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

Australia Post supports newsagents

ausposttweetAustralia Post supported newsagents in a Tweet last night. Just their mentioning us in this tweet put us in front of their 16,800 Twitter followers. yes, they mentioned Officeworks in the same tweet. No matter, newsagents were mentioned and Australia Post did not have to do that.

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Australia Post

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  1. allan wickham

    Yes we have stamps but it would be nice to make some money from them.

    8 likes

  2. Jenny

    I hate selling stamps, I do it as a service but it causes stress as we limit how many we sell. I purchase from PO to resell as a convenience, but why when we limit it to 3 do customers still say ‘I’ll have 10 thanks’. I don’t sell them at Xmas because we are too busy to save others going to PO. We have approached Australia Post for direct supply but our busy shopping centre is only 800 m from PO so too close. Try telling customers that!

    9 likes

  3. Chris

    Why do you limit how many people can buy? That just seems like a barrier that only causes you and the customers grief. Why stress yourself over something so trivial Jenny. Save your energy for other fights.

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  4. Shayne

    We do the same as Jenny. if I have to line up for 20 minutes to buy 100 stamps I’m not going to let one customer come in and buy the lot just so I can go through the ordeal of buying more.

    Limit 2 per customer unless they are buying greeting cards. If they buy 100 cards I will happily sell them 100 stamps.
    its usually the people who come in with envelopes and cards they just got at the reject shop and expect us to sell them a pile of stamps so they dont have to go to the post office.

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  5. Jenny

    Chris to me it’s a favour we do, make no money and half the time it’s walk ins who only want stamps. If I don’t limit it we would be going through hundreds of stamps a week for no return. If Australia Post would supply me direct I’d sell as many as customers want. In the meantime we look after our regular often elderley customers by making sure we have a supply for them.

    Off topic, lately we are being asked for pensioner excursion train tickets, maybe 2 or 3 times a week. What do we make on these ? Is it 3%?

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  6. David

    We do not sell stamps, we actually do not have any even in the shop for our use.

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  7. Brett

    We used to sell stamps, all we did was make the queue shorter at the LPO.

    Who has an entitlement to a monopoly product anymore anyway – we should all be able to sell stamps and make a cent or two on the sale.

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  8. Dennis Robertson

    Jenny,

    as you know I’m not a Retailer so this may sound like a really silly question. Is it possible for you to sell a 70c stamp for 70c + say a 10c handling fee? Is there some sort of Parliamentary Act that says you can’t so that?

    There may be a % of customers happy to pay a small fee to save time in a queue. The rest can please themselves. After all the handling costs are real if there is no direct supply.

    Can a distinction be made if there is some sort of authority that says you must sell for 70c to say yes I am, however there is a separate handling fee of 10c per item on these particular sales.

    Maybe the first 3 stamps could be handling fee free and I guess it’s up to the shop owner if a regular elderly customer gains even additional benefits.

    Maybe it’s not worth the stress, but it sounds like that is already there anyway. It’s a bit rich of the PO to deny direct sales if they are almost a kilometre away.

    Whilst it is probable emails that have seen dramatic drops in letter volumes, maybe the lack of ease/convenience for potential stamp buyers has something to do with it as well.

    Apart from this small stamps issue, it sounds as though you are doing really well in all other areas.

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  9. Jon

    Dennis you are not allowed to sell stamps above face value there is a law regarding that. I don’t think you could get away with a handling fee.

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  10. jenny

    Hi Dennis,
    I have thought about charging more but as Jon says we are not allowed. Its not a huge stress its just one of those things that you can’t please everyone and I hate saying no to customers but like Shayne said you just make the queue at the PO shorter.

    What stresses me more is trying to make contact with Australia Post, then when you finally get to speak with someone you have absolutely no confidence in their business ability, plus that fact that PO’s sell everything we have except papers and mags but we can’t sell stamps. They are being selfish and not looking after the elderly public.

