Landlords love the newsXpress brand

nx_gateway.JPGWe are pleased to be in a position to have opportunities for new newsXpress locations in several key high growth area developments thanks to landlord faith in the newsXpress brand.  These greenfield location opportunities are excellent for newsXpress corporately and excellent for those who join with us in taking up the opportunities.

Approaches such as those currently before us come through our national leasing consultant.  He is contacted regularly by landlords with existing centre opportunities as well as greenfield opportunities. The newsXpress Board assesses these and selected the locations which offer the best opportunity for the business to flourish and represent our brand.

We do not enter into discussions with a landlord where an existing newsagent may be forced out.  This is against the principles of our organisation.  Our interest is in new opportunities and in building healthier existing newsagencies.

To be courted by landlords is both welcome and challenging.  Thanks to a dynamic and dedicated team on the ground and in our back office we are able continue to build the premier newsagency brand in Australia.

Networking is the key

Networking among like-minded proactive newsagents has been key to the success of newsXpress since the group began seven years ago.  Every three months, the group hosts member meetings in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.  At these meetings, members learn about new products and strategies, discuss business development initiatives and network with colleagues.

Politics and many day to day issues are left at the door as we work proactively as a group on improving our businesses and the newsXpress network more widely.  The meetings are lively and exciting.  They are a great way for anyone considering joining a marketing group to assess newsXpress and see our operation first-hand.

Our next Brisbane member meeting is on November 11, Sydney on November 13 and Perth on November 18.  If you are contemplating joining a newsagency marketing group and want to find out more about newsXpress, consider coming along to one of these meetings and see our team in action for yourself.

Hot ink offers for Halloween and beyond

hink_hal.JPGThe latest newsXpress Hot Ink campaign which started last week has a Halloween theme. Beyond being a bit of fun, we show we are serious about driving traffic to our stores and competing on price. Integrating simultaneous campaigns like this is common among national retailers but rare in newsagencies. newsXpress felt ready to take this step given the maturity and success of our Hot Ink campaigns.

The two page flyer is being delivered to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses around participating stores as part of our co-ordinated marketing campaign. The offer is even more timely than usual given the talk in the press on economic matters. People looking to save money know they can shop at newsXpress newsagencies for quality branded ink and toner and trust that our prices are excellent.

Many newsXpress members entered the ink and toner space only after being guided by newsXpress. Our training, support, supplier relationships and national marketing has combined to deliver excellent sales results. While newsXpress members are thrilled at winning new business from existing customers, they are even more thrilled at seeing new customers come through the door.

As the only newsagent group marketing ink and toner on TV, newsXpress members are well positioned to leverage this high growth category even further in the coming months.

If you want innovative marketing strategies for your newsagency, contact newsXpress.

Landmines in franchise agreements

We have been writing a bit here lately about newsagent franchise agreements and the need to read the fine print very carefully. This is important and timely advice given the pitch being made by a number of groups to newsagents.

Besides the challenges of being locked in for a five year term, newsagents need to be sure to check what happens if you try and sell your business. One agreement we have seen requires the newsagent having to offer the business to the franchise group once they have an offer from another party. A prospective purchaser is likely to baulk at this and not even undertake due diligence if they risk having their offer beaten by the franchise group.

If you are considering signing a franchise agreement, get independent legal advice from someone who understands such agreements. A bit of money spent in advance could save you from costs later if you want to exit the group.

Promoting calendars and diaries

nx_cal.JPGnewsXpress has produced a brochure promoting calendars and diaries for our members. This handy brochure promotes range – critical in the specialist calendar marketplace. The brochure is another of the resources our merchandise and marketing teams creates for members to use in-store and externally to drive traffic and achieve more profitable baskets.

Calendars have been a focus of newsXpress since the group started seven years ago. Our calendar strategy is more developed than any other newsagency marketing group from what we can see. Our members make better margins and have access to category specialists who help drive better margin and guide ranging decisions. The bottom line is, well, the bottom line. Calendars can be very lucrative for newsagents who embrace the newsXpress / calendarXpress strategies wholeheartedly.

The brochure features respected brands such as Hallmark, Collins Debden, Bartel and Browntrout to name a few.

Card workshop for Sydney

newsXpress is hosting a greeting card workshop in Sydney following its member’s meeting on November 13.  This is a great opportunity for newsagents who want to grow their greeting card sales.  Developed exclusively for newsXpress by Ron Thorpe, this workshop is packed with strategies you can use right away without spending more money.  Based on years of experience and a good knowledge of strategies which are successful here in Australia and overseas, attendees are bound to leave ready to make some good moves in the card space.

newsXpress is a full service marketing group and this workshop is an excellent example of the company reinvesting in the newsagency channel to drive better business outcomes for newsagents.

Back to school popular

nxbts.jpgThe Back To School offer put together by the newsXpress merchandise department has surpassed all sales expectations. Our members have embraced the offer because of the quality brand name product, excellent prices and other aspects of our strategy which we are not about to share in this public place.

