More and more newsagents are asking what I think about Hubbed. My answer is the same to all: do your homework, make sure you understand how it works, be certain it is right for your business before you sign anything and get every promise and commitment in writing.
I don’t know if Hubbed is good for newsagents because key information has not yet been made available. What I do know i that I will not, at this stage, be signing my newsagencies to Hubbed. I can put the $7 a day or $17 a day to more profitable use. Also, I see myself as a retailer and not an agent.
Hubbed is for agents who want others to generate traffic for them and who are happy to make a tiny amount from transactions.
Newsagents can’t rely on their industry association for guidance as it became conflicted when it accepted a 5% share in the Hubbed business. This is a mistake on the part of the ANF in my view.
At the Sydney GNS Market Fair the Hubbed people told newsagents to go to the Tower Systems stand and ask if the company will support Hubbed because POS Solutions is. (I own Tower Systems). Hubbed has never approached Tower. If they wanted to integrate to any newsagency software then they should approach this in the same way any supplier does and follow well established industry standards and not engage in juvenile trade show antics.
Ashley McGrath and David McLean from Hubbed reached out to me in January to talk about Hubbed before the launch. They sought my thoughts: We are shortly moving to pilot and, as an industry leader, I felt it would be worthwhile touching base and getting your thoughts on what we’re doing. Before engaging I wanted to know if they had a commercial relationship with the ANF. They refused to answer so I declined to meet. I wanted to understand whether newsagents were being represented by their association.
So, I’ve had no meeting with them and they have not approached me since. Yet here they are playing games talking about newsagency software integration when back in january they were adamant that such integration was not part of their plan.
All I have to go off is the contract offered by Hubbed to newsagents. Read my questions on the Hubbed contract for newsagents.
In terms of the business areas being pursued by Hubbed, I see bill payment as dead, especially the apparent approach being taken by Hubbed – the Australia Post offer seems far superior and more shopper friendly. The Visa card offer exists already thanks to Touch and ePay. Parcel handling is available for no up front cost thanks to N Parcel (ANF owned) and Parcel Point. Subscriptions are available through Touch. Gift cards are available through several suppliers.
I don’t see enough traffic generating value for $7 or $17 a day. But to assess the cost one needs to add in the retail space (costing between $5.00 and $10.00 a day in a shopping centre) and the labour cost.
I am raising these questions here because the ANF has abandoned its responsibility to its members and all newsagents. It is not able to objectively ask questions that need to be asked so that newsagents are more informed.
Hubbed may be good. Right now there is not enough information. If they have something so good and so valuable maybe we should setup a debate which newsagents can attend for the issues I have raised here can be explored.
All I want is for newsagents to be fully informed before signing any contract.
So, is Hubbed good for newsagents? I don’t know and I don’t see how anyone can know based on the incomplete information out there right now.
Footnote: my questioning of Hubbed here is leading to some attacking me behind my back. Anyone doing this is more suspicious in my mind. Every question I have raised could have a reasonable answer. Attacking me and not answering the questions should raise alarm bells. I’ve been open about my questions. I wish answers we being provided in a similar open way.