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

Free Facebook job board a good way to find retail staff

With newspapers dead for employment ads and Seek pricing itself out of the market, the Facebook job board option is worth considering if you are looking for staff.

I have used it with success. Local jobs are easily found by people in your area, looking for work.

The tech from Facebook behind a simple listing use useful, far better than a notice in the shop window.

If you are hiring, give it a shot, and don’t take the boost option – save your money.

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Newsagency management

Dealing with anti-maskers in small business retail

The latest lockdowns in New South Wales and Queensland have seen small business retailers confronted by anti-maskers out to make a point for their nutty views.

I’ve heard of situations where abuse has been hurled across the counter by customers refusing to wear a mask. In one situation the customer spat on the acrylic shield at the retail counter.

Anti-maskers in-store present a serious challenge for employers as their presence and active engagement make for a possibly unsafe workplace, and it’s our obligation as employers to provide a safe workplace.

While I am no legal expert, I do suggest the following for any retail business owner:

  1. Provide your staff with appropriate personal and business equipment for their protection: screens at the counter, masks, hand sanitiser … all backed by appropriate Covid protection protocols. Keep this updated. For example, have an endless supply of masks available.
  2. Ensure customers know, from front of store signage and social media posts, that masks are required in-store. Use clear signage.
  3. Have masks available at the entrance to the shop for customers, for free.
  4. Demonstrate active understanding of situations where someone may not be able to wear a mask, for health reasons for example.
  5. Have a protocol for dealing with a vocal and / or threatening anti-masker and ensure that all staff know the protocol. This protocol should include a means by which a situation can be easily reported – a specific bell ring, for example.
  6. As the business owner, be engaged in dealing with anti-maskers.
  7. Meet with employees regularly to talk about the situation, to decompress. Make sure they understand and see that you support them.
  8. If the business is being targeted at all, position yourself at the front of the shop to run defence.
  9. The goal has to be to not directly engage with an anti-masker, to avoid making the situation worse, but to get them out of the shop as quickly and efficiently as possible.
  10. Ensure your CCTV is working, so you have evidence or any portable offence.
  11. Engage the police for any unsafe or threatening behaviour.
  12. Appreciate good customers in-store and on social media – celebrate their actions for making the shop safe.
  13. Put the health and safety of employees ahead of what a customer may think is their right to free speech. 

Dealing with anti-maskers in a retail business is all about leadership. The solution has to be set and led by business owners. leaving it to front line retail staff to deal with would be, in my view, an abrogation of responsibility. Show your employees how much you care about them by actively engaging on this issue.

Take the shop to the street. If you are in an area is heightened anti masker activity, take more of your business outside the business, to the footpath and elsewhere. taking business to your customers could make it easier for people stressed at wearing a mask as well as for employees.

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Newsagency management

New Dawn magazine pitches newsagents

It’s good to see magazine publishers promote the newsagency channel to their community on social media. It’s a pity larger publishers do not do this.

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magazines

SPECIAL EVENT: Growing card sales in the middle of a pandemic. Wednesday August 4 @ 2pm.

Join me this Wednesday as I talk with card data and sales experts from newsXpress, Henderson and Waterlyn about how newsagents have grown card sales during the pandemic, in some cases adding tens of thousands of dollars to their business profitability.

See newsagency data evidence of the growth and details of the steps involved.

Cards are the most gross profit valuable product in any newsagency. Manage them for success and your P&L will be rewarded, and your business will be worth more.

Let’s talk about how you can do this. Wednesday, August 4 @ 2pm. Here is the link:

https://zoom.us/j/91712938524?pwd=ZVRjQ3kzSHpRQ280bFR5Qzl0RllOUT09
Meeting ID: 917 1293 8524 Passcode: 367015

Anyone is welcome. Join us for practical advice you can use in your newsagency business. Discover intellectual property you can bank on.

If you have any questions, email help@newsxpress.com.au.

Footnote: I am a director of newsXpress.

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Newsagency management

Interesting use of tech in newspaper distribution in the UK

I am grateful to a UK newsagent for sharing these screen shots. On this screen we can see that they can set the required delivery time by day for newspapers.

In this image we can see the advice from the distributor as to when newspapers are likely to be available.

Newspaper publishers in Australia have failed newsagents on the technology front for years. Their disinterest in helping newsagents better serve customers is a factor in declining newspaper sales.

The screen shots from technology in the UK suggest access to a tech platform with useful tools that newsagents can use and rely on to provide better customer service.

