The photo shows one stack before the show opened. The other was as large.
There was no sign explaining the context of the giveaway.
The photo shows one stack before the show opened. The other was as large.
There was no sign explaining the context of the giveaway.
Here are Apps I suggest newsagents try to understand competition and improve their shopper experience:
While it is late notice, July 4 is Independence Day. If you have any American customers it could be a god day to quickly dress the shop in red, white and blue. Even without American customers it could be a bit of fun – if you have time this morning. I like the idea mainly for the bright look it can bring to a cold winter’s weekend (in some parts of Australia at least).
Australian city themed jigsaw puzzles featured on the front of Toy and Hobby Retailer magazine from Ventura Games should sell well. Jigsaw sales are soaring. Newsagents can do better than toy shops in this space. Toys were strong in newsagencies decades ago. As many toy shops have closed responding to pressure from majors, local toy retail opportunities have opened for us.
In addition to the Australia Post partnership with 7-Eleven offering parcel pickup lockers and Mailman, the parcel pickup lockers within Officeworks, newsagents looking into this ought to research Amazon Prime as they offer (in the US) a similar parcel pickup service.
I met with someone from Amazon recently who said the consumer interest in the Amazon Prime lockers was far exceeding expectations.
This parcel space serves many different needs and has engaged interest from some large players – all factors newsagents need to consider when looking at any parcel option with a capital cost.
Melbourne radio station 3AW today apparently covered the story of Westpac withdrawing from newsagencies to Australia Post. I did not hear it myself. Some colleagues called me about it. I can’t find any reference to it online.
While I understand the Westpac decision, how they are going about it disappointing and not in a manner I would expect from a bank that says it cares about small business.
Gift HQ is a terrific trade show in Brisbane starting tomorrow. I am one of eight speakers speaking on business development and growth topics. I am sharing New Loyalty insights. Anyone visiting Gift HQ who would like to catch up let me know: 0418 321 338.
There is plenty to learn for the new newsagent and plenty an old hand can forget. I am often asked about important day to day operational tasks in running a newsagency so I started putting together a list. It’s an evolving work in progress, something I am happy to share with anyone – not as a definitive list of what you need to be on top of in running your newsagency business but something at least you can check against.
As I said at the start, this list is evolving with time. I hope it is useful to new newsagents and would be newsagents, to understand some of the day to day tasks you cannot afford to get wrong.
It was good to see the Courier Mail publish a good story about newsagents with an article about Nextra Chermside yesterday.
An audit by the ATO can challenge any business. Are you ready? I know of a newsagent who has spend more than $5,000 on accounting fees to deal with a super audit spanning three years. The audit became problematic because of high turnover of casual employees and poor record keeping.
The newsagent told me the ATO auditor mentioned that the ATO is targeting small businesses like newsagents. While I have no evidence to support this, there is no harm whatsoever in the reminder to be ready for an ATO audit with up to date and accurate accounting records including super records.
Spaces is a new title out today from the people behind the popular Frankie magazine. As we did with Smith Journal, we are launching Spaces with Frankie as well as if what will be the usual home for the title. We are also speaking about Spaces on social media to tap into interest being generated by the launch of the title. This is a title we can pitch a point of difference with.
I’m thrilled with the June quarter results, especially for greeting cards – unit sales up by 20% and revenue up by 27%. Everyday counter, the core of the department say unit sales growth of 37% and revenue growth of 39%.
This is in a store with many competitors in the centre – major retailers with good card departments, specialty card and gift shops, supermarkets with cards as well as Typo, kikki.k and discount variety stores at the cheap end of the card space.
Cards account for 25.47% of our revenue – get them right and you know the rest of the business will benefit.
I think any newsagent can grow card sales in any situation. As I have written here several times recently, key to growth is promoting the category outside the business, to people who may not have considered purchasing cards from you.
I am starting to look at June benchmark study submissions and there are plenty of newsagents growing their businesses, plenty of results that challenge the stories of doom and gloom from some.
Gary commenting via this blog a few days ago saying: We have an industry in crisis. I am seeing data indicating for many there is no crisis.
For years there have been differences between how magazine publishers with products in newsagencies and supermarkets treat these retail channels. While newsagents have complained, they have done nothing serious about it. I think we are approaching a time when we will need to act.
