Australian Newsagency Blog

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

How businesses do business is fundamentally changing, are you ready?

Mark Fletcher
July 12th, 2019 · 6 Comments

Back in the day in retail doing business was all about face to face contact in-store or a nearby coffee shops. Relationships mattered. This is why suppliers and service providers invested in sales teams.

Good sales people could get a meeting and the required business from face to face interaction.

Today, things are different. Retail businesses run with less staff and management hours in the business. More decisions are made outside the business, on the road, while at a second job or from home. More decisions are being made and business transacted without any face to face discussion. Even phone contact matters less.

I want to look at what is happening here from the perspective of how we do business with our customers in our retail shops. More and more transactional business is done without live human contact. There is the obvious route of online (web) for sure. However, there is also business done through message platforms, email and elsewhere, where there is no face to face contact with shoppers.

Are you setup for this? Are you connecting with people through social media and able to sell to them through here? Are you timely in handling emails? Are you prepared with images and information sheets on products you sell so you can sell without face to face?

Without a doubt more and more retail business is being done outside of shops. We in small business retail need to configure and equip our businesses to be able to do this. This is part about technology, part about business mindset and part about availability.

Too often, I see small business retailers express anger and frustration at obvious baddies – landlords, employees, customers and more – for poor business performance. Right now, with how the conduct of business is shifting, we need to look at ourselves and how we conduct business. We need to make sure that we are meeting potential customers where they are. We need to realise that more often than ever before, that is outside and, sometimes, far away from our shop. We need to do this when those customers want. Often times, that is when we are closed.

This is the new normal of retail.


Category: Newsagency management · newsagency of the future · Newsagency opportunities

6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Graeme Day // Jul 12, 2019 at 1:01 PM

    NMark, you have nailed this post as the new norm for retail.
    A great article for it is exactly where we are in retail today. Space in retail is cahnging with the demand from customers influencing the change. sometimes when this happens the retailer misses the tansaction becasue of lack of transaction. Modern Peter Paul and Mary, lyrics good be “where have all the shopper’s Gone? Long time passing”
    In particular your last paragraph is sadly too true. this should be taken on board, we n eed to embrace all these bvenus you mention and more. There is no reason why newsagents shouldn’t have a website to share their store’s offer to those that are time short.
    Als new products and services are needed especially now tha News Corp have given notice officially to those with Distribution Contracts in the Sydney Metropolitan area that it is “Game Over” you have the notice officially.
    It’s now time to focus on the Retail component and this means everything you have said here and more.


  • 2 Graeme Day // Jul 12, 2019 at 1:03 PM

    Hi infront of Mark not N- a typo thick fingers.


  • 3 Mark Fletcher // Jul 12, 2019 at 1:46 PM

    Hi Graeme,

    Yes, these are the issues, the big issues, which we need to address. Yet, sadly, too many to prefer to worry about smaller things, smaller ships that sailed ages ago.


  • 4 Rafael Soriano // Jul 13, 2019 at 1:04 AM

    Dear Mr. Fletcher:
    I am writing to you from Barcelona.
    For more than a year I have been working on my thesis on newspaper marketing.
    Your blog Newsagency is proving very useful to me.
    Last year I saw that News Corp was doing an advertising campaign that they called “We’re for You”. In this case I found out about an article that appeared in INMA’s digital magazine, signed by a certain Tony Phillips, marketing director of News Corp. For me, this campaign was very atypical, I asked for data but nobody answered.
    Could you tell me, in your opinion, what value or importance does it give to this campaign that I think they have repeated again this year?
    Thank you
    Rafael Soriano


  • 5 Rafael Soriano // Jul 13, 2019 at 1:09 AM

    Mr Fletcher, I just sent you a comment about a News Corp. ad campaign. But I do not know if I sent it correctly.
    I’ll thank you send me an email confirming what you received


  • 6 Mark Fletcher // Jul 13, 2019 at 10:21 AM


    Thanks for contacting me. Here is what I emailed to you just now.

    Let me say from then outset that I have a bias against the News Corp tabloids. They seek to interfere in democracy in Australia, creating and running agendas, being selective as to what they report, offering platforms primarily to those who agree with their views of what should matter inn Australia. In short, News Corp. tabloid newspapers are, in my opinion, are biased political pamphlets far more so than news papers.

    The We’re for you campaign was designed, I think, to soften the image of the product, to make it appeal as more whole of life and lifestyle driven. The campaign is disconnected with what is in the paper and how the company deals with its small business retailers.

    Over the counter newspaper sales are plummeting in Australia. While technology is a disruptor for the print medium, I think that the decline is int part driven by the product itself. If a newspaper is not a trusted source of genuine news, what is the purpose of purchase? Declining trust in an era when news is accessible in a more immediate and closer to the source form is an important factor, which I think News Corp struggles to accept as an issue.

    I hope this helps.


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