Q: What impact is the cost-of-living crisis having on consumer behaviour?
A:Consumers are being very considered about where they choose to spend any disposable income they have and are really seeking value. In a bid to stretch their pennies, many are shopping in a wider repertoire of retailers, rather than completing their shop in just one store.
Our customers remain loyal to their preferred brands, but frequency of purchase is falling as you might expect.
It is important to remember that value for the consumer does not just mean a price reduction. It’s about the quality of what they are receiving in return for that money and that perceived value to them – so number of pages, quality, and relevance of the content all feed into that value perception. We encourage our publisher partners to consider what a “fair exchange of value” means to the customer when we review our cover-prices. When we look at the areas of the magazine market that are doing well, there is also growth in higher priced sectors too.
Q: With increased pressure on shelf-space, what are the choices publishers face?
A:I think that the most important aspect is being more targeted. Ensuring the stores that you are supplying are profitable, are the right stores for your consumer, and are where they are going to be shopping. There are some really significant opportunities out there, but it relies on data analysis to identify the stores that match your product, rather than targeting stores based on size, or the name over the door. The high competition for each slot on range means that brand extensions or bumper packs need to demonstrate how they are going to increase the basket spend of the consumer or tempt a different customer to buy to justify their space in the range.
Q: What more can publishers do to simplify the magazine category?
A:Be clear on who your product is aimed at, where it sits against other products and make sure it has a clear USP to its competitors. Treat each retailer individually when considering whether their shopper matches your magazine audience.
When we promote at retail, publishers should have a clear idea of the benefit for customers and offer real value. We find that fewer, meaningful promotions have a greater impact on sales than a high frequency, lower value approach to driving sales.
Q: What advice can you give on the best way to approach retail buyers?
A:Be clear on your objectives for the meeting and put yourself in the buyer’s shoes to make sure what you are presenting has a clear benefit for them. Consider the impact on the whole category rather than just the impact on your brand; retailers want to see incremental revenue rather than sales moving from title to title.
Retailers want to see innovation and new ideas so don’t be afraid to discuss ideas that may be in their infancy; their feedback and advice could help develop it into a viable option.
Q: How important is the sustainability of the magazine category to retailers?
A:This is becoming increasingly more important every year. Each retailer has sustainability targets, and most have a desire to reduce or eliminate plastic and understand the carbon footprint of the supply chains they work with. Some retailers have banned single use plastic covermounts, and others are bringing in restrictions on the plastic used in bagging, encouraging the use of paper as a more sustainable alternative. There is increased scrutiny of the magazines and their sustainability credentials, and this is having an impact on range decisions.
Magazine buyers want to work with us to help the category succeed and maximise profitability, whilst adhering to their companywide sustainability targets.
Q: What can publishers and retailers do to improve the performance of the category?
A:Look for new and emerging trends amongst consumers.
Capitalise on bookazines, partworks and collectables that are adding significant additional revenue to the category and are bringing in different consumers.
From the retailer side, ensure that ranges have broad appeal, showcase the exciting variety of magazines out there, and not just focus on mass market women, children’s titles, and puzzles. Review the density of the floor space available to ensure we are maximising the product that is on sale.
Consider the magazine readers of the future, and how we capture those consumers who were avid magazine readers as a child, but dropped out of the category as they reached adulthood, and how we can draw them back.
Q: What’s in the pipeline from Marketforce?
A:Further development of APEX, our supply management system following on from the success of the roll out.
Targeted, analytical and category focused approach to ranging and display, working much more closely with retailers to maximise the performance of the category.
We are also working much more closely with publisher partners on all areas of their business, not just newsstand, and there are some exciting opportunities ahead.
With more than 30 years of experience, Marketforce leads the way in global sales, marketing and distribution for a wide range of publishing and media businesses. Owned by Future PLC, we are backed by one of Europe’s largest and fastest-growing media companies.
We are the #1 independent publisher newsstand distributor. Distribution is our core service, but our focus is also on helping publishers build their businesses through adding value. We aid product development, help determine optimal pricing and deliver customer marketing for brands that grows sales.
If you would like to hear why more publishers are choosing Marketforce, call us for a chat about getting the distribution you need.
Tel: 0330 390 6464