The challenges now are about much more than better gifts with purchase for supermarket shoppers.
The supply model used today disadvantages newsagents as it encumbers our businesses with financial,. labour and space costs that our competitors do not have. But even that is not why I say we are approaching a tipping point.
Price is the issue. More and more I am seeing different pricing in supermarkets for titles we sell in newsagencies. News Life Media and Bauer Media are the main publishers engaged in this. They must be doing it to drive traffic to supermarkets and away from newsagents for their products. Why else would they make their products so much cheaper in our competitors?
The only reason can be to drive supermarket sales.
Think abut the long-term implications – either newsagencies close or they reduce their reliance on magazines. What that may not hurt many of the titles sold by Bauer and News Life Media, it will hurt them and it will hurt many other publishers.
Today, the Australian newsagency channel is still the largest single magazine retail channel in the country. But for how much longer? Those who appear hell-bent on directing shoppers away from us need to consider the bigger picture for all publishers as well as for small business newsagents and the vital and quintessentially Australian role they play in there communities.
Publishers: every action you take against us makes magazines less profitable for us and informs our own actions. Every time you facilitate supermarkets presenting your product as better value from them you harm our businesses. You’ll blame us when we are less interested in your products or quit as you have blamed us in the past, not thinking for a moment about the role you played in us deciding as we have done.
Every benefit you give supermarkets, every time you make them more appealing than newsagents is another decision against the future of the Australian newsagency channel. Shame on you as we have served you well. It is newsagents who have been key to your success and newsagents off of whom you make more money.
I urge newsagents to start this new financial year off right.
Make a decision this morning that this year will be better than the last and that through your actions you deliberately pursue the business you want.
I urge you to make a decision to not be driven by reactions to what has been traditional for newsagents, make a decision to chase what is right for you and your future.
Not sure where to start? Here are some suggestions to get you thinking:
The alternative to this approach to starting a new financial year is to do nothing special, to operate in a mode of business as usual. Do that and you will have a usual result. For too many newsagents that result is flat or declining traffic, revenue and profitability. That is no future. It need not be your future.
If you plan to sell your newsagency at some point the best outcome will be achieved if you grow the business. Growing the business relies on steps such as those I have listed and other steps that will come to mind as you work through what I have suggested.
Now more than ever, embracing change in the newsagency is important. The start of a new financial year is an ideal time to commit to a plan of major change.
We can all grow our businesses and enjoy them more.
Make FY2015/16 your year!
Anyone wo wants help planning for next year let me know – 0418 321 338. I’d be glad to help.
This range of optimistic cards is working a treat at the newsagency counter. They are from Affirmations in NSW. Customers comment about the positive messages. I can tell these products make people happier at the newsagency counter. The images and words slow people. They also provide us with an opportunity to pitch a point of difference.
This is an example of how a thoughtful placement at the counter can be helpful beyond sales achieved.
You know it’s working when a customer picks up the product and smiles a genuine and heartwarming smile.
I like to have products at the counter that are not what people expect at a newsagency counter as this is another way to disassociate fro the traditional newsagency.
Product selection is a key activity through which to redefine your business to those who shop with you.
I think too often newsagents stock items and police them where they do because of they think is expected of a traditional newsagency business. Traditional activity will deliver traditional results.
This post I put on Facebook two weeks ago to promote cards in the newsagency continues to attract new shoppers for us. People seeing the post have commented to us about the message of a handwritten message in a card lasting longer than a text message. While this sentiment is what they mention, I think it is the choice of cards for the post that drives attention – they are different and on point for the text in the Facebook post.
I encourage all newsagents to try this. It’s easy. For a few dollars you could attract new shoppers. Here are some tips based on my experiences:
The bundle offer pitched by News Corp. is good in that is offers newsagents something fresh to pitch. Unfortunately, News is not pitching it consistently in the channel as it does not have direct relationships with all retail newsagents through which to track engagement and manage the accounting side.
As I expect to see more retail offers News needs to sort out its engagement with retail only newsagents who do not have a direct account. Fix this and more will engage I am sure.
I have been part of a discussion elsewhere over the last few days where a number of independent niche retailers are criticising newsagents for moving onto their turf.
