selecting the card to be placed near Thank You cards I looked at all the designs we had, tried each in this large pocket and selected the card that stood out best. In addition to promoting the crd itself, it promotes the Thank You cards that are placed on the wall nearby.

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Pettiness at The Australian

Mark Fletcher on July 27, 2015 8:06 AM

IMG_8798In a newspaper that has participated in raising the profile of Q&A on the ABC, the A media pages of the The Australian today refer to Q&A as a low profile program. Pathetic.

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Promoting Good Chef Bad Chef

Mark Fletcher on July 27, 2015 8:03 AM

IMG_8759We are promoting the latest release of Good Chef Bad Chef inside and outside the business to leverage publicity surrounding the launch. The series has a good following and the best way to make the most of that is through promotion outside the business in my view.

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Sunday newsagency challenge: risk $500

Mark Fletcher on July 26, 2015 6:30 AM

Give a staff member who has never had responsibility for purchasing stock up to $500 to spend on a new product for your business.

Tell them to find new products you have never sold that they think will help attract new shoppers to the business.

Stay out of their way. Let them spend the money, price the goods, display them and promote them outside the business. And watch what happens.

Hopefully you and your staff member learn plenty from which both of you benefit as well as the business benefiting.

Sure its a risk but is it any worse than plenty of products you have spent money in your shop on are performing today?

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

Sunday newsagency marketing tip: lead with a story

Mark Fletcher on July 26, 2015 6:24 AM

Tell stories about what you sell and this will encourage greater engagement. For example, telling a useful story on your business Facebook page about a product you sell will help those who otherwise might not know about you discover that your shop is a place to visit.

We did this recently writing about a gluten free product we sell. People with Celiac read about it, told friends and soon enough we had some new customers.

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→ 2 CommentsCategory: marketing · marketing tip · newsagency marketing

Sunday newsagency management tip: ask for help

Mark Fletcher on July 26, 2015 6:21 AM

If your sales are declining and if closing the doors of your business for good is an option you find yourself thinking about, ask for help. Asking for help is a sign of strength. There are plenty of people in our channel who will help.

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So much for the newspaper front page photo

Mark Fletcher on July 26, 2015 6:15 AM

FullSizeRenderSelling newspaper subscriptions is apparently more important to a newspaper than the photo selected for the front page of the Sunday Herald Sun newspaper today. So sad to see news treated this way.

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Money making tip: the perfect counter offer

Mark Fletcher on July 25, 2015 1:51 PM

IMG_8792For years we have sold more Angel Flames at the counter than in the usual location in the party department. I encourage all newsagents to do this – you will for certain have customers purchasing these terrific candles in impulse, adding valuable margin dollars to purchases.

We get our Angel Flames from Jasnor.

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More Pluto love – from Australian Sky & Telescope

Mark Fletcher on July 25, 2015 1:48 PM

IMG_8785When writing about National Geographic today I neglected to call out Australian Sky & Telescope. It’s terrific to support an Aussie title at this time Pluto is in the news. We have the full face of the magazine placed so more than those seeking it will discover the title.

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Newsagency manager vacancy

Mark Fletcher on July 25, 2015 9:58 AM

If you know of someone keen for a newsagency manager role please have them contact me with their resume.

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Leverage the Pluto love – for your newsagency

Mark Fletcher on July 25, 2015 7:08 AM

IMG_8737The world is in love with Pluto right now. Yes, pluto the planet. The photos from the NASA project are stunning and they has people not usually interested in space and planets talking about Pluto.

This is why you should have the latest issue of National Geographic somewhere it will be seen by most people in your business, by people who would not usually venture to the dark corner where most since related titles get hidden in most newsagencies.

We are leading with this on social media, leveraging the Pluto love to attract people to the newsagency who might otherwise not have shopped with us.

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Do this one thing and your sales of Better Homes and Gardens will increase

Mark Fletcher on July 25, 2015 7:03 AM

IMG_8739This is an easy move every newsagent can make and from which every newsagent will benefit.

Whether your newspapers are stacked flat, in a stand or on a shelf like we have, make room for one stack or pocket of Better Homes and Gardens and your sales of the magazine will increase.

If you are worried about having this space allocated all the time, do it at least Thursday through Sunday. Your sales will increase.

This is not new advice from me, I have written about it here many times over the many years I have been blogging.

What frustrates me is the newsagents who have read the advice and not acted on it. It will take a couple of minutes and the return over the year will be well worth it – probably the best return from a magazine move you could get.

If your attitude is why should I do this when I only make 25%, I’d say consider stop being a newsagent. This move only has upside for you.

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→ 8 CommentsCategory: magazines · Newsagency management · Newsagency opportunities

Good to see the redundant N not on TVCs

Mark Fletcher on July 24, 2015 6:44 AM

It is good to see UK partworks publishers not including the N symbol on TV commercials currently running. The N symbol is not a unifying symbol as many newsagents do not use it and among those who do there are several versions dating back to the original release many years ago.

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UK PayPoint experience valuable for Aussie newsagents to consider

Mark Fletcher on July 24, 2015 6:31 AM

Newsagents the world over are told by some existing and would-be suppliers: you will win because this product / service will drive foot traffic. We know from our own basket analysis data in Australia this is not true for transport ticket top-up, newspapers, lottery products and bill payment. They are all inefficient in terms of basket mix yet suppliers continue to beat the foot traffic boost drum.

Newsagents in the UK are concerned about foot traffic (footfall) in their current challenges with the PayPoint bill payment and parcel service according to an article at BetterRetailing. The article is interesting as it puts data on the table in analysing the knock-on benefits of PayPoint in a business.

Where newsagents are asked to take on low margin products or services there needs to be more than a claim by a supplier about foot traffic. They need to back the claim with evidence and to agree or a reasonable KPI below which the fee they pay increases to make offering the service financially viable to newsagents. That said, my preference is that from the get go the fee paid represents fair compensation for costs of servicing the transaction including labour, prime space costs and opportunity cost relevant to what else could be achieved with that space – plus a margin.

Foot traffic of itself is not useful for any business. The traffic must be relevant to the business. Newsagents ought to be wary of a foot traffic benefit claim where there is no analysis of the deeper value of the specific traffic expected to be generated.

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Western Union to launch kiosks in UK newsagents

Mark Fletcher on July 24, 2015 6:29 AM

Retail Times reports Western Union will place kiosks in 300 UK WH Smith stores.

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Shame Herald Sun

Mark Fletcher on July 24, 2015 6:18 AM

IMG_8731Another dumb headline coverup on the front page of the Herald Sun newspaper today. That said, I guess it is not really a headline – hey have obscured the headline for another of their anti-labor pieces. If only this newspaper would publish fair and balanced coverage of news rather than biased nonsense. Regardless, covering front page headlines with a post-it note type ad is nuts in my view.

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Newsagent opportunity: ABC shops to be phased out

Mark Fletcher on July 23, 2015 7:31 AM

In another example of the challenges for book, music and filmed entertainment retailing, the ABC has announced it will phase out its shops.

While challenging news for ABC staff, this move presents opportunities for some newsagents. In our shops every day we serve customers who like that they browse and purchase in store rather than online. While the ABC announcement says it will focus on digital strategies, I suspect they will want retailers to offer in-0store purchases for plenty of their lines.

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