We sold out of a top-selling monthly magazine in the week of on-sale just prior to Christmas. We ordered more online and a day later were advised by the distributor they were out of stock. I contacted the publisher and they helped the distributor discover that they did indeed have stock. We were told we’d have stock in two days, on the Thursday. The replacement stock actually arrived the following Monday but it was the old issue.
Frustrated that we had been out of stock already for several days I bought copies of the magazine at retail and put them on the shelves for sale. I’m in a shopping centre with five other magazine outlets and I refuse to encourage my customers to buy magazines elsewhere – hence my decision to purchase additional copies at full retail for re-sale in my business.
By doing this I have set my business up to fail the data compliance requirements of XchangeIT. I am sure I am not alone in this.
XchangeIT, magazine distributors, magazine publishers and newsagency software companies need to agree on a mechanism by which I can report that I have acquired additional stock elsewhere. My newsagency software background tells me this is quite achievable. I envisage a simple transaction through which I add quantities of an item purchased outside the usual magazine supply grid with this transaction advising XchangeIT electronically and through them the distributor.
This approach can stop me and other newsagents who engage in this practice be being told off by XchangeIT for failing by being a good retailer. It can also give visibility to the distributor so that they know what I could have sold had they been able to supply the additional stock I sought.
While there have been discussions around the XchangeIT table about this on several occasions, no action has been achieved. This needs to change – especially in this current era of undersupply of some key titles.
Magazine distribution failures hurt our businesses not only in lost immediate sales but in educating shoppers to consider other retailers that compete with the newsagency channel. We need to do everything possible to serve our customers for the future of our businesses. If this causes us ti fail XchangeIT standards in the meantime so be it.
How prevalent is this move of purchasing magazines at full retail and selling them in the newsagency? I’d guess that it happens between 1,000 and 2,000 times a year.
On a side note: I wish magazine distributors better handled spare floor stock. Too often I am told there is no additional stock where there is stock.