Australian Newsagency Blog

A blog on issues affecting Australia's newsagents, media and small business generally.

Where newsagents should put newspapers

Mark Fletcher on November 12, 2018 8:38 PM

Some advice for newsagents on newspaper placement in this tweet on Twitter:

Newsagents should be forced to put newspapers in the comics section. That would make adults think twice about their source material before making their minds up.

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Blackhawk could sell more gift cards in Australian newsagencies…

Mark Fletcher on November 12, 2018 6:14 AM

…if they made easily available to us floor stands like they have placed in Coles supermarkets. These themed stands are excellent, and perfectly situated for impulse purchase at the entrance to the supermarket.

For years newsagents have sought better engagement from Blackhawk.

While margin is slim, a gift card purchase is a nice basket extension without inventory cost.

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→ 1 CommentCategory: Newsagency challenges

Shame on the people at News Corp’s The Australian for this poster

Mark Fletcher on November 11, 2018 11:51 AM

This newspaper promotional poster for The Australian demonstrates what News Corp does in this country, using its media outlets to interfere in our democracy, to knowing mis-state the situation for its own commercial benefit, through political support and patronage.

Shame on News Corp. Shame on everyone at the company involved deciding to proceed with the poster.

This poster is disgusting in my opinion.

At the time of producing this poster, the editorial team knew:

  1. A Liberal male parliamentarian used parliamentary privilege to trigger the the situation.
  2. You could argue the ‘crisis’ began at a social event, which it did. The person abused by the male Labor leader decided to not pursue the matter. Once sober, the Labor leader should have confessed and resigned.
  3. While the ALP leader quit last week, it was done quickly, not like the liberal leadership mess in Canberra that took weeks to resolve. By comparison, the replacement of the leader is hardly a ‘crisis’.
  4. The victim did not want the matter publicised, did not want to formally complain about the matter.
  5. The contents of the poster are false and misleading.

For News Corp. to blame the victim, who happened to be an ABC journalist, is appalling, dishonest.

I don’t understand why people buy this poisonous propaganda trash.

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→ 3 CommentsCategory: Ethics · Social responsibility

This could be why Tatts has asked its retailer franchisees for employees to provide details

Mark Fletcher on November 11, 2018 7:44 AM

I write this post a year ago. It is relevant today because Tatts has just contacted franchisees seeking access to information many small business owners would not consider its right to have…

Newsagents have been wondering why Tatts is expressing interest in employee arrangements in newsagency businesses. I have had plenty of questions and I know others have too.

This situation has come about because of the federal government passing vulnerable employee legislation following the 7-Eleven debacle. The Fair Work Ombudsman website sets the scene:

On 15 September 2017 the Fair Work Amendment (Protecting Vulnerable Workers) Act 2017 took effect. It makes the following changes to the Fair Work Act 2009external-icon.png (the Fair Work Act):

  • increase penalties for ‘serious contraventions’ of workplace laws

  • make it clear that employers can’t ask for ‘cashback’ from employees or prospective employees

  • increase penalties for breaches of record-keeping and pay slip obligations

  • employers who don’t meet record-keeping or pay slip obligations and can’t give a reasonable excuse will need to disprove wage claims made in a court (this is also referred to as a reverse onus of proof)

  • strengthen our powers to collect evidence in investigations

  • introduce new penalties for giving us false or misleading information, or hindering or obstructing our investigations.

Read what the Fair Work Ombudsman website has to say about franchisors that have a significant amount of influence or control over the business affairs of the franchisee:

These changes apply from 27 October 2017.

Franchisors and holding companies (a company that has control over subsidiary companies) can be held responsible if their franchisee or subsidiary doesn’t follow workplace laws about minimum entitlements, the National Employment Standards, awards, sham contracting, record-keeping and pay slips.

This will apply to franchisors that have a significant amount of influence or control over the business affairs of the franchisee.

Franchisors or holding companies could be liable for breaches or underpayments if:

  • they knew (or could have reasonably known) that a franchisee or subsidiary wasn’t following workplace laws
  • they didn’t take reasonable steps to prevent it.

We are working with franchisors, their advocate and advisers and will have more information in our Help for franchises section when the changes take effect.

