This week I am shining a light on five back to basics areas of our newsagency businesses over which we can make a difference for the good of our business and the benefit of our customers.
By back to basics I mean parts of our business that define us and can separate us from others.
Today, I want to challenge how you manage stationery.
Newsagents used to own the stationery category in Australia. While some would argue that our dominance was taken from us, I’d suggest that we played a role and may have even pushed it away through our own poor management.
Anyway, we have today the situation we have and it’s time we looked to the future and where we could take stationery from where it is at today and build.
Here are areas I’d challenge newsagents to consider in relation to stationery:
- USP. What is your unique selling proposition? What’s special about your stationery offer? Why should people shop with you? If you can’t answer this question don’t proceed any further as this is a deal breaker to progress.
- Range. Is your range relevant for your situation? If yours is a convenience offer for stationery is it relevant to that? If yours is a destination offer for school suppliers is your range relevant to that? Being more successful with stationery starts with buying right for your customers.
- Price. Know who you are competing with and price accordingly. many newsagents I know can charge more and not hurt sales.
- Reach out to more customers. Stationery is usually the forgotten department – poor merchandising and hidden in a low traffic area. Give stationery time in the spotlight. Do this with off-location displays, front of store displays, featured products at the counter and displays in other departments like selling funky stationery to people buying funky magazines.
- Offer more than you sell. To really drive stationery sales sell out of catalogues and deliver. Sow your business as being connected to other local businesses in a way your competitors are not connected.
- Serve your customers. If a customer asks if you have something – take them to where it is located. If they ask if you have something and you know you don’t – look anyway and they will appreciate that more than a straight out no.
- Think outside the traditional. Give your customers more reasons to buy stationery by stocking stationery items outside the usual. For example, look for fashion related stationery items and treat these as gifts in your promotions.
Newsagents can increase stationery sales. It takes planning and management – strong leadership from the top of the business down. Success starts with respecting this category.
The goal of this series of back to basics newsagency management advice is to get you revisiting parts of your business that you may not be paying enough attention to. This should help imporrove basket size, drive traffic and get you better engaged with your newsagency business.