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Australian Newsagency Blog
I got to check out a copy of metro, the free newspaper in New York yesterday. It’s a good newspaper. For tabloid readers there’s not much extra in the newspapers you have to pay for. metro is significantly better the mX in the various Australian capitals. While it’s very much an advertising-first platform, the news coverage is more broad, more appealing than what we’ve got in mX.

Presenting fresh content with a fresh 2013 perspective, this two hour workshop will present a roadmap for those who want a roadmap, insights for those who want insights and hope for those seeking hope for the future of the newsagency business.

Much has changed in the last year. T2020, retail trends, the economy, newsagency sales, what we sell, how some suppliers treat us. Now more than at any time in our history, the future of our individual businesses is up to us.

I’ll talk specifically about ho to move your business from average GP (28% to 32%) to 50% (and more) GP and why this is essential.

Each workshop is free and will run for around two hours.

Venues will be finalised in the next week. They will be centrally located and should have access to parking.

I will also be organising dates for Hobart, Newcastle, FNQ (either Townsville or Cairns), Albury, Canberra and the Gold Coast.

I was in a newsagency a few months ago that was selling a poll for poll-dancing. My sexy little poll was not something I’d ever seen in a newsagency before. My first reaction was surprise. Then, I thought why not? It fits with some products we sell already – kind of at least. Also, it lends itself to expanding into other areas like costumes. Yeah, why not sell a poll for poll dancing.

I bet across our channel, in newsagencies, we have products other newsagents would be surprised to sell.

I am in the US and have been impressed with mainstream media handling of the horrific broken leg suffered by Kevin Ware on the basketball court on Sunday. The Sydney Morning Herald went to Twitter to note that the gruesome injury was all over social media. They should have checked their own site. The Age website had the video. Meanwhile, most mainstream media outlets here in the US did not show the injury. Instead, they reported the shock and seriousness of the injury by showing the reaction of ware’s teammates.

In the survey I ran over the weekend, 75% of newsagents responding indicated that they cut paid rostered hours on Sunday given the higher than usual labour cost for the day. This is an example of penalty rates working against employees. I expect that many casual newsagent employees would have been happy with Sunday rates on Sunday. 120 newsagents responded to the survey.

On Tuesday last week, Flipboard launched a feature allowing its users to create and share ‘magazines’. Within 24 hours of the launch, 100,000 new ,magazines were created. This speaks to the tremendous interest in self-curation. With the magazines being sharable it will be interesting to see the reach into the special interest space as this is where I’d expect many to focus. Talk about disruption.

That the Fairfax newspapers The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald publish in broadsheet format on the weekends continues to be a talking point among shoppers. Most are confused about the different formats. The difference certainly gets people saying which format they prefer. Tabloid is the favourite from what people tell me.

While we have done a lot of work over the last year on serving younger shoppers and those who buy for younger shoppers – as regulars here would know – we have not ignored our older shoppers.

The photo shows one range for an older demographic we have been enjoying success with. These drawer liners, room scents, wardrobe scents and other items are popular with shoppers buying for themselves and with others buying as gifts.

One shopper noticing our range commented to me she was surprised to find we had them. She’s given up finding drawer liners for her mother. Just discovering them in our shop gives us the sale of the liner and a card and, yes, a gift bag. She said she’d tell her friends. Nice.

Beyond serving the needs of an older demographic, this range is beautifully packaged. Placed together it tells a nice visual story. I also like that we can place the range without taking up too much space.

The customer’s comments were a reminder that we serve people of all ages and having products that serve a broad range of need (but still within your USP) is best for business.

Here’s a 1-question survey: did you reduce your rostered hours yesterday?

Lottery products generate excellent traffic for many newsagencies yet many fail to turn the traffic into anything more than lottery factory outlet canada goose dk store sales. Newsagents often blam their customers or the lottery products for not driving sales of other items.

Here’s an idea, a crazy idea, for getting the attention of lottery customers.

Get coupons printed that look like luscious red lips. Pay to have them die-cut. On the back have text like: five kisses gets you 25% off as many greeting cards as you want or five kisses gets you 33% of as much stationery as you want.

The key is to drive lottery shpper loyalty and to offer a reward for that. You achieve this with a simple, bright and unique coupon that is handed over with a fun pitch. Do all this and you’ll cut through to lottery shoppers who otherwise might never remember your shop.

Why a coupon in the shape of lips – kisses? Because it’s different. They’ll remember you for it. This is not another coupon, it’s a kiss and who doesn’t like kisses?

Go on, have some fun and promote your business. Turn good traffic into more sales.

I have been in a couple of newsagencies in the last week with factory outlet canada goose dk store specific spinners filled with products they were not designed for. In each case, when I asked the owner they said they had not had time to do a reorder. And, yes, in both cases, the stand had emptied quickly the first time around.

Good newsagency software makes it easy to reorder stock that sells. It does not take much time. Taking this approach is another way to reduce back office time spent running a newsagency.

I have created a single question survey asking if you reduced your paid rostered hours today because of the cost of labour – it being public holiday rates today? Please click here to take the quick survey.

On the back of a sell through of less than 50% for People magazine, the allocations system / allocations people at Bauer have given us a 25% increas in our supply. There is no reason for any increase in our sales data. Indeed, a decrease in supply is warranted. So, I ask the question of other newsagents: has your supply of People magazine been increased without justification?

I’d rather not write a blog post like this. I’d rather not have the experience of a supply increase without justification in the sales data, sales data I provide to Bauer daily. I’d rather not have these mistakes occur – if they are mistakes. I’d rather not be put in a position where I think that publishers do this because they want newsagent cash to fund their businesses.

It’s not too much to ask to be supplied fairly based on the accurate data I provide.

Julia Gillard says that only the Labor party will protect workers and keep in place penalty rates in place and protected with new laws.

Tony Abbott says the government should be replaced immediately yet he is offering no insight into how he would govern other than some slogans. He appears unwilling to pursue an equitable solution on the issue of penalty rates.

I am all for penalty rates where working on a particular day or at a particular time is a penalty. Like today, Good Friday – penalty rates should apply. Or even Easter Sunday.

Regular Saturdays and Sundays, they should attract no penalty rate. This is what the politicians need to address. If Tony Abbott did address this he could expect more small business support. As it stands, there appears to be no real difference between the parties on what is a very important issue.

In the meantime, we are stuck with paying around $40 an hour for what is reasonably unskilled work at a time that suits those taking the weekend work.

My frustration is compounded by the knowledge that in the US, retailers pay under $10 an hour any day of the week. I don’t want to change the base to that level. In fact, I don’t want to change the base at all. What I do want is weekend penalty rates abolished. Such a move would be socially responsible.

I have been going through our March to date numbers and comparing them with 2012 … cards, gifts, toys and plush account for 42% of sales and each is delivering well into double digit growth. Plush will pass $6,000 in sales this month. Not bad for what is usually a quiet month, Easter notwithstanding.

Magazine sales are up 2%.

Overall, revenue is up 6% on the back of flat traffic but a deeper, more valuable basket. the work we are doing reengineering our GP is delivering good results.

Here’s a good example of where there is value in promoting magazines in prime location. We are pitching the Scooby-Do interactive factory outlet canada goose dk store from Hallmark at the counter with the latest Scooby-Do comic. We have done this to add value to the display – to both the products. It makes sense to do this rather than have the products in difference locations in-store. It’s all about leveraging the brand as much as we can.

Here’s a table outlining the gazetted public holidays over the Easter weekend FYI. Click on the image for the detail. Fair Work Australia will confirm the accuracy of the information.

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