Tatts is acting because of an understanding of that term – significant amount of influence or control over the business affairs of the franchisee.

It’s not only Tatts caught in this. Any business that can be claimed to have a significant amount of influence or control over a downstream business is in the cross hairs.

I think there will be plenty more news and engagement about this in the channel river the next few months.

The challenge is the definition: significant amount of influence or control. It is not as clear as it could be. Some politicians say the Fair Work Ombudsman has overreached. We will have to see how that plays out.

There is plenty of advice online outlining the obligations for franchisors and organisations like Tatts outlets.

For a government that said it would reduce red tape for small business, this legislation is considerably adding to it.

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→ 8 CommentsCategory: Ethics · Newsagency challenges · Newsagency management

Support your local newsagent

Mark Fletcher on November 10, 2018 6:41 AM

Ten years ago I funded the production and airing of a TV commercial supporting the newsagency channel. The investment was just over $20,000. I wrote to the associations and suppliers at the time. One supplier chipped in $100.00.

The goal of the campaign was to remind Australians that newsagencies are local, that they are part of the fabric of Australia and to show newsagents that they belong to something beyond their own shop.

While times have changed and the focus of many local newsagency businesses has changed, I enjoyed looking at the ad again.

Here is the ad for those who did not see it at the time:

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Mental health awareness in small business newsagencies

Mark Fletcher on November 9, 2018 6:27 AM

Despite all the ads on TV, despite the work of R U OK?, despite the work of agencies like Beyondblue, despite the stories in the media, mental health, especially mental health within the small business community, and especially the newsagency community, is not talked about.

The challenge is that we cannot always see unhealthiness. If someone is physically unhealthy, we can usually see it, but not mental unhealthiness. For sure there are occasional signs like behavioural outbursts that don’t make sense but you can’e be sure and often you don’t want to ask for fear of making it worse.

In small business retail and in our channel there are challenges that can make things worse: bullying landlords, overbearing suppliers, demanding customers, relentless competitors. These and other factors can make someone see the road ahead through clouded eyes. For some of those on the other side, however, how they handle a situation could be driven by how the small business has dealt with it up to then.

I am all for personal accountability and often say we need to own our own situation – we sign our leases, we sign magazine contracts, we go into business. However, we do these things expecting fairness. Too often there are people on the other side of a commercial relationship who do not act with fairness.

Social media is a factor with mental health as it gives everyone a megaphone and the ability to publish an opinion without thinking it through. I know in schools social media is a big focus in mental health awareness, especially around bullying.

It is hard to know the mental health of anyone. That person smiling at you or joking with you could be in a dark place in their mind. This is why it is important we talk and ask colleagues how they are doing and why we all need to help when we think help could be what is needed.

In the workplace, I think being open with each other so that everyone has a shared and open experience. If there are business performance issues, rather than keeping them secret, talking about them could help ease tension: a problem shared and all that…

There are wonderful resources from government departments available. For example, The Victorian Government has a page online on this topic, which includes good practical advice:

  • Make time to exercise each day: For example, a simple daily lunch time walk can help maintain a positive outlook.
  • Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness means being aware of your reactions/feelings/thoughts as you have them. This helps you choose how to manage matters as they arise. Mindfulness is a great tool to help lower stress and anxiety levels.
  • Adopt work/life boundaries: Don’t let work overtake your life. Set some boundaries to ensure you have time for both work and a social life. You might decide not to discuss work from 5pm Friday night to 8am Monday morning because weekends are for family time only.
  • Connect with others: Find someone worthy of your stories – a confidant or mentor you can talk to about your business experiences. Make sure this person is supportive, a good listener and someone whose opinion you value.