What is most pleasing is the uptake from newsXpress members who would not usually make a big Back To School commitment for local reasons. They have embraced our offer because we have pitched a range of product which is relevant to their circumstances.

The newsXpress Back To School range and the supporting national marketing and advertising campaigns will drive new customers to our shops and improve sales efficiency from existing customers. This is a key part of the newsXpress mission for its members.

Greeting card workshop adds value

nx_qldcards.JPGSome of our Queensland newsXpress members participated in the Ron Thorpe led greeting card workshop yesterday – some traveling from as far north as Cairns for the half day workshop.

Training opportunities such as this are an important part of the newsXpress experience. Helping newsagents work on their businesses, developing a better shop layout, improving processes and driving better business decisions are key objectives we pitch when newsagents consider joining with us.

Newsagents can influence the success of the card department much more than they think possible and through this workshop and thanks to the experience of Ron Thorpe we are able to help our members achieve this.

newsXpress provides a host of training opportunities for newsagents and staff members. This commitment to continuous improvement is essential is a competitive retail environment.

Exclusive Christmas offers

newsXpress has sourced a range of exclusive gift related offers for Christmas as part of our strategy of growing sales which fit nicely with traditional newsagent shopping.  In addition to excellent trading terms, newsXpress members are being provided high quality professional marketing collateral to enable promotion of the gift items in-store.

This strategy follows the tremendous success of our Father’s Day gift strategy, the first such season focused multi-product gift offer.

Gifts are considered too difficult by many newsagents.  At newsXpress we have experts in our merchandise team who guide our buying to make it easier for our members to play in this space.  These same in-house merchandise resources are being used by members who go beyond our offers and expand aggressively into gifts.  Our specialist supplier relationships unlock some excellent products which would otherwise be difficult to source.

Core to our gift strategy is our focus on leveraging excellent existing newsagent traffic into these new product categories.

Developing the import strategy

ben_hk.JPGBen Kay, our National Merchandise Manager has been attending a major trade show in Hong Kong this week searching out new possible products for newsXpress members. Our interest in products from China and other Asian countries is not in cheap items others pursue but rather in product which we would be proud to bring to newsXpress shelves and which compliments our existing focus.

Having seen product from 4,000 suppliers across seven massive exhibition halls, Ben has developed a shortlist of suppliers which could fit with our plans for 2009 and supplement important existing supplier relationships. A due diligence process will follow to ensure that the products under consideration meet criteria established by our merchandise team.

We have seen individual newsagents and other groups head down the importing road and not deliver a point of difference or enhance the brand experience. Our mission is to carefully respect these two points in developing our importing strategy.

Ben hopes to be in a position to outline the buying opportunity in one new product category to newsXpress members in several weeks.

Making Money from Greeting Cards

making-money-from-greeting-cards-003.jpgIn another first for the newsagency channel, newsXpress hosted the first of a series of Greeting Card training workshops yesterday in Melbourne. The Making Money from Greeting Cards workshop was run by Ron Thorpe, one of the most experienced greeting card professionals in Australia. This workshop now moves to Brisbane later this week.

Packed with practical advice, this session provided attendees with a clear action-plan for greeting cards in their newsagencies. Part of this action-plan was developed through two interactive sessions with newsagents sharing ideas with others.

Too often, newsagents leave greeting cards to be managed by their card company. Over the course of half a day, Ron shared practical strategies which newsXpress members can use to work this category to greater commercial advantage. His advice was drawn from decades of experience with Hallmark and a thorough knowledge of worldwide best practice in greeting card retail.

newsXpress has developed this workshop as another way the group helps members achieve a better return from their businesses and thereby improve the sale value when it comes time to exit from the business.

newsXpress newsagents can expect to achieve more from the Greeting Card category than an average newsagency. This is, in part, thanks to having Ron Thorpe on our team and delivering training like the workshop yesterday.

The challenge of selling the newsagency

newsXpress backs itself with a membership structure which enables members to leave the group at thirty days notice.  There is no time this is more important than if your newsagency is for sale.  Prospective purchasers look at a business from the perspective of what they can achieve with it.  Sometimes this will include re-branding to mark a departure from previous ownership.

A prospective purchaser cannot re-brand if the franchise agreement a vendor has signed with a marketing group does not permit a fair and reasonable exit strategy.

Another risk with franchise agreements can be the requirement to give the franchisor first right of refusal.  This means that a newsagent may have a signed buyer but cannot proceed until the franchisor decides if they are going to purchase the business.  Buyers will be wary of making an offer in this situation.

At newsXpress we believe in a simple structure which sees members stay in our group because they want to and not because of an onerous contract.  We believe in a structure which does not get in the way of the sale of the newsagency.

The business development difference

One of the differentiating services newsXpress provides its members is on the ground visits from our Business Development team.  Our experts are armed with years of practical newsagency experience and an exclusive to newsXpress toolkit of marketing and management strategies which offer our members help in many areas of their businesses.

