Australian Newsagency Blog

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

Is your newsagency bland?

Mark Fletcher
July 12th, 2018 · No Comments

A bland shop is one that meets expectations for the type of business it is, one where expectations are met such that it does not need to be explored.

Whereas years ago, meeting expectations was a goal, in retail today it is not. Today, shops need to be extraordinary, so people do want to explore them. This is a tough challenge for small business retailers, especially those who don’t see themselves as retailers.

Compare the expectation / anticipation of people walking past a newsagency pitching magazines, newspapers and lotteries versus the a newsagency pitching Harry Potter products, Squishies and jigsaws, with no sign of lotteries, magazines or newspapers from the front of the business.

The second business described above is more likely to attract new shoppers than the first. While it may turn away the regular shopper, it equally may not.

The first business described above will only attract the regular shopper and those looking to shop in a traditional newsagency. That is a declining pool of people, being served by a declining network of businesses.

We stand out by buying to stand out, displaying products to stand out, offering services that differentiate and speaking outside our businesses, on social media and elsewhere, in ways that do not connect us with what has been traditional for our type of business.

Years ago, back inn the 1980s and even 1990s, a bland newsagency is what suppliers and others encouraged from our channel as they pursued a one size fits all approach to product mix and store layout. They were aided and abetted by shop-fitters, key suppliers and even accountants and bankers. That focus left too man y businesses in our channel rooted in a world of bland that some find it difficult to break free from today.

Today, a bland business is okay as long as that is your intent, as long as you want to serve the shopper looking for a traditional newsagency from yesteryear. A bland business is not okay if you want new traffic in your business, if you want growth if you want a business that is more saleable.

Seth Godin talks about this in his excellent book Purple Cow. Here is a snapshot of the message he pitches:

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Category: Newsagency challenges · newsagency of the future

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