This website also lists indicators:

  • Physical signs: For example, a constant knot in your stomach, tense neck and shoulders, feeling nauseous, heart palpitations or chest pains.
  • Changes in behaviour: For example, being unable to sleep, crying regularly, feeling moody or often irritable, increase or loss of appetite.
  • Unclear thinking: For example, not being able to make decisions, not understanding directions, not being able to focus, being inattentive.
  • Feeling sad or anxious regularly: We all have bad days – they’re a normal part of life. This flag needs attention if you begin to notice feeling like this regularly.
  • Disconnecting from others: This may include not joining in social activities, choosing to spend time away from family and friends or stopping hobbies/sporting activities.
  • Feeling overwhelmed: It is difficult to find solutions to problems, and in some instances it feels like they are insurmountable. Problem solving becomes difficult

And it lists useful resources:

  • Business In MindBusiness In Mind is an online resource specifically designed to support business owners who may be experiencing mental health challenges.
  • Beyond Blue beyondblue provides information and support to help everyone in Australia achieve their best possible mental health, whatever their age and wherever they live.
  • The Ripple Effect: A resource for rural communities that addresses suicide in rural areas.(Ph: 03 5551 8587)
  • Sane provides online information, support and connection for every Australian affected by complex mental illness through its website, peer-to-peer forums and helpline. SANE also has a range of factsheets on managing mental health in the workplace. (Ph: 1800 18 7263)

Our approach to mental health as business owners has to be continuous, on-going. It can’t be a one day of the year focus or a stunt. It has to be part of how we run our businesses, everyday.

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ACCC will not oppose Fairfax / Nine merger

Mark Fletcher on November 8, 2018 4:04 PM

The ACCC has announced today that it will not oppose the merger of Fairfax and Nine. In the announcement are some interesting points worth highlighting:

“Media markets are highly dynamic. The shift to online and the huge reduction in hard-copy classified advertising revenue have changed the media landscape irrevocably,” Mr Sims said.

“The impact of some of these changes is demonstrated in the approximate halving of advertising revenue from Fairfax’s digital and print mastheads in the last five years,” Mr Sims said.

“The ACCC recognises there will likely be changes to the way Fairfax and Nine operate in future, either due to the changing media landscape more generally or due to the merger itself. However, we reached the conclusion that if such changes do occur, they would not be, to a significant extent, caused by the merger lowering the level of competition,” Mr Sims said.

I remain of the view that Fairfax will be the first Australian newspaper publisher to quit seven day publication of a capital city print newspaper. Fresh management eyes, which will come with the merger, will, I expect bring this day closer. My suspicion is that News Corp. has the new that they will not even contemplate such a move until after Fairfax, even though the numbers for some of their titles make such a move sensible.

Newsagents need to be aware of this and already well advanced in business decisions in a world without the daly newspaper hitting the shelves. There is no downside in being prepared, in attracting shoppers for products other than newspapers.

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Is Blueshyft good for newsagents?

Mark Fletcher on November 8, 2018 6:35 AM

Since the CEO of Blueshyft is a precious petal and sensitive to criticism and so there is no doubt, what I write here is my opinion, nothing more, nothing less.

I have been asked by newsagents over the last few days about whether Blueshyft is worth considering. This has come about because of an email sent by XchangeIT promoting Blueshyft to newsagents.

The email from XchangeIT sent to newsagents endorses and promotes Blueshyft. However, because it is from the magazine company controlled XchangeIT, some newsagents are understandably skeptical and asking about the pitch. Remember, XchangeIT costs newsagents money for a small margin product service that small business retailers in some other channels get for free.

I have never been a fan of Blueshyft, because it is an agency offering that leeches off existing traffic and, occasionally, bringing in agent only traffic that rarely converts to reasonable GP business.

As I have written many times previously, I see no future for agency lines in retail businesses. While our channel began as agents, we have moved beyond that – this started in 1999 with deregulation.

The XchangeIT email claims Blueshyft are totally committed to supporting the newsagent industry. I have not seen any evidence of this. Indeed, I think their technology approach, aided and abetted by XchangeIT, is the opposite. They bloat newsagency software stock files thanks to a less than ideal approach to tracking virtual inventory. Despite suggestions of more current tech approaches, there has been no interest in acting in the interests of newsagents in terms of data management from what I have seen.

While the Blueshyft works, I think is distracts from the future of retail.

Blueshyft is an agency service that primarily serves existing customers. While there may be some new traffic, basket analysis shows that rarely is that traffic valuable beyond agency.

The question of whether Blueshyft is good for a newsagency business really depends on how you see your business: retailer or agency.

A retailer will focus on attracting shoppers through different, good margin, product. They will do this to seek out new shoppers, to build long-term relationships. Their shop will be configured to provide an experience and a service level commensurate with the value of items sold and the time shoppers will engage with these items in-store.