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Newspaper distribution

Inviting shoppers to the newsagency

Here’s the front of one of my shops. The photo is from yesterday. It is deliberately open with products selected and placed to play against assumptions about newsagencies.

It’s working a treat.

Every day we make decisions in our shops about how we want our customers to see us, what they should expect from us. We do this through our product ranging, shop floor placement and social media pitches.

If we act traditionally, what we see through our register will be traditional. And, traditional is where plenty of newsagents are comfortable, which I respect. It’s not for me … hence the pitch you see in the photo.

Despite what we may think, we do have control over our businesses, what we carry, where it is displayed, how it is displayed, how it is priced and how we speak to it in-store. These are decisions we get to make, decisions that determine how shoppers see and interact with our businesses.

While we are part of a channel, the shops in the channel have become so diversified that there is no one model, no consistent pitch, except in an area under contractual control such as lotteries for those with that.

Now, on the displays … the tables you can see continuously evolve. There are major changes every two weeks and less major changes every few days. Oh, and in terms of the tables, we have eight positions like the in the photo inside the shop, each providing their own storytelling opportunity.

This space is called the dance floor, because of the never ending dance of movement of inventory and display fixtures.

I am grateful to the team members who have brought this latest offer alive. They have done a wonderful job.

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Newsagency management

ACCO adds freight levy of 2.5% of all lines

Stationery wholesaler ACCO is adding a 2.5% freight levy to all items from August 1 this year. They are also deleting from that 2,100 SKUs from their inventory range. They are also focussing on a tight list of products they are targeting for competition with major stationery outlets.

Here is the letter from ACCO explains the freight decision and some of the challenges they have been dealing with around this.

ACCO are not alone in dealing with this challenge. I know of suppliers who have adjusted prices without an announcement while others have adjusted other fees, such as in-store freight.

The freight situation, for the reasons ACCO explain in their letter as well as others, is impacting everyone. There is no escaping it.

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Newsagency challenges

ACCC waves through Are media take over of Ovate Retail Distribution

Here’s what the ACCC has said:

Are Media Pty Limited – Ovato Retail Distribution Pty Ltd

Acquirer(s)

  • Are Media Pty Limited

Target(s)

  • Ovato Retail Distribution Pty Ltd

Summary

Are Media Pty Limited (Are Media) proposes to acquire Ovato Retail Distribution Pty Ltd (ORD) from Ovato Limited (Ovato).

Are Media, formed following Bauer Media’s acquisition of Pacific Magazines, is the largest magazine publisher in Australia. Ovato is an integrated print, distribution and marketing company. ORD is a subsidiary of Ovato, and is Australia’s largest distributor of print magazines to retailers including newsagents and supermarkets.

Market definition

The ACCC considered the impact of the proposed acquisition in the market for the distribution of magazines to retailers (such as newsagents, supermarkets and convenience stores) in Australia.

For the purposes of this assessment, the ACCC did not need to reach a concluded view on the precise definition of this market, as it would not significantly alter the assessment.

Competition analysis

The ACCC concluded that the proposed acquisition is not likely to substantially lessen competition.

Foreclosure of rival publishers

The ACCC considered that for many magazine publishers, ORD is an important route for the national distribution of time-sensitive publications to retailers, and is the only viable option. This would give Are Media the ability to favour the distribution of its own magazines after acquiring ORD.

However the ACCC found that Are Media would have insufficient incentive to favour the distribution of its own magazines, instead having a strong incentive to maximise the volume and value of magazines distributed after it purchases ORD.

The ACCC analysed historical sales data that indicated that consumers who still buy magazines have a high level of loyalty to particular titles, meaning that very few consumers would switch to an Are Media publication if it favoured distribution of its own magazines over its rivals’ publications. The ACCC also noted that ORD faces high fixed costs in distributing magazines. These factors mean that if Are Media were to reduce circulation of rival publications and favour its own, it is likely to forego more revenue from reduced distribution volume than it would gain in additional sales of its own publications.

Given the significant continuing declines in magazine sales and the very limited consumer switching between magazine titles, the ACCC concluded that the proposed acquisition is not likely to result in a substantial lessening of competition from Are Media favouring its own publications.

In the context of ongoing closure of magazine titles and the general decline in magazine sales, with high fixed costs in operating a magazine distribution business, the ACCC noted that distribution costs faced by publishers are likely to increase with or without Are Media acquiring ORD.

