Home' The Channel Magazine : National Newsagent October 2012 Contents GREETINGS
Q: John Sands was voted Supplier of the Year by newsagents.
Were you surprised?
A: Actually we would have been surprised if we were not recognised.
If we have to wait for an annual award to find out if our partners
think we are doing a good job, something is terribly wrong. We are
focused on performance. By challenging our product and constantly
improving our service, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to be
recognised for it.
Q: What qualities has JS brought to the market to so please its
A: We bring to newsagency retailers the same passion and drive
we offer all our customers. Our team takes great pains to avoid
the industry rhetoric and truly deliver what we promise. We think
action speaks louder than words and we’re willing to be judged by
our performance. We actually do lead the market and we never take
our eye off that. While others are busy shouting their claim to this
title; we are asking our retail partners, (of whom newsagents remain
our largest) what they need and then delivering, and... we’ve been
recognised for it.
Q: What will your company be introducing to maintain popularity
A: Importantly, we are focused on business building and service; not
trying to be popular. If we succeed at being the best supplier in our
industry; performing consistently and at a high level we will maintain
our popularity. If we don’t, we won’t. In the end, our newsagency
customers are interested in one thing—successfully growing their
Q: You’ve been overseas... what trends have you observed?
A: The continued focus is on value as a driving force at retail and
let’s be clear, this is not about chasing the lowest price. That is an
unsustainable and unwinnable strategy. Consumers will always love
a bargain. However, what they are really insisting on now, is value at
every price point. Thinking that brand alone represents value is dead
and buried, even though we continue to hear that worn out refrain
too often in our industry. It must be reflected in your product and
service. Brands are only superior if they’re supported by value at
every price point and every consumer touch-point. Good examples
of value are Simply John Sands cards for $1; at the top end, Papyrus
cards at $15.95. Both of these brands are amongst our highest
performers and both represent extreme value for money.
Q: What is the future for greeting cards?
A: That question is being asked of most consumer product
categories at the moment. The answer will only be found in the
future. What I can share with you is with most of our retail partners
our share of the category is growing faster than the retail store’s
total performance. That means there are a growing number of
people buying our product than did in the past. This speaks to why
we are so successful gaining market share. Why you may ask?
Because when you keep your products fresh, offer value at every
level, from Papyrus at $15.95 to Simply John Sands $1 cards, and
keep the consumer surprised and delighted, the category does
well. If you think about it, these have always been key criteria for
successful retailing. They are not new concepts. But do I think
the category is challenged? Yes I do! Retailers of greeting cards
need strong, well-resourced partners that have the confidence to
continually invest in the category and with the retailer. The category
has a big future. Our research is telling us this. However, those who
choose partners persuaded by rhetoric rather than deliverables and
performance, and there are many of those, will loose and pay a big
Q: You have been critical of the newsagency channel in the past,
how do you see its future?
A: I’m critical of any retailer who fails to invest in the tools needed
to determine performance. I’m critical of any retailer who chooses
to ignore change rather than embrace it. I’m critical of an industry
that allows underperforming suppliers to have a voice that misleads
and causes long term damage to an important category, a category
I happen to be very passionate about. Thankfully, it is changing.
The marketing groups we have partnered are strengthening and
growing. They are becoming increasingly focused on POS data and
diversification. These are groups of likeminded newsagents working
hard and taking risks in redefining their industry. We will continue to
support them and share in their future success.
What qualities make a business stand out?
National Newsagent asked the Supplier of the
Year, John Sands. MD Ray Munday responded.
National Newsagent October 2012
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