Australian Newsagency Blog

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Poor communication from Blueshyft leaves newsagents hanging

Mark Fletcher
September 28th, 2016 · 15 Comments

Blueshyft emailed newsagents yesterday afternoon asking them to call their POS software company for a stock file update.

Screen Shot 2016-09-28 at 7.26.24 AMDespite the claim in their email, Blueshyft had not told my newsagency POS software company – serving more newsagents than all other POS software companies combined – anything about the update, they had not provided the file, we had not seen the file and could, therefore, not help. We were not told the email was being sent.

But the support calls came. In huge number. Newsagents calling Tower because Blueshyft told them to. Some newsagents were rude to Tower employees, saying we were fools for not knowing about this.

This all happened when the Tower COO and I were on a flight from the Gold Coast to Melbourne. We had been on the Gold Coast on business.

The Tower help desk was slammed – all because Blueshyft had kept us in the dark and because some newsagents didn’t believe that we had no knowledge of this new file.

I called Blueshyft CEO Kain Warwick at 04:06pm when I landed and had realised the mess. Kain returned the call at 05:12pm. I and expressed by frustration at what is, in my opinion, appalling communication from Blueshyft and a lack of respect for what Tower Systems does for them. Kain had no empathy for the situation. I felt the call was a waste of time.

I also called the CEO of XchangeIT as they had subsequent to the Blueshyft email sent the file. He as not aware of the issues, of the broken communication. I also expressed frustration at the large file but it was not his position to comment on this.

The call did not go well. Here it is 7am the next day and I am yet to receive any update from Blueshyft on why they would email their customers telling them to call my company (and other companies) hen they had not advised to expect the calls and have the information ready to assist.

Tower Systems gets get no compensation for any work related to Blueshyft. XchangeIT is paid to do what they do. I suspect Blueshyft pays VANA for their support and kind words. Yet the POS software company with the most newsagents is expected to be mind readers and know about a file we have never seen.

What happened yesterday is ridiculous in my opinion.

I have told the Tower help desk we will not take calls on this new file. Instead, the help desk experts have updated our online advice. This has all the instructions you need to load the file. Click here for our advice.

Had Blueshyft been professional, they would have provided the file to the Tower support team, let them test it, let them provide Blueshyft with advice on loading and then communicated with newsagents. Instead, they dumped the heavy lifting on companies like Tower for no compensation at all. This is typical Blueshyft. They say they are helping newsagents yet it is others who are being asked to donate to their cause.

But on the file, it has 2,700 stock items. It does not make sense they want to bloat your system with all these but that is a separate issue.

Yes, I am frustrated as it is things like this that divert our attention from providing support individual customers of ours call us for – calls from the businesses that pay for our support services.  Blueshyft is freeloading at my expense and, ultimately, at your expense.

In his defence, Kain Warwick will say he emailed me and the Tower COO on Monday about a new file comping saying he would like to discuss it. This is kind of odd. he has our phone numbers. he has the Tower help desk contact details. yet he sent an email saying he would like to talk. there was no time indicator on the file release, no details at all. As Gavin and I were at an important conference on the Gold Coast we figured we would call Kain on our return.

This whole situation is ridiculous. You have VANA doing their song and dance about money some newsagents are making from Bueshyft, probably because Blueshyft pays them a fee to tout for them, yet others are expected to carry Blueshift for nothing.

This is agency business for which, in my opinion, there is no long-term upside for newsagents.


Category: Newsagency challenges · Newsagency management

15 responses so far ↓

  • 1 h // Sep 28, 2016 at 9:22 AM

    Well done Mark, Thank You.


  • 2 Colin // Sep 28, 2016 at 11:01 AM

    No word from Blueshyft outlets on here. Have any of you blasted Blueshyft for their ineptitude? If you do call them … ask them to fix the website also which currently cannot locate Blueshyft retailers. Hopeless, glad I’ve not been sucked in.


  • 3 SUBARU // Sep 28, 2016 at 11:17 AM

    While on the topic of Blueshyft, is anyone doing well with the SodaKing stuff?


  • 4 Katie // Sep 28, 2016 at 12:12 PM

    Subaru, we’ve had it for about 2 months now and have just down our first swap.


  • 5 David@anglevalenews // Sep 28, 2016 at 1:26 PM

    Colin, I am a Blueshyft outlet, but I do not see it as my place to “blast” them. Mark has done a good enough job from his corner.

    I do wonder why you think I have been “sucked in” by Blueshyft.

    The only cost to me is the tiny counter space taken by an iPad mini. I do not pay for the iPad, nor do I pay for the data it uses, it is connected via 4G paid for by Blueshyft.

    I can do a Ladbrokes top up in less time than it takes to process 4 lotto coupons and a mix of scratchies and make more money.