    Thank you Dennis, yes we are doing really well in other areas, still plenty of papers being printed for us to distribute 🙂

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  11. Shayne

    Jenny don’t look now but our local Govt owned post office now stocks a range of the aww cookbooks. I think it’s only a matter of time before we se WD, Take 5 etc in there as well.

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  12. Dean

    Going direct to Australia Post to buy stamps cost me $300 per year (license/registration fee) and then I’d get a 6% discount.
    Some years ago I was talking to the owner of a privately owned LPO and he said he makes 12% from stamp sales. He agreed to give me a 7% discount and no annual fee. He makes 5% on stamps I buy from him, sales he would not otherwise have.

    I have a number of business’s that buy boxes of 200 stamps and people that want to buy one or two. I also sell overseas stamps. I have no problem with increased queuing times, it just another product we sell.

    Find a Post Office owned by a small business owner like ourselves that you are not competing with and ask the question.

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  13. Mark Fletcher

    Excellent advice Dean.

    1 likes

  14. Brett

    LPO was approached with exactly that offer and I was told it was impossible by the owner. He’s not a nice person.

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  15. BAZ

    I love it that the PO can sell Newsagent lines and make a profit, but we are unable to sell stamps and make a profit. Why are we competing with our Government in retail ?

    4 likes

  16. Shayne

    Baz I have written to my local federal member 6 times in 6 years to ask that very question and have not received an acknowledgement let alone an answer

    1 likes

  17. Mark Fletcher

    Shayne that’s important as it is only politicians who can resolve this. Personally, I think Australia Post is acting outside the Act but no one is prepared to challenge that.

    2 likes

  18. Greg Goosey

    I purchased my PostOffice many years ago plus I paid a lot of cash for the priviledge to own a Licence to operate that PostOffice. To sell Postage Stamps is illegal without a Licence. To sell Postage Stamps above face value is Illegal. To provide Postage Stamps to other sellars less than face value so they can make a profit is also Illegal. This country is beginning to wallow in a lack of Ethics.

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  19. lynne

    Mark Fletcher. The advise Dean is giving is NOT good advise. The LPO that Dean is dealing with is carrying out an illegal practice and if caught he will loose his Post Office License and his business.
    Brett. The LPO you approached is right. It can not be allowed. Selling stamps below face value is illegal. Only Australia Post HO are allowed to sell stamps at a discount rate and only to those that hold a licence. He may not be a nice person in your eyes but he is also abiding by the law and not risking his license so someone else can make a buck. There is currently an investigation into how Officeworks are obtaining their stamps as AP have informed the current senate inquiry that they have no formal arrangement with them (AP) to supply. Licensed Post offices pay big dollars to AP for a licence (hundreds of thousands) to sell stamps and postage labels, that is why we are meant to have the monopoly on selling them. The current situation of stamps illegally being sold elsewhere and people being able to print their own postage labels off at home through E-bay is eroding the value of Licensed Post Offices all over the country and sending them bankrupt.
    Brett, don’t Newsagent and News stands have a monopoly on Newspapers and Lotto?

    6 likes

  20. Garry

    Lynne no monopoly.

    1 likes

  21. Gregg

    Lynne, newsagents do not have a monopoly on papers or lotto. Newsagents have not had this for years. The same as the LPO next door sells Womens Weekly cook books and a lot of items such as toys, that have absolutely nothing to do with a post service.

    3 likes

  22. Gary

    Lynne,
    I’ve got a suspicion that PO’s selling stationery might have sent a few newsagents “bankrupt”. As Fletch muses, maybe AP is reaching outside their licence.

    4 likes

  23. Jenny

    Lynne, newsagents paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to sell newspapers magazines cards lotto stationary and AWW cookbooks.

    2 likes

  24. Brett

    Lynne,

    Newsagents were deregulated decades ago. Anyone can sell papers, magazines or lotto now as evidenced by petrol stations, 7/11 etc etc etc. Indeed, look at Coles and Woolies, they sell everything I do, except for lotto and they are chasing that as well.