Passions have run high in the discussion as the niche retailers and their fans have pilloried newsagents and claimed we don’t have the same care for their customers. There was anger as the niche retailers did not realise that some newsagents have been on their turn for over a year.
To an outsider, the newsagents now competing with the niche retailers are evil.
All through the several day discussion I felt on the wrong side as it is usually newsagents who are critical of others, like supermarkets, encroaching on their traditional turn. It felt odd.
Now, after the discussion has calmed down, it is interesting to look back with some perspective, to consider if there are learnings.
Reading the text of the discussion I am surprised at the lack of facts used to attack the newsagents encroaching on the niche retailers. Emotion is high in the comments, well ahead of facts. I think the niche retailers could have made a stronger case had they got their facts right as there are other factors at play besides newsagents taking on the products. For example, the active role of a key supplier.
I wonder if newsagents and the complaints we make about supermarkets could benefit from a focus on facts ahead of emotion. I certainly think it is true when we engage in the issue of shop local or the issue of lotteries in supermarkets.
The facts in any argument support the why. If we simply say shop local we are not making a case. The same as if we say we will close if supermarkets get lotteries we are not making the case. If we say shop local and here practical reasons that affect you, we cover the why and make a stronger case. Or if we say don’t give supermarkets lotteries and here is why we make a stronger case.
We support too many arguments with an emotion and not facts. Maybe if we stick to the facts and bring our case back to the why for our customers we could have a better chance in making our case. But if we look at magazine oversupply we all know that no amount of facts are fixing that for us.
The experience of engaging with the niche retailers who feel threatened by newsagents has me looking at making the case from the other side. It is interesting and fascinating all at once. I think we can make a better case on a range of competitor issues.
Here is another example from another newsagent documenting the consistent oversupply of Inside magazine by Network Services. There is no sense to this other than Network keeping their trucks full. Right here is why newsagents early return.
One newsagent told me yesterday they had received 27 new titles from Bauer Media’s Network Services this month and two reintroduced titles. 27 new titles is nuts. Performance data from the business does not support this expansion.
The result is cash, time, space and paper wasted as well as competitive disadvantage for the newsagent and, I suspect, plenty more like them in the channel.
At some point there will be newsagents who shut down their Bauer account believing it could be the only way to stop gross oversupply by the company.
Inside retail reported on action by the Fair Work Ombudsman against the operators of Kennys Cardiology.
The Fair Work Ombudsman has taken the rare step of seeking an injunction restraining a retail operator from underpaying her employees.
The move, in the Federal Circuit Court, comes after the agency received further complaints from young, vulnerable workers.
This report is a timely reminder to all retail business owners to ensure you are paying what is required. This also applies to newsagents employing family members.
I can’t sell gifts over $20. This is a common comment I hear from newsagents when I talk about the need for us to explore new product category opportunities at price points of $100, $200 and more.
In Cairns a week ago a newsagent made the comment at the Newsagency of the Future session. I accept this is their experience and the experience for many newsagents.
I think any newsagent can sell gifts and other items priced at $20 and more, much more. It is not easy and it does not happen overnight, but it can be done if you follow a process.
It starts with having products people expect to pay more for. This means buying from suppliers you have not dealt with in the past. It also means displaying and promoting them differently. It means making your business look and feel more like the type of business where the more expensive items are sold.
If you place gifts priced at $20, $200 and more in a traditional newsagency alongside cheaper items they will not sell. If your visual merchandising of more expensive items is old school newsagency VM, the expensive items will not sell. If you do not promote the new lines outside your business to people who do not usually shop with you the more expensive items will not sell.
Success with more expensive items starts with you approaching the opportunity with a fresh mindset, unlike anything from your history in your business. It starts with you understanding your target shopper: what they like, how they buy, what matters to them and how far they will travel to buy.
While it would be easy to list here for you more expensive items you could carry in your business to get you thinking, my experience is greater success is achieved by those who sort out this for themselves based on their situation, available capital and preparedness to embrace change in their business.
The core reason newsagents need to address this is: there is no upside in low price point low margin retail unless you significantly increase volume and that is a whole other challenge. Selling more expensive better margin products can deliver a better bottom line result.
Can you sell items priced at more than $20? For sure, any newsagent can.
This question sits at the heart of how you see the future of your business and whether you have the capacity trade through the opportunity of change in the disruption impacting the newsagency channel today.