An agency business will be focussed on convenience, convenience of location and convenience of service. Speed will be key for shoppers and the business. Range of agency service will also be key. This type of business will usually identify more like a convenience store than a newsagency go today and the future.

While some argue that foot traffic for agency business can be converted to retail sales, such claims are usually made by non retail business owners.  If we look at newsagency basket data we can see agency lines such as lotteries, phone cards, phone recharge, betting account top up and newspaper sales as all predominantly not benefiting beyond the meagre commission paid.

Is Blueshyft good for newsagents? It’s up to each newsagent to make their own decision. You need to decide what is right for your business today and into the future. I appreciate there are some in the channel who are happy being agents. I support their position even though it is not for me.

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→ 1 CommentCategory: Newsagency challenges · Newsagency management · newsagency of the future

3M promotion helps us sell more stationery

Mark Fletcher on November 7, 2018 3:32 PM

The 3M Win a Ford Mustang competition is a terrific opportunity to promote and sell stationery. Any retailer can participate with the key being that your receipts detail the 3M products purchased, which is easy in your newsagency software. Customers can enter through the 3M website (click here to see) – there is no paper entry form or other process for retailers to follow.

There is a lot to like about this promotion, including the $10.00 minimum spend on a receipt requirement to be eligible to enter.

Here are the 3M brands that are being pitched through the promotion:

 

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The American Express Shop Small opportunity

Mark Fletcher on November 7, 2018 6:11 AM

The American Express Shop Small campaign brings valuable and appreciated focus to small and local businesses. While I don’t have engagement data, it does feel like the campaign has built a good following among shoppers and small businesses.

Last year, American Express made changed to its fees:

We made sweeping changes to the fees we charge merchants and this fee is now between 1.5-2 per cent for an American Express card payment.  Our merchant network is growing and since January 2017 over 120,000 new places joined the American Express network across Australia. We are committed to ensuring that as many places as possible welcome American Express to give our card members the best experience.

These changes make accepting American Express for payment more appealing for small businesses and thereby makes the Shop Small campaign even more interesting.

Shop Small gains attention where shoppers are – online, on mainstream media.

Their website makes it easy for shoppers to find participating businesses through a map. Amex Australia says that last year, there were 851,000 views of the map. They also say that through the money, Amex card members spent $675M in small businesses. I like this connection as it provides small businesses a way to connect and be found. Today, more than ever, there are more routes to our businesses and every single one is worth pursuing.

If you take Amex as payment I think it would be worthwhile engaging with the campaign.

Click here to access this video for sharing on social media.

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Pitching Teen Breathe on social media

Mark Fletcher on November 6, 2018 5:45 PM

If you sell Teen Breathe magazine, click here for a link to this video for sharing on social media.

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Complaints from newsagency shoppers

Mark Fletcher on November 6, 2018 6:39 AM

Over the years, I have received complaints from newsagency customers about an experience in a newsagency. They have contacted me through here as other points of contact have not been obvious to them.

If I have contact details for the owner, I usually pass on the complaint. I always respond to the person making contact, suggesting other avenues for their complaint.

Here is a complaint I received recently:

I want to complain about the newsagent is [        ]. They are very intimidating and they harass customers from other stores that are good people.

They make trouble by gossiping about certain people of low economic backgrounds, people that are poor and about people who go to the chemist across from their store.

I have been humiliated and I have been threatened. I have heard them lie too.

I don’t want them to know my details as I am  afraid by complaining about them they might get me kicked out from the shopping centre.

This is the third complaint in the last year from this business. It is a newsagency with which I have no connection. I passed the first two complaints on to the owner without response.

While complaints like this are about a specific business, they reflect poorly on the whole channel and this is problematic for all newsagents. We don’t have a discipline mechanism. While some banner groups do, I don’t see it used much.

Retail can be challenging, customers can be challenging. How each situation is dealt with matters as the impact can be significant. Today, more than ever, customers are empowered with platforms readily available for broadcasting complaints and rating businesses. Often times, these complaints and poor ratings can be unnoticed by the affected business for a long time.

