National Newsagent Week: Paper & Pen, NT

Convenience World profiles Paper & Pen, located in the Northern Territory, and owner Paige Watteau during National Newsagent Week.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic, what are the changes and challenges impacting the retail newsagency space?

Since the Covid-19 pandemic began in 2019-2020, we have noticed a massive shift to online services. As people were encouraged not to leave their homes unless essential, regular in-store customers began to purchase more online, communicate online as well as sourcing their news online. This obviously impacted many newsagents as we have a huge dependence on face to face contact.

How has your community interaction changed in 2020-2021? And what changes have you implemented to respond to customer demand?

Our community interaction changed as we relied heavily on our online presence to get us through our lockdown periods.

We invested in news lines of products that provided indoor entertainment. These items included puzzles, board games, books, as well as DIY craft sets.

The pandemic has really changed people’s purchasing habits also.

We have found that at Paper & Pen, our customers are consciously supporting the Australian made products. Our customers are really getting behind the small businesses and that is so great to see.

What makes your newsagency different from others?

Our newsagent is completely different to others.

We stock beautiful hand and Australian Made products. Books from Australian authors, Cards from Australian makers.

We have also designed the store without the typical newsagent displays. We needed to create an inviting space as we wanted to draw new customers into our store.

What’s next for the newsagency and the outlook for the rest of the year?

We are always looking on how to improve things and do things better.

We are in the middle of creating a website that we hope to have up and running before the Christmas Rush.

We also are consistently sourcing new stock from new suppliers. We love keeping our items new and fresh.

What is the most enjoyable part of owning a newsagency? And what makes a successful newsagency?

The most enjoyable part about owning a newsagent is the relationship you form with your customers. I believe that this is also what makes a successful newsagent.

Where do you see the newsagency industry over the next year?

I do see the newsagency industry changing.

I foresee a decrease in the need for stationery and a reduction in the magazines being published.

I think people wishing to open a newsagent need to think outside the box when it comes to design the services they provide.

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