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Cashless retailers penalise the poor


Although this issue has not hit Australia yet, overseas with so many retailers going cashless that politicians are concerned that very poor people with problems of electronic banking are having problems shopping.

Some shops now in the US will accept cash but do not give change.

What is happening is that overseas retailers are going cashless. This is partly as its faster as its just a swipe, its cheaper as the cost of cash as handling costs of cash is estimated at a few percent which is more than the fees for electronic cash and more secure as cash is always a security problem. 

China is now nearly all cashless, while the US is in retail about 70% electronic, and Australia is 63%.

At the current trend, cash will vanish in Australia in 2026. I expect long before that almost all our clients will stop accepting cash.


While they don't have a screen and they are not much more than a fit bit just now, smart rings are the new buzz. Watches can be annoying to wear, especially if you have to do  a lot of typing to do. It won't be long now before all you will need to do to pay for things is flash your pinkie like a wonder twin.  These rings without a screen being more a simple deice than a watch will be cheaper and probably will be an alternative for a cheaper option. 

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Fairfax commission rates for December 2018


This is a composite I created for the current margins.


Margin analysis Fairfax Dec2018
Margin analysis for Fairfax Dec 2018

For those people that do deliveries, they are up and so by extension are subagents.

Interestingly for those that are classed as retailers, the margins are continuing down. I would be surprised if this downward trend does not continue. If you think about it from Fairfax view why should these people get more then subagents who are now at 9.6%?

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AMAZON back flips, it is reopening its American site to Aussie



Amazon Australia as I expected has not done well, the problem is not that our retailers are inefficient or not tech-savvy but our overpriced, undependable and slow delivery services which are holding us back in e-commerce plus our small comparative market. 

So now Amazon has done a backflip and will sell Aussies Amazon stocked and sold products from the US. I expect soon that the 3rd party sellers on Amazon will be released soon.

What happens with the costs of delivery to the Australian consumer from Amazon overseas sites will be interesting. Will they keep the Prime subs which allowed free postage over $49 from the US store?

For Australian retailers, the opening of the Amazon sites overseas is going to increase competition, and the two immediate issues are they need to look at their e-commerce and their delivery options.

Where we are unique in our market space is that our point of sale software is a unified commerce solution which brings together both of these issues into one platform in your POS system. Pieced together systems, that our competitors offer cost more money and lead to problems as different systems both in use, training and the need to talk to each other. Plus there is no long-term as who knows what the individual and separate parts are going.

Only our unified system gives you long-term as well as a day-to-day business solution. Click here for more details






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Retail apocalypse in Australia?


The retail apocalypse in the US is the closing of a large number of brick-and-mortar retail stores and shopping malls from 2010. Here are some haunting photos of abandoned shopping malls across America


The question being raised in Australia now is going to happen here too? It is difficult to say, but so far almost everyone agrees that it has not happened yet. 

I went to the Australian Bureau of Statistics and went to their page here on retail.

 Then selected chart number 8501011

Then using excel made a graph of yearly sales for every sector since 1982 to 2018.

Australian retail sales 2018

As you can see overall, it does look good. Overall retail sales and retail property overall in Australia have been healthy. Yes, there have been terrific changes in the retail landscape, for example, video rentals, books and newspaper sales are all down, but others such as food and footwear are up. This up and down by different sectors in retail has been going on since retail began.

Now some of the sectors in our marketplace look good.

ABS Pharmaceutical, cosmetic and toiletry goods retailing


However when you look at the one that seems to be now creating the most concern in our market space - newsagencies.

Newsagency and books 2018

It does not look so good, and I have been to many discussions and meeting about this sector's performance that is concerning many of its suppliers, as you can see its high water mark was about 2010. 

However, there are several points to keep in mind. The first point is that many shops move across sectors. A shop that is doing poorly in newspapers can switch to other fields e.g. I have had clients that have turned their shop into a cafe, gone into art supplies, become gift shops and toy stores. Soon it is no longer a newsagency but something else. 

The problem is that most suppliers cannot move so quickly. A newsagent once he moves partly to becoming a cafe, soon loses interest in magazines (profit margin 25%) because they have more valuable stuff to sell like cake and coffee (profit margin 55%). The magazine company soon gets very upset.

The other issue here is that just because a sector does poorly does not mean that an individual shop in that sector does poorly. I have a client that is bookshop nearby a large bookshop closed down, and their sales went up dramatically as many of the customers of the large bookshop came to them.  

Which is moving to an interesting point that often what we see in a sector as the sector drops the players inside that sector do better! 

For example in 2013/4 according to IBIS, 2500 newsagencies did about $1.9 billion in turnover about $760,000 each, in 2017/8 1960 newsagencies did about $2 billion in turnover about $1,020,408 each in turnover. Probably what happened is as the newsagencies consolidated, they kept enough of the clients, so individually they gained and then sold these customers other products to them.


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Lottoland a lot of correspondence coming through



I got a lot of correspondence about it. Interesting they are all coming through attached with confidentiality clauses so I cannot talk about it. Why should these people only want to be talking in secret?

The point that seems to be concerning people, in particular, was my quote from NANA that

“Throughout the campaign orchestrated and funded by Tatts Group Lotteries, a campaign on which they have spent more than $5m, they portrayed the resistance they have created as being initiated and managed on a grass roots level by newsagents and other lotteries outlets. Make no mistake, the campaign was and is funded and orchestrated by Tatts Group Lotteries. Some newsagent and lotteries associations have tied themselves to the campaign and appear to act as mouthpieces for Tatts Group Lotteries.”

