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

Australia Post (part 2)

Further to my earlier post here about Australia Post

Foot traffic is crucial to every retail business. It’s a numbers game. The more people walking through your front doors the more likelihood that someone will find something they like and make a purchase. For many years Australia Post retail outlets existed to provide a retail face to postage products. In the 1980s they started to offer non postage product and this trend picked up apace in the 1990s to the situation we see today where, on average, more than 50% of a government owned Australia Post retail outlet is given over to non postage product of greeting cards, stationery, telephone hardware and in person bill payment services.

That Australia Post has exclusive representation of the retail of postage product through its outlets provides it with an unfair competitive advantage over the retail outlets selling the other products and services which Australia Post carries. Australia Post competitors do not have an equivalent government protected product offering to guarantee equivalent customer traffic.

The Western Union money transfer service offering is a good example of Australia Post benefiting from its government ownership. Newsagents introduced Western Union in 2000 and by January of 2004 year had achieved 800 independent small business owned outlets. During 2003 year Australia Post introduced Western Union.

Solely because of its foot traffic, Australia Post has been able to snare a majority portion of the Western Union business. Australia Post outlets do not provide signage or significant promotional displays whereas newsagents invest significantly in signage, literature and advertising.

A study of the Western Union example will prove the considerable commercial value of the Australia Post foot traffic and show the advantage Australia Post gains from having access to the exclusive foot traffic.

What is happening with Australia is privatisation by stealth. Our own government is beefing up the Australia Post retail network to the detriment of small businesses like newsagencies. What for? Dividende? A sell off?

Newsagents should revolt and demand an enquiry!

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