By Mario Toneguzzi and Julene Chung
Like the retail industry, the magazine sector has changed dramatically in the last 10 years. But one thing that hasn’t changed is the special feeling consumers get when browsing magazine newsstands in store.
A recent study by Magazines Canada and BrandSpark found that print magazines still play an important role in the retail experience. As consumers browse attractive magazine covers and discover evergreen content in special issues, they are enticed to make impulse purchases that add to retail revenue.
Retailers that stock specialty or niche magazines can use visible magazine displays to attract traffic into the store and get shoppers browsing. A curated selection of niche magazines can also add to a store’s aesthetic appeal.
In addition to these benefits for retailers, the study also found that survey respondents whose shopping trip included a magazine purchase reported greater satisfaction with their shopping experience.
According to Chris Chambers, Retail Accounts Manager for Magazines Canada, it’s not just traditional book and magazine stores that can benefit—non-traditional magazine retailers are also seeing the results of selling magazines. Consumers enjoy going to specific retailers for magazines because of the selection they’ll find.
“Supermarkets and drugstores might carry the top 50, the top 75 titles, but rarely do you see a nice big rack there like a good bookstore or a magazine store can provide,” he said. “That’s their advantage in the broad range that they can carry.”
Canadians choose Canadian magazines
Although retailers typically carry a relatively small selection of Canadian magazines, shoppers demonstrate a strong appetite for Canadian content.
That’s why Magazines Canada distributes Canadian magazines directly to stores. Magazines Canada is the country’s only direct-to-retail newsstand distributor, and the only distributor dedicated exclusively to Canadian magazines.
“We actually distribute about 150–160 titles into book and magazine stores that we have accounts with across the country,” said Chambers. “I will formulate a plan with a new publisher or modify a distribution plan with an existing publisher and figure out how to get copies into stores.”
Through a cross-country network of specialty, independent and chain retailers, Magazines Canada distributes Canadian magazines to about 150 retailers with a further 120 stores, including Chapters Indigo, through wholesalers partnerships.
Setting up an account to sell Canadian magazines through Magazines Canada’s distribution program requires very little financial commitment. All magazines distributed through the program are returnable for full credit if the magazines don’t sell through.
Magazine displays at grocery check-outs have been the standard for years. But as the retail experience shifts to online and mobile shopping, Magazines Canada’s next retail study will examine the feasibility of incorporating magazines into click-and-collect grocery sales.
“We are doing more research around that now that people are ordering their groceries in a click-and-collect world. We’re just trying to figure out how viable or useful it might be to have some magazines, or how even possible it would be, to have them available where they’re collecting their groceries,” said Chambers.
He said there is also a trend where magazine publishers are moving into the retail space and opening their own stores.
“Of course if you have a retail space, you can sell your magazine. [But] you can sell other well chosen products,” added Chambers. “It’s kind of exciting to see this happening. They see a need. They are coming at it from basically a publishing background and they’re going for it.”
This article was written in collaboration with Magazines Canada to share the results of The Role of Magazines at Retail study.
Magazines Canada is a national not-for-profit organization that represents the majority of Canadian-owned magazines. Magazine Canada members publish a wide variety of print and digital publications which include consumer, cultural, specialty, professional and business-to-business magazines. Learn more about the organization at magazinescanada.ca