    I have just been visited by the SodaKing rep who says I am the best performing Newsagent in SA. I have sold my first box of 12 and I only pay for the cylinders when I sell one. Nor do I pay for the return freight.

    Bitcoin started with a roar, but has slowed.

    TNT parcels take a few seconds and my customers appreciate being able to collect here rather than drive 35 kms to the TNT depot.

    If anyone has been sucked in, it sure isn’t me.


  • 6 shauns // Sep 28, 2016 at 5:13 PM

    Well said David , I only do Ladbrokes mainly because I am a sucker and have an account 🙂


  • 7 James // Sep 28, 2016 at 6:30 PM

    Someone will know the answer to this and I admit I wrestle with it every day.

    Mark has been providing benchmarks for rent and wages in the last couple of days at around 10% of turnover for each cost component. In other words, the best in class cost of just opening the doors at a bricks and mortar store is about 20% of turnover. That doesn’t include electricity, maintenance, phones, merchant terminal fees, bank fees etc etc etc.

    Why then are we doing agency services on 2, 3 and 4% commission of turnover. I get that Lotteries space works on a whole different dynamic and set of benchmarks.

    But realistically the cost of banking and merchant fees alone exceeds these agency commission levels.

    Having said that I still do phone recharge…..for the moment anyway.


  • 8 Ken Wilson // Sep 28, 2016 at 7:08 PM

    James (if thats your real name?), if your rent and wages combined are at 20% or below, you are in a strip of shops that has nothing but crickets and tumble weed. If you have these bench marks, your sales will be pitiful and as owners you will not be paying salaries commensurate to hours put in. These benchmarks belong to the Skyhooks era…


  • 9 David@anglevalenews // Sep 28, 2016 at 8:58 PM

    James, Ladbrokes works for me. When a new customer signs up and deposits $100 I earn $100. I can give the customer $50 cash back and am still well in front.

    SodaKing works for me as at $18.95 I earn 20% or $3.80. I only pay for a cylinder after I have sold it, so compare that with a $18.95 magazine that will earn you $4.75, but that you paid for 3 months ago.

    Bitcoin earns me a minimum of $5.00 per transaction, or as much as selling 6 copies of Take 5. And, again, there is zero upfront cost to me. And zero merchant fees as just like Paysafe, Bitcoin is cash only.

    Sure, its agency business, but Blueshyft is good agency business, no upfront costs.


  • 10 Mark Fletcher // Sep 28, 2016 at 9:48 PM

    Some of the comments here are pathetic.

    The benchmarks are current and a useful guide.

    While have no interest in agency business for my shops and see little medium-term upside for the channel, others can have a different vie. Time will tell.

    Any counter space need to generate an appropriate return. Too often retailers do not accurately assess the return they achieve from counter space allocation.


  • 11 Mark Fletcher // Sep 28, 2016 at 9:58 PM

    On the actual issue of the post: I’ve not heard anything from Blueshyft, which is pathetic given their handling of this issue and their expectation that I will pay to cover their failings.


  • 12 Colin // Sep 28, 2016 at 10:28 PM


    Bitcoin – beloved of males 20-35, techies, people who want to have cheap transaction costs and avoid inflationary issues .. you get $5 a time …spot the conundrum ?

    Labrokes (pronounced brooks by the way) …massively successful UK operation. ever made money from a bookie ?

    Sodastream … how many do you fit into size of one laptop ? Still have room for the TNT parcels ?

    I guess there are 2 ways to go …

    Agency.. Make money from others with minimal investment Fill shop with gamblers and internet shoppers, no investment. Smile at double bonus when the bitcoin customers buy plastic resealable bags.

    Gifts, Expend large sums on stocks and creating shopping experience. Possibly make money by attracting loyal shoppers.

    Silly me chose the latter ,,,what a sucker


  • 13 shauns // Sep 29, 2016 at 7:35 AM

    Some of the comments here are pathetic.



  • 14 Colin // Oct 1, 2016 at 11:54 PM

    Hey David,

    Hope you’re not flooded and able to read this.



  • 15 Jac // Nov 9, 2016 at 8:45 AM

    We recently purchased a Newsagency which had Ladbrokes, Soda King and whatever else Blueshyft decided they were offering.

    A few times I had a call regarding setting up the account in to our name and I asked them exactly what they would be able to do for us, what they supplied and what we would get out of it.

    They directed me to the FAQ section on their website, I let a few weeks pass and they called me again, in the middle of the lunch rush asking me to transfer the details etc, again I explained that I wouldn’t be doing anything until they could tell me how it would be good for us.

    They promised to call back with more information after the COB, they never rang.

    Needless to say I have packed everything up and it is waiting for their Courier to come and collect it.


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