    HOWEVER, a post office has a monopoly on the humble stamp. As I stated in an earlier post – who has monopoly access anymore? Its 2014, its supposed to be a free market – unless you have a licence to sell stamps.

    And my local Postmaster? – hes not a nice person.

    0 likes

  25. Brendan

    I won’t sell them unless Australia Post will supply them to us at a discount to provide some profit (really this would only be recovering costs). We made numerous phone calls and sent 2 letters to Australia Post requesting to be an authorised vendor and they did not have the decency to even reply. Why any of us would stock stamps at a cost to us and sell them with no margin is beyond me (again this is loss making as we queue up for the stamps, finance them when money could be in other stock, pay a staff member to serve etc, etc). Let the post office queue be full of people wanting a stamp or ten customers wanting printer cartridges, stationery and other items that Post Offices compete with us on will hopefully come to us with profitable business. We owned post offices for many years and I did not buy a newsagency to sell stamps again especially at a loss.

    2 likes

  26. Bill W

    Stop rounding up the ants why the elephants are getting away.
    Use the basket depth report and you’ll see that 90-95% of items such as stamps, newspapers, bus recharge, phone recharge are single item purchases. They may bring in the traffic but they are not buying anything else.
    Let them queue at the post office while you focus on being a retailer.

    6 likes

  27. Mark Fletcher

    Good advice Bill. Traffic generators are only good if they are profitable. Use your reports to understand this.

    0 likes

  28. Brendan

    Spot on Bill. Both stamps and local papers, when we tell “customers” we don’t have them they walk straight out without purchasing anything else and I’m sure if we did have these in store they would still leave without additional purchases.

    3 likes

  29. David @ Angle Vale Newsagency

    Like you, Brenda, I have some who come in just for a stamp or a recharge. But I also sell these to my regulars.

    And each of those “non customers”who buy a stamp or a recharge are exposed to our latest offerings and are a potential new customer.

    1 likes

  30. David @ Angle Vale Newsagency

    sorry, BrendAN.

    1 likes

  31. Brendan

    David, my issue with selling stamps without margin is that: I finance these stamps with credit; the value of the stamps could be spent on more stock (we used to have up to $1k of stamps that lasted a week when we did stock them); profitable customers have to queue behind “customers” that are costing us money; the sock response from people wanting stamps is “I don’t want to queue at the post office”.
    Depending on you shops situation it may be beneficial to offer stamps as a service but not in my case. I’d rather spend that time helping a customer who came in to purchase real stock to make the right choice and spend a little more.

    3 likes

  32. David @ Angle Vale Newsagency

    Appreciate it is a difficult choice, Brendan. Quite a few stamps are sold to greeting card customers. If I don’t have the stamp, they go to the post office and next time they’ll bypass me as the can get a stamp and a card at the same time.

    I appreciate our businesses are probably quite different, and I would avoid stamps if I could. Although, the local PO folk are good to me. They phone on Friday to see what I need, deliver and collect $ then buy their Lotto tickets. They could buy the lotto tickets in the shop next door to their PO, but they support us for supporting them.

    OTOH, I have no time for the stuff from the ATO that takes up valuable space and puts me in the position of advising what forms they need.

    3 likes

  33. Brendan

    David, is your local an LPO? Ours is official and were not helpful at all.

    0 likes

  34. David @ Angle Vale Newsagency

    Yes, LPO, maybe thats why they are bit more co-operative. That, and they’re nice people. 🙂

    1 likes

  35. The Anonymous Licensee

    It’s in the postal act that LPOs can’t sell stamps at a discount. So any LPO selling stamps at a discount to anyone – even your favourite newsagent – is breaking the law.

    0 likes

  36. Snelette

    It doesn’t sound like David was getting them at a discount, if that is to whom you were referring, anonymous licensee.

    0 likes

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