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

If you want to convert your business to a newsagency

I have been contacted by several different people in recent weeks asking how they can convert their existing shop into a newsagency business. While each had different reasons, they were certain that they wanted to make the move. So, let’s explore that.

There is no licence as such to call your business a newsagency. The shingle has no regulation associated with it. There is regulation around lottery products and there are hoops to jump through for newspapers and magazines though, as well a some supplier driven regulation around access to newspapers and magazines – but that’s more related to physical location and proximity to other retailers.

There is no place you can go that will tell you all you need to know, or what you need to do, which is good because this in itself is a barrier that speaks to challenges of trading in the channel.

Before you go too far down the path you need to know sure of why you want to make the move and what the move actually looks like. If it is putting in papers and magazines to your existing shop, that’s relatively easy … but does it make your business a newsagency? If this is you, you need to know there are plenty of newsagents transitioning the other way.

Back in the day, a traditional newsagency was anchored with several key product categories: newspapers, magazines, lottery products, greeting cards, and stationery. You could say tobacco was in there, but it was not as dominant as the aforementioned five. The first three product categories are agency lines. That is, you are paid a commission to sell them, and the commission is far less than usual retail margin.

If converting your existing shop to a newsagency for you means you want lotteries, you need to approach Lotterywest if you are in WA or Tabcorp if you are elsewhere in Australia. I am not sharing specific contact details as that is a hoop you need to jump through, consider it a qualifier.

If you want newspapers, your starting place needs to be the publisher. They will connect you with the right people if they are interested.

If you want magazines, you need to start with Ovato, or Are Direct as they will soon be called.

But, it’s more than getting supply. You need to consider space in your shop, the time management requirements for each category and how the shoppers for those categories may fit, or not, with your existing customer mix.

I am barely scratching the surface on this topic. That’s deliberate. Making your existing shop a newsagency is not easy. It is important that you understand this from the outset.

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Newsagency management

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  1. Graeme Day

    COVID Locked down ceratainly has placed importance on the “Essentail Services” side of retail (now renamed as “Critical Retail” clearly distinguishing in the public an essential service as one of Govt control as in Health Fire, Law Ambulance etc. ) as being more attractive especially for those that have Gift and Card shops wanting conversion.
    For those seeking new business our enquiries are essentially the same in reason. These enquiries have increased considerably during the locked down period. The overall since COVID enquiries resulted in achieving the best overall performance in sales, especially caomparing with the past few years.
    It’s interesting to see that Specialty Retail is looking for this conversion to Critical Retail, just goes to prove just how important it is for the current newsagent to change their offer by accommodating the obvious changes needed and in doing so have the “total” package.

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