Australian Newsagency Blog

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

I feel for British newsagents and cost of newspaper competition

Mark Fletcher on February 9, 2016 6:31 PM

How are you supposed to make money from a newspaper with a cover price of 10p? making retailers carry a cost for a fight between two publishers is appalling. I suspect I would not carry this title. Based on Australian commission for a 10p cover price I’d make $0.0125 a copy. Nuts!

Also, Check out the cheeky claim re The Daily Mail.IMG_5660


→ No CommentsCategory: Newspapers

Leveraging licences for Valentine’s Day card sales in the newsagency

Mark Fletcher on February 9, 2016 5:20 AM

IMG_5535 (1)I love this Darth Vader Valentine’s Day card as it helps is make a considerably broader appeal for the season. Too many Valentine’s Day cards from all companies are sugary sweet. This one stands out not only for the Darth Vader image but for how it has been produced. It looks terrific in the card fixture but even better when stand-alone at the counter or on social media. I especially like that the card is 100% image – i.e. no words. I also like that the rose reached out from the card and can be removed as a memento.

So, this card is our feature card for the 2016 Valentine’s Day season as we seek to appeal beyond the traditional Valentine’s Day shopper.

With many other Star Wars and Darth Vader products in-store right now, the card is an excellent opportunity for non-traditional Valentine’s Day gifts as well.

We have to look at major seasons in a non-traditional way, to make the most possible from the opportunities. This is how we attract more than the usual newsagency shopper, it is how we grow our newsagency businesses.

Too often we either put product out or let suppliers put product out for a major season without thinking about special interest or niche interest opportunities we have with products. That is what I love about this card, the niche appeal. It presents us with an excellent opportunity our major card competitors – supermarkets, department stores and discount variety stores – will not embrace. This card is an opportunity for us to demonstrate the value we bring through our specialisation.


→ No CommentsCategory: Greeting Cards · Newsagency opportunities

Promoting the new Dr Who partwork

Mark Fletcher on February 9, 2016 5:04 AM

20160208_102647We are promoting the new Dr Who partwork with an aisle end display, near our other Dr Who and pop culture product. With plenty of licenced products available it is easy for newsagents to leverage this opportunity way beyond magazine margin.

We are also engaging on social media to attract people who may not think of us as where to purchase this and other Dr Who products.

This is a partwork to embrace in my view.


→ 3 CommentsCategory: partworks

Partworks in Coles

Mark Fletcher on February 9, 2016 5:01 AM

I noticed this issue of Batman Automobilia in Coles at the weekend. I’ve not seen a partwork title in a Coles except for issue #1 of something a year back.



→ No CommentsCategory: partworks

Fail by News Corp and distribution newsagent on Herald Sun price rise

Mark Fletcher on February 8, 2016 1:58 PM

A retail newsagent in Melbourne let me know they were told of the Herald Sun price rise today by a customer. Their distribution newsagent did not advice them nor did News Corp.



→ 3 CommentsCategory: Newspapers

Did you miss receiving Bauer Media weekly magazines today?

Mark Fletcher on February 8, 2016 1:55 PM

I have been contacted by a newsagent in South Australia advising they received no Bauer weekly titles today but that the supermarkets they compete with received full supply.

At their request I am posting this to see if any others experienced the issue.


→ 2 CommentsCategory: magazine distribution

Remembering David Bowie in the newsagency

Mark Fletcher on February 8, 2016 5:11 AM

We have given prime position to the music magazines remembering David Bowie. We have also been using social media to let people around know that we have these magazines as his passing is an opportunity for a real fan to collect a special edition of a memorial feature for future reference.

IMG_5512 (1)

The purpose of the social media engagement is to reinforce the relevance of our small local business when it comes to stories like this. I see it as if we are in a battle for relevance with other magazine outlets. Embracing opportunities around major news events provides us with an opportunity to show our point of difference. In this instance, it is in range of titles we carry. Coles only has one of the titles we have. Our social media engagement reminds people of our range.

For reference, I targeted the post broadly around the area and spent $5 on a 24 hour boost. I did this to pitch to more than people who already know about us.


→ No CommentsCategory: magazines · newsagency marketing

Why did News Corp. cut newspaper supply to small business newsagents?

Mark Fletcher on February 8, 2016 5:03 AM

Why did News Corp. allocations experts cut the supply of newspapers on the launch day of the Dr Seuss national promotion being run by the company to increase the sale of newspapers?

The cynic in me wonders if this is to do with shifting traffic from newsagents to supermarkets.

I heard from several newsagents yesterday about cuts to their supply. Some were cut to a lower supply than their average net sales over recent weeks. There is no evidence in sales data for the cost, hence the cynical wonder.

The Dr Seuss promotion is excellent: timely and popular. Right now is when supply ought to be boosted rather than cut – especially in newsagencies where engagement is far more professional and whole of business.

Footnote: it is usually after I publish a post like this that I get a call or an email along the lines of – I don’t read your blog but someone told me to look at this blah blah blah. The thing is, I know publishers read the blog. Who cares? What matters is that what I have written has happened. It is real. No, I will not tell you the names of the newsagents. Go to your ‘smart’ allocations people and ask for a list of all newsagents for whom they cut supply yesterday and this week, ask them why.


→ No CommentsCategory: Newspapers · Ethics · Ugh!

Here is how we are promoting the Dr Seuss News Corp. newspaper promotion

Mark Fletcher on February 8, 2016 4:51 AM

At the main newspaper stand.


On the floor. We have two of these.



→ No CommentsCategory: Newspapers · Newspaper marketing

Here is how Coles is promoting the Dr Seuss News Corp. newspaper promotion

Mark Fletcher on February 8, 2016 4:49 AM



→ No CommentsCategory: Newspapers

Promoting Chinese New Year in the newsagency

Mark Fletcher on February 7, 2016 1:07 PM

At the counter and on social media we have been connecting with Chinese New Year.



→ No CommentsCategory: newsagency marketing · marketing

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.



→ 2 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. [I removed this because of the comments you can read below.] 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.


→ 6 CommentsCategory: 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.


→ 2 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