The ACCC also noted that Are Media is heavily reliant on ORD to distribute its magazines to retailers, and that the proposed acquisition therefore secures its main route to market in an industry facing continuing decline.

Access to data of rival publishers

The ACCC also considered whether Are Media could use data about its rivals’ sales that is obtained by ORD, to benefit Are Media’s publications in a way that would substantially lessen competition. The ACCC concluded that any benefit from this data is unlikely to give Are Media a significant competitive advantage, primarily because similar market information is publicly available.

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magazines

Online sales to NSW grow

Through several consumer-facing websites I run I’ve seen an increase in sales to NSW addresses. This stand to reason with the state experiencing and extended Covid related lockdown.

I was talking with someone from the parcels area of Australia Post yesterday and they mentioned the same thing, a spike in NSW deliveries.

This is a reminder to NSW newsagents in areas of lockdown to use social media and other outreach platforms to remind shoppers of local delivery options as well as click and collect and other online order associated options.

There is no doubt that retailers with well established and appropriately connected websites do well during periods of lockdown when retail foot traffic is impacted. If you don’t have this, now would be a good time to set yourself up.

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Newsagency management

Why are many product deliveries from China delayed?

Plenty of suppliers to our channel who source products from China are experiencing delays in receiving products. Here is an explanation from a logistics expert as to what is happening.

The current problems are :

1. The unstable shipping schedules (vessel delays, vessels cancellations, etc.)

This has unfortunately become a normal practice/phenomenon since the outbreak of COVID and is getting worse, not better.

Ships are either heavily delayed (minimum 10 days on average) or cancelled all of a sudden.

It is also very unfortunate that almost all major ports worldwide (not just China) are suffering from port congestion.
These port congestions eventually also cause ships delays.

A lot of unfortunate incidents also came up unexpectedly, such as the Evergreen ship that got stuck at the Suez Canal, the ports at Shenzhen closed down due to COVID outbreak, etc.

Moreover, the Chinese Forces are conducting military exercises for minimum 2 to 3 weeks almost every month in the waters from North to South. They closed a large area of water. For certain areas and ports, ships simply cannot go and berth there but have to re-route or wait.

The other problem which will also greatly affect the vessel’s operations is the Typhoons.

We are now going into the Typhoon season. From now till end Oct., there will be typhoons affecting the regions from North to South.

Shenzhen ports were just closed down for the past 2 days due to typhoon.

There is another severe typhoon already on its way to hit the Fujian/Zhejiang regions which means ports at Taiwan, Xamen, Fuzhou, Ningbo and Shanghai and even possibly Qingdao will be affected in the coming days.

2. Terminals policies

As a result of the heavy delays of vessels, so the terminals are taking measures to avoid port congestions.

The terminals are all implementing very strict administrative measures for gate-in of containers (deliveries of ladens).

The days allowed range from a longest of 6 to 7 days to some even just for 3 to 4 days.

Shenzhen ports for example are based on 7 days before ETB (estimated time of berthing). In other words, Shenzhen ports only allows laden containers to be delivered to terminals when a vessel has been assigned for a berthing date/time.

Shanghai and Ningbo are still based on ETA but the days allowed is shorter (maximum 5 days before ETA).

This makes time allowed for operations very very tight not only for us but also for the shippers.

It is because shipping lines will only start to release S/O to us when they have the firm date of terminal accepting ladens.

When we have the S/O from shipping lines, the time available for the shippers to arrange for pick up of empties, loading of containers, customs clearance, etc. is very very tight. For some shippers they simply cannot catch this tight time schedule and hence have to cancel the booking and rebook on the next sailing.

3. Pick up of empties and delivery of ladens

As shipping lines only start to release S/O when the terminals have given them the date for deliveries of ladens, time available for pick up of empties and deliveries of ladens are tight. For some ports, we can arrange to get help from shipping lines to allow early pick up of empties but the ladens cannot be delivered to the terminal so we have to find a depot for accepting the laden for temporary storage till the ladens can be delivered to the terminal. Of course there will be quite some local costs to be paid for this arrangement, such as detention charge of container, temporary storage and delivery of ladens to Terminals.

4. Shortage of equipment

Similar to situation in Q4 last year and also early this year before the CNY holidays, shortage of equipment is a problem.

As far as carriers are concerned, most POLs are now having problems with supply of 40’ and 40’HC. This means customers will have to use 20’GP, 40’GP or 40’NOR (if available). For shippers who can only use 40’HC, they will have problems.

