radiotimes_billieThis week Guy Campos says:

‘Many retailers rely on wholesalers to provide them with the stock they need as they don’t have time to manage this complex category themselves.’

One of the problems with independent magazine retailing is ‘the push’. Retailers get sent the wrong magazines for their customer base. We have suffered from this in the passed, Black Hair comes to mind. So why does it happen?

I think that the core reason is that as Guy says, magazines are a complex category. Retailers can not just allow their supplying wholesaler to send in a range that is not controlled. Magazine distribution does need retailer input, we should not just sign the contract and expect the publishers, distributors and wholesalers to do the rest. We, as retailers need to be involved. We have to invest some time and effort into the process.

I may start from a position of 40 plus years of experience in and around magazine retailing, nearly 20 of them with WH Smiths, but that did not guarantee a smooth ride. I had to discover why decisions about my supply are made and by whom. I had to learn to talk to the people that can effect change, and that took time.

What I eventually did was to agree with Smiths News what the rules of supply should be. It helped that they are developing their Range Capacity strategy that allows them to know their customers better and then supply a range that fits the space available. They are still trialling it, but when it becomes available to their customer estate it will make a difference.

The key message that is coming out of the RN magazine availability campaign so far is that retailers have forgotten who owns their business and are abrogating range responsibility to the supply chain. Would they do this with cigarettes, confectionery, crisps or soft drinks?