Actually, the figure of $5 million is, of course, a gross understatement, the $5 million figure is for last year, this year I am sure that it will be much more than that.


The gaming industry has been following the news closely, here are some links.

IGaming Business

Focus Gaming News


One point please consider, whether the legislation through or not, lotto agents are on their own the day after.


PLASTIC BAGS out Coles and Woolie



With the recent announcement by Coles and Woolies that they are phasing out plastic bags, many of my clients could see this as an ideal time to access what they are going to do about their packaging too.

On one hand, by having bags it certainly encourages people to buy more, many people appreciate these bags. The other problem is that if they bring in their own bags, they are limited to how big their bags are. So I have had clients after getting rid of bags brought them back in the shop.

On the other hand, many in the public do not like it and in places like Canberra, they have already implemented bans, plus it costs. An article on the ABC that estimated the cost savings to Australian supermarkets of plastic bags was $171 million a year?

Here is an idea you may want to chew on, free bags if the customer purchases over a certain amount. It may encourage them to buy more. Easy to implement such a change in our point of sale system.

Anyway now is a good time for many of you to make a decision.

Smart Card VIP systems



If you’re still manually controling your loyalty program, you are wasting your time and resources.

Consider replace it with our point of sale which is available free to our users. All customers have to do is display their VIP card, if they do not have their VIP card all they need to do is give you their name, phone number or email address and your system can track their purchases and issue them their rewards.

You will be surprised who uses them.







Security basics: Is your point-of-sale being used as a seedbox?


As from today, several well known pirate sites - The Pirate Bay, Torrentz, TorrentHound, IsoHunt and SolarMovies are being blocked in Australia.



Currently it is laughably easy to bypass these blocks as the ISPs are only doing the minimum but its early days.

What I have noticed is that these blocks, do not seem to be enforced on many business accounts. Which means that many people have discovered that using their business Internet, they have a free seedbox. All they need is a smartphone which most people have, the WIFI codes that most employees are given and a free torrent app.

This causes, however, several problems for the business.

1) Much of the bandwidth of their Internet is being used by these programs, and their Internet runs slow.

2) Then their plan limits are exceeded so they get extra charges or get put on slow.

3) And the big one, is they could get involved in a major legal problem.

The quickest way to see if your pos system is being used as a seedbox, which should catch most of them is to go to this site here.

If you come up, then I suggest you investigate. About 4% of my clients are finding something.

I find it very good, using it we caught an accountant who was doing a job here on behalf of one of our clients, downloading torrents from her laptop while she was working here.



New Queensland Small Business Digital Grants Program: Are You Eligible?



A few of my clients today contacted me very excited over some fantastic news that the Queensland Government has offered to assist small to medium-size business with up to a $10,000 grant to them for $10,000, to assist them in their digital services needs. That was where we were to come it since our integrated point of sale with its digital marketing website and social media services seems to fit the guidelines for this grant, which then would allow them to take their online marketing efforts to the next level. As this grant can include in part their own labour charges and is EX GST with an expenditure of $8,000 they could get a $22,000 grant for a website. I said it sounds too good to be genuine and I told them you are probably listening too much to a piper. Still, I immediately took it up with our legal R&D; expert. The offer is true.

The big problem I see is in the fine print which states that approximately 200 applications will be approved each year, distributed over the three rounds. That means out of this roundabout 66 applications will be accepted. I have no idea how many intend to apply, but I am certain the number applying is going to be well over 66, and I am confident that many of those applications will be very strong.

The other issue I did not like is that the offer is so broad that many business proposals could apply, you can use the money on online marketing audit, plan and implementation. Search Engine Optimisation, Pay Per Click Advertising (Google AdWords in Search Advertising, Display Advertising YouTube Advertising or Shop Advertising), Social media management and marketing plans, optimised landing pages, creating mobile-specific pages, content creation and infographics, implementing an online payment system for your website and more. That is a very broad range of products nor is it really a lot of money for some of these activities, SEO alone costs about a $1,000 to $2,000 a month and rarely works in my experience. Google AdWords can be about the same.

The rest does not appear to be unreasonably hard to achieve.

Your business must have fewer than 20 employees now.
The company must have an Australian Business Number (ABN) and be registered for GST;
The business operations must have a strong Queensland connection.

Still I do feel that for many, it can be a very good offer, we certainly I think could help you make a strong case that would fulfil the criteria and if anyone of our clients in Queensland has an interest in having a shot at it, I am also sure we could together create a truly strong application.

However, if you do want to proceed, we must move now as your application must be in by 9 December 2016.




In relation to the problems that occured recently with their stock files and the confusion that it generated with our clients, on behalf of our clients we complained both to VANA and Blueshyft.


VANA have assured us that they are aware of the problem and have addressed it.


Blueshyft replied too with the following email.

Hi Bernard,

Thank you for your email.

XChange-IT was supposed to have distributed the barcode files to the POS providers prior to our email to the network, which we believed they had, however we were informed after the email was sent that it actually hadn't happened yet.

We are immensely sorry for the miscommunication, and for the inconvenience caused.
Kind regards,

Zoe Archer
Operations Manager
1800 817 483
Pier 8/9
Level 4, 23 Hickson Rd.
Millers Point, NSW 2000


We hope it will not happen again.