In a practical sense, they want you to stand in front of a title, remove it from the shelf, scan the barcode, see on the screen the ‘label’ with supply and return data and then act. With the fastest App and or hand lend device the time cost of checking a title would be four to five times longer than right now plus you’d be relying on an extra bit of hardware .
Unless I am missing something, from a newsagent perspective this thought should have been killed off quickly after it was suggested.
To me, it seems the magazine distributor could be interested in making shop floor decisions harder to make. But they will deny this.
Magazine labels today contain excellent information that enable smart newsagents to make shop floor stock management decisions.
In my software company we considered this mobile approach to returns and shop-floor title management around ten years ago when mobile data devices became more affordable. Back then we decided against it for reasons that are valid today. It would be cumbersome, difficult, slow and forcing double handling. We looked at ti again a couple of years ago and decided nothing had changed.
Here is what I wrote to XchangeIT last week about this virtual label idea:
Gavin and Jonathan have just mentioned to me about the possibility of virtual magazine labels being pursued by XchangeIT. I see no benefit for this for newsagents. They’d need technology to check magazines on the shop floor. This and the time delay in checking would frustrate them and cost considerably.
The only benefit of this would be reduced early returns and that would be bad for the cash flow of newsagencies.
Newsagents today usually only print labels for non high-volume monthlies and one shots. They do not do them for weeklies and high volume monthlies. So, the cost of labels is not high. Also, the time taken to actually label is quite low.
The label guides in-store placement. It acts as an invaluable tool in making shop floor decisions.
Australia leads the world in this area. The idea of a virtual label would deny newsagency who use it from access to a tool that is vital to active shop floor magazine management. I think it would be a waste of money for newsagents and those who serve them.
I have made similar representations on behalf of newsagents to the distributor.
If the idea of a virtual magazine label does become a reality and make its way into the IT stands for the newsagency channel, I’ll support it as I do all standards. I won’t agree with it but out of respect for newsagents I will support it. By support, I mean I will end up spending my own money on it to help newsagents.
For those who think software companies will not like this because it will reduce label purchases – I’d say you’re mistaken. Label revenue is small. From my experience the products are offered as a service. The labels can be sourced from many places.
It frustrates me that people who do not run or own or understand retail newsagencies make decisions about IT standards retail newsagents need to adhere to. These people in control of the standards are out of touch. They are not serving newsagents well. They complain that newsagents do not adhere to standards. My response is that this will continue to be the case as long as newsagents do not see any commercial benefit to them in terms of equitable magazine supply.
I wish this magazine distributor would spend more time in getting supply right. Currently, around 65% of what they supply is loss making – the stock is not even paying for the space and labour used to carry the stock. They should be investing in their end to fix this and not pursue this project of folly that has no upside for newsagents.
I wish XchangeIT would more actively represent newsagents ahead of distributors since newsagents provide the bulk of their revenue. Their ownership structure makes such a wish impossible to grant.