Shops, cafés, bars and barbers can now make money from customers buying digital magazines and newspapers, following the launch of My Mags last week.

The service, created by Lucid Direct, allows customers to scan a code with their phone and select from hundreds of magazines and newspapers including Hello!, Chat, Country Life, Total Film and Auto Express. When a digital title is purchased, the participating site receives the same margins as on print copies.

One of the UK’s largest independent forecourt firms, Ascona Group, was the first to come onboard with the service, with material from Lucid Direct showing posters and other promotional material, including stickers and bollard covers popping up in store and at electric-vehicle charging points in a number of the chain’s UK forecourt sites.

One installation, seen by betterRetailing, adds the digital magazine purchasing option at newspaper display units in forecourts, while another showed signs at pub counters, and a third showed stickers on tables at cafés and eating areas at service stations.

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A presentation seen by betterRetailing claimed the scheme aims to “capitalise on customer dwell time” in locations with no – or very limited – access to newspapers and magazines.

The launch comes as forecourts continue to re-angle their offering to meet the needs of electric car owners facing waits of around an hour for a full battery charge.

Lucid chairperson Richard Lamb said My Mags would “complement rather than cannibalise” physical magazine sales, and would still provide opportunities for stores that already range physical magazines.

For instance, it would allow customers to purchase a digital version of a title not ranged, or not in stock in a store.

Lamb said: “By working with retailers with limited or no space to retail the category, publishers can extend their consumer reach and sales, and retailers can generate incremental revenues.”

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He added that more retailers were due to launch the service before the end of 2021, with a target of 30-40 stores live by 31 December. Other chains were set to add My Mags at the beginning of 2022, and the service is also available to independent shop owners.

“It can be bespoke to the shop. We can offer a full range of hundreds of titles or just a select few to complement the physical copies on the shelf,” said the chairperson. “We also have a retail subscription service now available to all independent stores that allows customers to redeem print magazine vouchers in participating stores for the first time.

“The digital magazines and the in-store subscriptions are about giving stores new ways to sell media.”

My Mags also offers monthly subscription packages starting at £20 per month, which allow hospitality venues and businesses with waiting areas to offer customers free access to newspapers and magazines.

Contact betterRetailing on 020 7689 3371 to receive more information on adding My Mags to your store