Making big things happen with a litte bit of attitude

This article by Moonyeen Price was published in the August 2012 Issue of the National Newsagent (magazine.)

“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference” (Winston Churchill.)

My dad was a general in the South African Army and faced many situations where he had to make split-second, life-and-death decisions. Usually there was no choice; they had to do what they had to do to stay alive.  He never allowed himself to think that something was too big, wouldn’t work, or that he could not do it.

To stay alive you have to take those decisions; and the same applies in our newsagencies today.

Martin and Mary from Quakers Hill Newsagency decided to put themselves out there and learn how they can create a better customer experience. Martin was somewhat upset at first when Mary nominated their newsagency for News Limited’s NewsPartners Retail Remedy program because they were so busy, having taken an additional territory not so long ago.

Soon he got into the swing of things and found himself still in the shop at 2am helping with the tiling. Having decided to stretch the budget by doing most of the work themselves, they somehow managed to find the time. What looked impossible at first became possible by simply chipping away at the tasks one after the other.

So, what did they do?

  • They communicated their proposition clearly to their customers by painting the outside half of the shop front post-office red and the other part newspaper blue.
  • Changed the cash desk to make it easier to serve their customers and also to promote more lollies and impulse items. 
  • The new newspaper stand was relocated to the left of the store in order to expose the newspaper customers to more touch points and products.
  • The landing space opened up and customers are not pressured in making quick decisions because of the crowded space they have to buy in. 
  • The chips were moved closer to the cash desk to consolidate confectionery.
  • The red post office theme was extended on the left hand wall to the back of the shop (visually connecting the outside with the inside) and a red rear wall to draw the customer’s eye into the shop.
  • Martin extended the magazine shelves in order to consolidate all titles in one location and reduce the space required. This made it easier for customers to shop and to expose them to more titles.
  • A space opened against the one wall to merchandise all Excel books open faced- easier shopping than the traditional spinners it was merchandise on.
  • The stationery category was relayed according to GNS planograms.
  • Mary involved her suppliers for assistance and relayed the pen category and also created an attractive paper display at the back of the store. 
  • A gift area opened up next to the post office area and boosted toy sales that way by capturing customers waiting to pick up a parcel.

Results

Although it has been only a month after completion, they had received extremely positive feedback from customers and early indicators are very positive.

Newsagent Mag

(Month on Month)                

  • Cards +4%
  • Magazines +7%
  • Stationery +1%
  • Confectionery - 6%
  • Books+21%
  • Toys +20%

Most importantly, Martin and Mary re-discovered energy and passion for the job. Thus begins the virtuous circle. They are already planning more changes and they have some grand ideas.

Revitalising Factor +200%

Mary said she could not even remember the old shop, and looking back at the old pictures, said: “I can’t believe the shop looked like that. News Limited really made a difference to the business.’