5. Way port space + Backlog in Singapore

Cargo going to Fremantle are all transshipped via Singapore.

Carriers are carrying cargo to Fremantle using way port space available.

Each POL is given way port space (TEU/DWT) based on different routes/service.

Because of the strong demand on space to Europe and other West Bound trade lanes, the way port space available is getting less and less.

Carriers are having problems of backlog in Singapore and so carriers are implanting very strict administrative measures to limit acceptance of cargo to Fremantle (also cargo which needs transshipment via Singapore).

6. Release of space/equipment

As explained before and due to reasons as explained above, Carriers have taken away the authority of space/equipment release from the sales teams at all POLs. This is now in the hands of a special divisions called the “Space/allocations release team”. These teams report to the HQ, not the POL office. This makes it more difficult for us to get the required space and equipment as we had managed to do in the past.

7. Reduced sailings per month/POL

As a result of all delays, etc., Carriers nowadays can hardly provide us with a weekly sailing from all POLs.
Most of the POLs can only offer 2 to maximum 3 sailings per month. For some POLs, there is only 1 sailing per month.

8. Upcoming rate increases

We should be well prepared for drastic rate increases in the coming months.

I think we should not be too surprised to see rates exceeding USD8000/40’HC in the coming 2 months.

While not every supplier sourcing products from China is impacted, plenty are. Buy carefully, and have a plan b.

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Newsagency challenges

If you’re finding it tough in your small business …

Take a moment to read about the 25-year old protection offered rich big businesses. This explanation published by respected journalist Michael West given you a hint into what should be considered a scandal:

It’s quite the cosy little arrangement that some of Australia’s “old money” billionaires enjoy, courtesy of the federal government. It’s a cosy arrangement afforded to no other Australians, and a number of the country’s wealthiest individuals have fought tooth and nail to protect their privilege despite repeated attempts by parliament, the corporate regulator and Treasury to end it.

Billionaires such as Gina Rinehart, Anthony Pratt, Harry Triguboff, Frank Lowy, Kerry Stokes and dozens of other “old wealth” Australian families are exempted from having to produce audited financial accounts to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

A total of 1,119 large proprietary companies are on this secret rich list; a result of “grandfathering” provisions of the corporations laws that were introduced by the government of Paul Keating 25 years ago.

The grandfathering exemption was put in place to give these wealthy proprietary companies time to adapt to a new financial reporting law introduced in 1995.

Introduced as a temporary plan by the Keating government, the list of exempt companies was to be reviewed after a few years but the Howard government stopped that move. The Rudd-Gillard government passed laws to limit the exemption, but the Coalition overturned them.

This an appalling situation, providing cover of darkness for thee businesses, while the rest of us here in the trenches are subject to tough regulation and oversight.

Rex Patrick is fighting to resolve this:

This is a story that should anger Avery small business owner as it’s us who are carrying the cost of measures like this one, which appears to protect big businesses.

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Ethics

Thinking outside the box – encouraging newsagents

I have spent time last week writing up to date marketing material for my newsagency marketing group newsXpress. The new document is called Think Outside the Box. I went with this title for a number of reasons, including these below, which I have included in the document:

Thinking outside the box: is it more than slick marketing?

This thinking outside the box pitch is real, backed by actionable items you can take. You can bank on it.

The newsagency channel was created in the 1880s to distribute a magazine through the goldfields of Victoria. Some of the agency arrangements put in place then can be seen in business arrangements today.

While we understand and respect the history of the channel, the future for our shops is the future. It’s nothing like those goldfield days.

Making the most of the opportunities of the future is about thinking outside the box.

What you sell. How you sell. When you sell. The customers you sell to. It’s all up for grabs, there for the taking. It starts with the narrative of your business, how you pitch yourself.

Thinking outside the box can include letting go of some things that don’t make money and don’t, as Marie Kondo says, spark joy.

Thinking outside the box can include you trying products you never thought would work.

Thinking outside the box can include you fundamentally changing supplier relationships, with you in control.

How far you think outside the box is 100% up to you. Our job is to pitch ideas and opportunities. What you do with them is up to you. Once you decide, we can help with practical steps.

While we understand that for plenty of newsagents, old-school products and services are valuable, their value is declining. Acting now, in new ways, outside the box ways, can protect your business against those declines.

You’re not alone outside the box. We help you, work with you, hold your hand and encourage you – as much or as little as you want.

For each of us in business, what we achieve is up to us. Our future is about how much we think outside the box today.

