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

Are you missing sales growth for your newsagency?

We’ve all been there. You walk into a trade show looking for ideas about the next hot product. Yet, a nagging doubt lingers: are these trends relevant to my customers?

Too many local small business retailers have a blind spot when it comes to what actually sells in their shops. This can cost the business a chunk of money.

I was talking to a newsagent not long ago who said they can’t  sell gifts prices at more than $30. When I asked why that was the case, they didn’t have an answer.

Another newsagent told me that they can’t sell pet related gifts. They, too, could not explain why.

Another newsagent told me that they could only sell cards priced at under $5.00. When asked, they told me they had never stocked cards worth m ore than $5.00.

These barriers we put upon ourselves created the narrative we listen to when stocking our shops. We make decisions that make the narrative in our head true.

You are not your customer.

Listening only to ourselves and surrounding ourselves with people who think like us limits what we see and hear. Sales reps push what’s hot with other stores, trade shows limit who can display and industry publications focus on broad trends. This can create an echo chamber, making it hard to hear the whispers of what your specific customer base truly wants.

Sticking with what’s “always sold” feels safe. Customer needs and preferences evolve. Clinging to the past can leave you with a dusty inventory and dwindling sales.

Data. Numbers don’t lie, but sometimes we don’t listen. Are you analysing sales data to see what moves quickly and what languishes? Ignoring your own in-store intel is a missed opportunity.

How do you fix this?

  • Watch TikTok. Currently, it provides the best out of left-field ideas from what I see. I have picked up excellent retail related ideas that I have not seen elsewhere from TikTok. Some have shocked me. Every single one of them has taught me something.
  • Embrace Customer Feedback: Talk to your customers! Conduct surveys, run polls on social media, or simply chat with them at the counter. What are they looking for? What problems do they need solved?
  • Listen: Everyone else working in the business, on the front line, hearing customer needs directly. Empower them to share insights and make informed suggestions about product selection.
  • Dig into the Data: Sales figures, abandoned carts, website click-throughs – these numbers tell a story. Use analytics tools to understand customer behaviour and tailor your offerings accordingly.
  • Embrace Experimentation: Don’t be afraid to test the waters with smaller batches of new products or surprise pop-up displays. See what resonates with your customers and what doesn’t.

What we can sell in the local newsagency is not bound by any rules. Play as far and wide as you are able. See how far you can take your business.

Be ready to be surprised. Embrace it.

We tried a category this past week in one of my shops, a category several thought would never work for us. $500 in sales in 5 days. 60% GP. It was an easy and valuable win.

You don’t know what you don’t know!

You are not your customer.

Newsagency management

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