Newsagents stand their ground

The Australian Lottery and Newsagents Association (ALNA) launched the inaugural National Newsagent Week from June 8-15 to celebrate the role newsagents play in local communities.

One in three Australians frequently visit their local newsagent and 79 per cent shop at newsagents according to new research from the Retail Doctor Group.

During the celebratory week newsagents offered their customers special offers, recognised members of their community and held charity fundraisers among other things.

Human interaction and diversification provide competitive edge

ALNA CEO Ben Kearney attributes the competitiveness of newsagents to the quality human interaction and local knowledge they offer in comparison to online offerings.

“Over half of customers visit a newsagent due to their convenience and one in two see newsagents as a destination retailer,” he says.

“There is no doubt that changes in retail and the products that newsagents have traditionally sold are an ongoing challenge for newsagents. But what we have seen is that newsagents are diversifying their businesses to adapt to change and to focus on being a community hub and concierge that offers what their local market wants.”

Hybrid models order of the day

Hybrid models, where newsagents combine their offering with another core product offer, such as a bookshop, cafe, florist, post office, IGA, or pharmacy, are working well.

Mr Kearney says ALNA’s survey showed that 79 per cent of people would visit a newsagent more often if they offered other services, with the top service being a post office at 63 per cent.

“Bricks and mortar retail is definitely hard work, but newsagents offer two things that cannot be offered in online retail: community and convenience. And while newsagents’ offerings will continue to evolve, those two sought-after qualities will remain,” he said.

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