Here is a complaint I received Thursday night for one of my stores:

Hi,  Just wanted to let you know that there ate two staff on duty at your store right now. They’re having such a great chat that they let me stand at the counter looking for some help without even acknowledging me. Needless to say I left the store without purchasing anything. Might be an idea to recruit better staff in the future…

I  checked and advised that we only had one staff member on and they were helping a customer at the counter with a significant ($150+) order. Speaking with the staff member at the time, they advised the person making the complaint was acting suspiciously and that they approached them, thinking they were stealing.

We need to be cautious with every complaint, not to deny it but to get the facts where we can.

The purpose of this post is to lay the issue here for others to contemplate, and to share the first example of a specific complaint, in the words of the shopper. I am not saying what to do or that customers are always right, because they are not.

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Australia Post toy pitch reminds us this protected government business hurts small business retailers

Mark Fletcher on November 5, 2018 6:25 AM

The Christmas catalogue from Australia Post strays far from the core remit of the organisation, as usual. While I have no issue with LPOs doing this, I do have an issue with government owned and protected corporate stores doing this, taking revenue from family businesses. Their toy pitch is interesting. A bit bland in my view, but interesting nevertheless.

Australia Post corporate stores tap into benefits not available to small business competitors. For example, major landlord do not place on them the same requirements of indie retailers.

Australia Post corporate store outlets can land shoppers in their businesses for a lower cost with the core monopoly services they offer. This makes customer acquisition cost for add on purchases, like games, lower.

I wrote a post back in 2013 that relates to the issue of Australia Post straying from its core remit. here it is:

An open letter to John Stanhope, Chairman Australia Post
Mark Fletcher
July 3rd, 2013 · 15 Comments

I was moved to write this open letter to John Stanhope, Chairman of Australia Post, after reading the article in The Australian Financial Review yesterday on page 22.

Dear John,

The feature article about you in The Australian Financial Review yesterday says that a big part of your job is persuading politicians that the rules around Post’s obligations need to be loosened – to align with a world in which “there is a younger generation, many of whom wouldn’t have written a letter, let alone post a letter.”

Really? You want the rules changed because the world has changed? You want your shareholder to protect you even more?

Hmm, let’s see how this goes – you go talk to your sole shareholder, the federal government, and ask them to change the rules to suit you, so you can pay the dividend they require.  The conflict is obvious.

I am surprised you want regulatory change as that has not stopped you doing what you want in the past.

It’s a changing and unfair world John. As your organisation has though your actions in opening retail outlets close to newsagents and expanding into non post related traditional to newsagency products, taking revenue from small family businesses and leveraging your government protected brand to achieve this.

I say Australia Post has abused its protected position to compete with small business newsagents through your corporate stores. Ink, book, cards, gifts – all sorts of items being sold by the post office. I have written about this here many times.

One of my own newsagencies faced stiff competition from one of your government owned stores. We were price compared by your public servants on more than one occasion for the purpose of competition. This government owned and protected retail business was trying hard to take sales from us.

And now you say the rules need to change to protect you.

The rules should not change, not in isolation. You can’t have it both ways – protected when you want and given more flexibility when you want. If there is to be a review of the rules under which you operate your whole engagement with the act needs to be assessed and publicly debated.

But before we have that debate we need to look at your ownership. Having the government owned business competing with commercial businesses is unfair. You need to get out of retail – sell them to local newsagents at a price that accounts for the damage you have done over the years.   You need to sell off your commercial courier business.

The government should only own and operate services that are not otherwise commercially viable yet which are considered an essential services for the community.

I accept you have challenges with the old print post model. They’re not new, they have been coming for ten years at least. I’d say this is why you have targeted newsagents in your corporate retail businesses over the last six to eight years. We were a soft target and you got away with taking our customers by using your monopoly.

John, what you have is a bloated retail network getting special treatment because of government ownership and taking special treatment by, in my view, operating outside the Act. It’s not a level playing field comparing the treatment of a government owned Australia Post shop and a newsagency in a shopping centre.

It frustrates me that the AFR gives you such excellent coverage when the backbone of retail in Australia, small business retailers, struggle to get issues of concern to them exposed in the media.

I hope the politicians refuse to change the rules under which you operate.

