While the price of other products with a limited shelf life, such as fresh food, is reduced as it nears expiry, newspapers hold their price until returns for pulping.
We ought to price newspapers on a sliding scale – the later in the day the cheaper they become. We could modify newsagency software to set a price based on time of day and to report sales by time direct to publishers.
While some will wait to get a few cents off the price of a newspaper, I doubt those who purchase newspapers for the full experience will care.
I’d suggest full cover price until 2pm at which time its drops to 25% off and then for the last hours of the trading day it drops to 50% off. A trial could test if the timing and the discount quantum is right.
The goals need to be zero returns plus more people purchasing newspapers.
My core interest is in getting more print newspapers in the hands of shoppers who pay something for the privilege. A stand at the front of the newsagency, facing into the mall, offering The Age or The Herald Sun at half price at, say, 4pm could achieve just that. I’d expect getting fifty cents in the dollar is better value for the publisher and their advertisers than copies being returned unsold and having to be pulped.
Given the challenges facing newspapers including falling over the counter sales, falling subscriptions and falling advertising revenue, it is time to experiment with creative solutions. This idea of pricing that accepts a newspaper has a diminishing value with time is the type of fresh idea we need to consider. As a retail only newsagents it’s an idea I’d embrace. It is certainly more interesting to me that the forever promoted subscription deals that try and lure my customers to get their newspapers elsewhere.
I took the photo at the fruit salad counter of David Jones in Sydney, half an hour before they were to close for the night a couple of weeks ago. In this last half hour they slash the price of fruit salads to get rid of them, so they can start fresh in the morning.
Seeing the popularity of the counter at this time of the day is what started me thinking about this idea for newspapers. If I’m in Sydney close to closing time for David Jones I head down to the fruit salad bar and pick up a tub for less than half price. Delicious!