On the phone and face to face our Business Development Managers play a key role in helping newsXpress members achieve greater year on year success than other newsagents.  This success was recently reported by magazine publishers and greeting card companies at our National Conference – data showing that in a same store basis, year on year, newsXpress members achieved growth ahead of any other group in the channel.

Our Business Development Managers guide, drive and encourage our members and it is through this regular contact that together we are able to achieve more.  They are unique in the newsagency channel and exclusive to newsXpress.

Connecting with the Spring Racing Carnival

src_kit.JPGSeasons like the Spring Racing Carnival present an excellent opportunity for newsagents to engage in retail theatre.  newsXpress supports these seasons through visual merchandising packs which supplement local creativity around the opportunity.

Too often others neglect opportunities like the Spring Racing Carnival and then complain later about the leakage of consumers from their business to other retail channels.  In today’s market, more than ever before, we need to be on top of every opportunity.  Certainly as the premier marketing group for newsagents that is the case for newsXpress.  Our members can choose whether to engage or not – our job is to put the opportunity on the table and to back this with appropriate collateral.

Newsagents are a good fit for promoting the Spring Racing Carnival because newspaper sales are up, racing magazine sales are up, party supplies are up and, most important of all, it’s fun! 

Supporting breast cancer research

newsXpress Kin Kora are right behind the newsXpress/Pentel exclusive Pink Roller Boys. Sponsoring Breast Cancer Research the always popular Pentel Roller Boys have been given Sarah’s famed merchandising treatment as these very striking merchandise units show.

The benefit of a mobile unit such as this is seen by the positioning just near the Darrell Lea Stand. The stand can be moved to the lotto counter, news stand or magazine rack to capitalise on increased traffic flow and encourage bigger basket size as well as bringing more recognition to this most worthy of charities.



Statement about the role of CEO

Following the resignation of Mark Nagy, the two Directors of newsXpress, Graham Randall and Mark Fletcher, have taken a more active role in the business in a team oversight capacity.  This is providing newsXpress with time to consider the skills which will best suit the needs of newsXpress and its members in the next phase of its expansion.  It is part of the plan Mark Nagy put to the Board when he approached them about his future plans.

We have an experienced and mature team at newsXpress from the back office to our on the road team to our marketing and merchandise teams.  As professional mature business people working to a common mission and with a structure which has been well established over the last three years, we are continuing to enjoy good membership growth and good growth within existing member businesses.

We blog about this today because one group, with a vested interest, is spreading a different story.

The best way to see how newsXpress is operating is to come to one of our member meetings.  Our next round will be in the second week of November.  Non members will be most welcome to experience the newsXpress culture and deliverables first-hand.  We will post details here next week.

newsXpress is confident of the quality of its offer to newsagents.  This is why the group does not lock newsagents into five year contracts which can also make selling the business a challenge.

Next round of member meetings planned

newsXpress has set its final round of member meetings for 2008.  Following today’s Victoria member meeting, Graham Randall, Mark Fletcher, Ben Kay and local newsXpress team members will host member meetings in Brisbane (Nov. 11), Sydney (Nov. 13) and Perth (Nov. 18).  These member meetings will recap some content from our National Conference, preview Christmas 2008 and Back To School, discuss several new supplier offers and provide training is some exclusive newsXpress intellectual property which we know will drive good business outcomes.

Our member meetings are open to newsXpress members as well as to newsagents seriously considering joining the growing newsXpress community.  They are a great way to assess the value of newsXpress to a business and to experience the transparency of the group first-hand.

Promoting Halloween outside your shop

newsXpress Silver Sands have fully embraced Halloween and have looked at innovative methods to draw more foot traffic. The newspaper advertisement below invites a new (and very strong minded – just ask the parents!) generation of shoppersby offering a FREE face painting service.

Nothing says Halloween more than a good costume and Phil Foo and his team are doing what they can to spread the word. They have also invested in a small doscument about the origins of Halloween and it’s Australian application to educate their customers who may have had anti-American perceptions.


newsXpress on Facebook

newsXpress has established a page on Facebook, the social networking site being used by close to 100 million people worldwide.  The newsXpress page will be used as a meeting place for newsXpress members and others connected with the group – suppliers, employees of members and former employees of members.

newsXpress will use the Facebook page in a way which is in keeping with the social context of Facebook – to connect people through the common link of an interest in newsXpress.

As the first newsagency marketing group in Australia to use Facebook, newsXpress is demonstrating an understanding of the importance of social media and the value of this medium for facilitating new conversations.

Anyone is welcome to become a fan of newsXpress on Facebook – search for newsXpress, once you are at the page click on become a fan.  fans are kept up to date with newsXpress news through Facebook.

Halloween’s a hit at newsXpress Riverlink

newsXpress Riverlink greatly enjoyed the Halloween promotion last year, the interaction with their local community, the re-telling of the fun Halloween story, the introduction to several new suppliers and above all else the in-store fun!

This year Belinda and her team have ordered three times the quantiy of merchandise and created a full front window display. By supporting and growing newsXpress exclusive promotions members are reaping the on-going benefits.