If you want to talk about this call me on 0418 321 338. I’d welcome the opportunity.

Mark Fletcher

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→ 4 CommentsCategory: Australia Post

Customers love the Christmas tree merchandiser

Mark Fletcher on November 4, 2018 7:19 AM

We have received a terrific reaction from customers at our small high street store in suburban Melbourne to the Christmas tree with our range of ornaments and items that can work as ornaments on display. Kids and adults walk around the tree, pointing and talking about what they like.

The loaded tree helps people see how what they can buy looks like when in use. This is a proven and easy to execute visual merchandising move.

We will evolve the display with the season, to keep it fresh and help regulars see what they have missed.

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The Price of Fortune – a terrific read

Mark Fletcher on November 3, 2018 4:18 PM

Newsagents and others who have been around the channel since the 1980s will find The Price of Fortune by Damon Kitney interesting, a good read.

I finished it this week as found it compelling and insightful.

While not completely about the intersection of ACP and newsagents, the insights into the family that controlled the business that dominated our channel and led the push to deregulate are fascinating.

I highly recommend the book.

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Question Time – an Aussie game you could stock

Mark Fletcher on November 3, 2018 7:15 AM

I have been approached by the makers of Question Time!, an Aussie game built around the theme of question time in parliament. Here is all the information they provided me:

Would like you to stock the Australian board game, QuestionTime, this Christmas?

It’s a game about Australian politics and political history, with intrigue and rat-cunning thrown in.

The board represents the layout of the House of Representatives and role-play is used to involve players in the ‘game’ of politics. It is great fun to play and educational as well. It has over 1500 questions – mostly multiple choice. Political knowledge is rewarded, but so are tactics, sneakiness and alliances. And there are a number of different wild cards that can be used to disrupt know-alls – by sending them to the back benches, blocking a proposed bill, and WORSE.

This game has proved to be a popular Christmas present. One of our stockists sold over 500 copies in the 2 months leading up to Christmas.

Hi Laughing and having great time playing game for first time. G.S. Roberston, NSW

My mid-20s son played for a riotous 5 hours with his friends…we’re keen to get our own copy. N.C. email correspondent

Had four friends around for lunch today. Just finished Question Time and had a ripper of a time. Thanks. R.W. Kiama, NSW

Question Time Board Game is the best Australian game since Squatter. It’s a cross between Trivial Pursuit and Monopoly. M.M. Perth WA

We designed the game in Australia for Australians. All components of the game are high quality – from the linen backed board – to the book of “Parliamentary Business and Questions Without Notice”. The games come in cartons of 4. Each game is individually boxed, which is handy if you need to send games out.
RRP is $70, wholesale is $40.

For more information visit our website questiontimegame.com.au or contact us by return email.

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Empire magazine pitches good and evil newsagents

Mark Fletcher on November 2, 2018 3:50 PM

While some may be unhappy they pitch online sales and subscriptions, it’s what I’d do if I were them.

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Long service leave changes in Victoria

Mark Fletcher on November 2, 2018 6:11 AM

Victorian newsagents should ensure they are aware of Long Service Leave changes that came into effect from yesterday. While not dramatic, there are changes that bring forward access to benefits. From the Business Victoria website:

  1. The new laws will provide greater flexibility to women, families and those transitioning to retirement.
  2. Employees will be able to apply for leave after seven years of work, rather than ten years.
  3. Employees can now take long service leave in smaller increments, i.e. a minimum of one day per occasion.
  4. Absences from work including unpaid parental leave will generally not break continuous employment.
  5. Certain breaks will now count towards accrual of long service leave, e.g. unpaid parental leave of up to 52 weeks, or longer in certain circumstances.

Point 2 is like to be the most interesting change in that previously people could only take Long Service Leave after ten years, even though it was paid out on employment termination after seven years. Now, it is seven.

From a business management perspective, it is good to encourage people to take Long Service Leave so that the liability is managed in advance of any business sale or closure.

Each state and territory has their own Long Service Leave rules and processes.

Click here to access a useful fit sheet on Long Service Leave and usual employees.

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→ 3 CommentsCategory: Newsagency management

News Corp. digital ad pitch received by email

Mark Fletcher on November 2, 2018 6:02 AM

I received this email from News Corp. the other day, pitching digital advertising.