The document goes into specifics, the how and why of newsXpress, what differentiates its offer to newsagents.

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newsagency of the future

Covid lockdown To-Do list for newsagents and other local small business retailers

Here in Melbourne we are in our fifth Covid lockdown. As well as owning POS software company and working with local small business retailers every day, I also own three retail businesses and several online businesses.

This Covid lockdown To-Do list for local small business retailers is practical advice you can action without cost, to make the most of the lockdown opportunity.

Whether your shop is closed or open but with less traffic, now is an ideal time to work on your business.

  • List what’s not sold. Run a report listing all inventory in the business that has not sold at all this year. This list gives you a starting point for action. We did this last week for one customer and identified $15,000 worth of dead stock, stock the owner to that point was not focussed on.
  • Act on what’s not sold. Dead stock is dead weight. If you have long since paid for it, cents in the dollar for it is better than nothing.
  • Look at what’s been selling with what. Often the items in the same basket are not seen by retailers as items you can put together. This list, which you should be able to get from your POS software, can guide shop floor placement changes.
  • Front to back clean. Literally, start at the front of the shop and work your want to the back. Clean every single product. We often find that the act of holding every product leads to decisions about some products, decisions we might otherwise not have made. We have just done this at one of our own Westfield shops and the decisions we made along the way have been liberating.
  • Work on your roster. Look at what usually sells by day of week and by time. Your POS software should be able to help with this. Take time to review your roster to ensure it is set appropriately. Labour is usually the top or second highest cost in a retail business outside of inventory.
  • Reset the front third of the store. Look carefully at that front third of your store. Make bold changes simply by moving things, so that when shoppers return they see things they’ve not noticed before.
  • Prepare social media content that leverages you. Using your phone, film short videos of you or a team member talking about products. Prepare these to load over time on Facebook, Instagram and more. Have fun.
  • If you have a website for the business, write blog posts as they are absolutely the single best thing you can do to attract traffic to the website. A blog post should be single topic, pitch a consistent keyword at least five times and be over 350 words. We have a lot of experience with this and note, again, this is the single most effective online marketing for a website. The only investment is your time – don’t outsource this.
  • Learn something new. Ask your POS software company for the best report in the software to reveal what you are unlikely to know about your business. Run that report. Read it. Make a list of things you could do. Act on it.
  • Be a shopfitter. Shopfitters are expensive. Look at an area of your shop that you want to change that you would usually hire a shoplifter to handle. Think through how you can do it yourself. I know many retailers who have done this and vowed to not use shopfitters for such changes in the future.
  • If you are online, undertake a data driven review of your website. Look at your traffic and the traffic of your competitors. Review your site and theirs. Look for opportunities to attract more shoppers to your site based on the data. Whoever developed your website should be able to collate this data for you.
  • Personally: refresh. If you can take a break from business, even for an hour a day, read fiction, listen to music you love, go for a walk outside. These nourishing things can help reset mood and that could help you discover new opportunities for your business.

My POS software company, Tower Systems, is a local Aussie POS software company serving 3,500+ local small business retailers, many newsagents, with POS software and beautiful Shopify websites. Beyond this, we also offer retail business management advice and help to our customers every day.

Thanks for reading. have an awesome rest of your weekend …

Mark Fletcher | mark@towersystems.com.au.

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Newsagency management

Christmas in July takes on a new meaning for retailers

With uncertainty about product availability out of China, which has in-part been fuelled by some shrill mainstream media reporting over the last week, going out early with Christmas in retail makes sense.

We have gently pitched Christmas through part of July and its worked a treat in our shops. But, it has been different to other years. This year, we have been at full price, offering range as a service. And, it has been selling.

Covid has people purchasing differently, and not only because of the most recent lockdowns. This is something that we saw from mid last year. Planners will buy early, earlier than usual. Non planners are responding to Covid by bringing forward purchases, too.

Outside of Christmas we see the impact of people nervous about supply for when they want items. In greeting cards and gifts, especially, we see people buying now for later giving. It’s interesting, something were first saw in the early months of covid that that has grown as the impact of the pandemic has continued through the calendar.

These are opportunities for retailers, newsagents especially, as in our channel there is likely to be more stock from last year (and before?) stored somewhere, which people may buy now, because of Covid. Also, there are suppliers with some Christmas stock from .last year that you could have in-store in a few days. These are all opportunities to convert to cash otherwise items that today are not delivering value for the business.