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Opportunity: Clare SA, a town now without a newsagency

Mark Fletcher on November 1, 2018 10:32 AM

The town of Clare in South Australia is without a newsagency following the liquidation of the newsagency that was in town. With a town population of 3,200 and regionally more, there is an opportunity for someone wanting to re-establish a newsagency-like business in town.

With the only business closed, the opportunity is interesting as starting fresh always is as you could make this what you want with core newsagency products a small part of something more current in appeal.

The contact details for the liquidator are: Ian Burford 08 8231 3323.

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→ 3 CommentsCategory: Newsagency opportunities

Changes to penalty General Retail Industry Award rates apply from today

Mark Fletcher on November 1, 2018 6:41 AM

Effective from today, November 1, increases apply as a result of a review, which is done every four years, of penalty rate loadings. While a surprise to many, there has been some coverage on the move. However, it is seen as odd because of the earlier move to cut penalty rates,

Casual employees must be paid the following penalties (in addition to the 25% loading) for all work performed on a Saturday as follows:

  • From 1 November 2018 – an additional 15% penalty
  • From 1 October 2019 – an additional 20% penalty
  • From 1 March 2020 – an additional 25% penalty

Further, casual employees working evenings i.e. after 6pm on Monday to Friday will receive the following penalties in addition to their 25% loading:

  • From 1 November 2018 – an additional 5% penalty
  • From 1 October 2019 – an additional 10% penalty
  • From 1 March 2020 – an additional 15% penalty
  • From 1 October 2020 – an additional 20% penalty
  • From 1 March 2021 – an additional 25% penalty

Under current arrangements, these increases must flow on to employees.

Click here to see analysis of these changes. Click here for blog post from a legal firm with analysis.  Click here to read the FairWork Commission decision in relation to these changes.

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→ 2 CommentsCategory: Newsagency management

Pitching stationery on social media

Mark Fletcher on October 31, 2018 8:37 PM

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Leveraging behind the counter in the newsagency

Mark Fletcher on October 31, 2018 6:07 AM

We like to keep behind the counter clean and simple, to use it as a billboard for a promotion or seasonal theme. All through October we have done this, pitching the October is Beanie Boo Month newsXpress promotion, which has been on TV nationally.

As the photo shows, the display is balanced, product driven and with a clear message at the heart. We have found this works – keeping it simple with a singular focus.

Shoppers ask about the product and purchase from what is on display. We notice people looking at the display as they wait to be served or are being served. This is why simple is best, we don’t have much time in this situation.

This behind the counter wall is best used for easily understood and purchased items, items people will happily add to their basket at the last minute.

I think it is best to have only one product or one category represented in the behind the counter display. Mixing it up with multiple product categories can be confusing and leave shoppers not noticing your pitch.

The critical thing is that your behind the counter space works commercially for you. If it is not, change it until you find a mix and display approach that works. And once you find that, try and copy it, learning each time.

Having a behind the counter focus is another small step strategy that can add value to the business. While you won’t retire on the proceeds, it is a piece in the puzzle of growth.

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→ No CommentsCategory: Newsagency management · Tactical display · visual merchandising

What a cover: New York magazine on gun violence in schools

Mark Fletcher on October 30, 2018 2:11 PM

Click here to see the article.

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→ 1 CommentCategory: magazines · Social responsibility

Is the Kikki-k card pitch good value?

Mark Fletcher on October 30, 2018 5:31 AM

While Kikki-k has always priced cards to appear to offer a discount, the buy 3 get 4 pitch feels new. I can’t recall seeing it before.

Of course, since they make what they sell, it is easy for them to pitch, especially so for the low cost product.

As as informed shopper, these cards are not cheap. However, I suspect most shoppers would not see it that way, they would see the p[itch as a good deal.

In my opinion, Kikki-k is like Typo, expensive, even when they do deals and run sales, very expensive for the quality of the products. That aside, they make a successful pitch, especially in the card space. Their approach at perpetual basket depth chasing offers is like what we see from the major magazine companies, especially at transit locations.

I suspect we will see more of this pricing model in our channel, too, as we deal with these nationally run competitors.

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