Now, if you have not embraced raced Christmas in July, there is nothing stopping you going out now or next week. These people being out of lack of supply in the future fear will appreciate it.

My advice is have a location in–store designated as early Christmas opportunities. Place the product as a service. Don’t discount. Speak to it several times on social media, let people know you have those who want to shop early covered. And, if anyone asks or complains, explain that it’s in response to requests. This is you providing a customer service.

This should not be a fear driven campaign. rather, it’s focus should be customer service.

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Newsagency management

Promoting easy access to magazines online

Check out this targeted ad for digital access to magazines I saw on Facebook the other day.

Once I clicked on it (which cost the platform some money), this offer was pitched.

It’s interesting this platform, Readly, with 5,000 titles pitch a local Perth title. My IP address at the time had me in Perth.

Here’s an ad that was in my Facebook feed the next day. They are stalking me.

I don’t begrudge publishers doing this. I’d do it if I were them. However, it is vital that newsagents see the investments by publishers in chasing readers and subscribers elsewhere. This is the future and one of several reasons over the counter purchase of magazines continues to decline.

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magazines

Customers angry at newspapers not arriving until 10:30am

I heard from a newsagent in a major regional town in NSW this week who regularly receives newspapers at their shop at around 10:30am. What used to be 6am delivery is so late that customers are stopping purchasing the newspapers.

Part of the problem is the late delivery ion papers top a distribution depot. The main problem, though, is they supplier to the retail newsagent does not prioritise that last step delivery.

Despite calls and emails, publisher representatives appear to have little appetite for resolution. Now, if anyone says speak to an association, this should not be necessary. The publisher is already well aware of the problem. Their care factor is zero.

I feel for newsagents who are trying to serve their local communities and who face disinterest by newspaper publisher reps in getting papers consistently delivered on time.

This is a mental health issue as much as a customer service issue. The mental health of some newsagents is being challenged by late papers and the failure within newspaper pu listing businesses to have a process through which this can be reasonably addressed.

Here’s what I think should happen – newsagents should obtain the direct mobile number for a senior newspaper circulation executive and hand that out to any customer who complains about late papers. This would lead to the problem being resolved.

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Newspaper distribution

People commenting on NSW retail lockdown rules

I’m sharing this because of the mention of newsagents.

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Social responsibility

What retail newsagents can learn from how fintechs are taking on the big banks

Fintechs, Finance Technology businesses, are businesses leveraging technology to disrupt banking and banking related businesses.

In an excellent article, Fintechs Are Zeroing in on Everything Big Banks Aren’t,  published at Medium, Scott Galloway, Professor of Marketing at New York University, explores the challenge of energetic tech-driven start-ups on old, well-established and risk-averse banks.

The article is relevant to small business newsagency outlets in Australia as it deals with the challenge of an old business model, a model too many in the banking channel rely on today, and, in our case, too many newsagents.

Banks built success on location, their branch network, as did our channel. Tech b being leveraged by finch businesses makes location irrelevant. This is true for many of the products and services we sell, even more so than we probably currently imagine.

Another, easier (and more fun) indicator of ripeness is the eighties test. Put yourself smack dab in the center of the store/product/service, close your eyes, spin around three times, open your eyes, and ask if you’d know within 5 seconds that you were not in 1985. Theaters, grocery stores, gas stations, dry cleaners, university classes, doctor’s offices, and banks still feel as if you could run into Ally Sheedy or The Bangles.

The article engaged me because when galloway talks about banks and their old way of doing business today, he could equally be writing about our channel. Now, I am not being crucial about newsagents here. no, my criticism is more focussed on our suppliers. Their business practices and processes, which they demand we follow, are rooted in history, rooted in the past, and rooting out businesses negatively.

As fintechs are disrupting the banks, there are others out there disrupting us. This includes suppliers who are building and promotion their own direct to consumer pathways, Tabcorp, Are Media, News Corp, Nine Media, and more.

Start-ups are all about being lean and not being beholden to doing something a certain way because that is how it has always been done. Our channel has 140+ years of history, making it hard to be lean and energetic in our business practices.

We have to find ways of reinventing ourselves. This takes courage. It also requires us to let go of some things, which is not a popular view in our channel, especially among the old-school and those aligned with suppliers. But, we must, for our future is to be found in being like a finch business disrupting a bank … being nimble, smart, engaged and fast.

Footnote: This post focusses on retail since in the distribution space, the newspaper home delivery space, the publishers have stripped that from us, without fair compensation, and we let them.

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newsagency of the future