BrandSpark has recently embarked on a “Click & Collect Study for Magazine Purchase at Retail” with support from Magazines Canada.

Click and collect is growing in importance for retailers and the magazine industry is also excited about its potential. This study is poised to uncover shopper appetite.

This is an exciting opportunity for the Magazine Industry as a whole and for Retailers to realize increases in magazine sales but also for increased sales of other products advertised within magazines and sold within their retail locations.

The goal of the study and key elements are as follows and will entail interviews with both Magazine Retailers & Consumers to gain the best insights.

Key Study Objectives

Assess potential demand for magazines sold through online channels:

  • Identify the potential online magazine buyers out there.
    • The types of titles they would be interested in purchasing.
    • Their shopping process.
    • How does the subset of online shoppers of the retailer relate to magazines vs the in-store shopper?
  • Build a model that will enable Magazines Canada to showcase to current retailers that an e-commerce sales strategy has benefits beyond the category
  • Identify the most promising consumer segments to target with this new offering (highest probability of taking action)
  • Identify which retailers are most likely to experience growth from this strategy
  • What types of shopping trips include magazine purchases and how would these shopping occasions translate online?
  • Explore other retail channels that could sell magazines online per examples below:
    • Does Sephora sell beauty magazines? Do they control/curate their own content?
    • Do Health & Wellness retailers (ex. sell magazines?
    • Is there a potential in partnering with Meal Kit services (e. Uber Eats, Foodora)
  • How does the current online space look for magazines?
    • There is no dedicated online sales space for magazines on any of the online platforms.
    • There are no current models for online sales of magazines, no best practices, nor anything that will help replicate the same results as in mass/grocery stores.
    • Niche/special interest magazines have their own dedicated online spaces, but in a limited fashion (ex. ,
  • What are the potential benefits of selling magazines online?
    • Online shoppers are not as pressed for time. They can spend more time browsing and are willing to spend a bit more than they would in-store.
    • It is easier to target online shoppers with suggestions.
    • Magazines could be an attractive “add-on” item, contributing to a larger basket size.
    • Magazines sales efficiency online is likely to surpass that in-store, due to the ability to target shoppers based on specific interest, previous purchases, and other targeting tools available in e-commerce.
    • Offering magazines online will lead to increased basket size, and will potentially drive trips and increased retailer selection.
  • Does the online platform create any other unique opportunities for magazines that are not feasible in-store?
    • Product discovery through the magazines with a link back to the retailer’s website with special coupons/discounts (ex. Purchase a magazine and get X% off of a product).
    • Being able to promote a single issue to drive sales for that issue.
    • Themed issues as a strategy to co-promote sales for specific categories.
    • Unlocking special digital offers for other digital media available from that retailer.

This study could provide significant findings for the industry. We applaud the efforts that BrandSpark and Magazines Canada have put into getting it off the ground.


Speaking to 1500 Loblaws Delegates about Magazines and Books

I recently returned from a Loblaws trade show.   This show piggybacks on Loblaws National Kick-Off meetings and is held every 2 years.  The show moves around to various locations in Canada and this year was held in Halifax on January 29th and 30th.    It is a very busy 2 days where we get to visit with 1500 Head Office Employees, Store Managers, Specialists, and District Managers.  We collect 3000 copies of our top-selling magazines, to give away, to the people who visit our booth!  This makes our booth a very popular stop!

We also promote new books that are being released. This year we were promoting the prequel to the Hunger Games that is releasing in May 2020.  It is called The Ballad of the Songbirds and Snakes and there will be lots of excitement surrounding it.

The trade show is a fantastic opportunity to showcase our product and speak to the profitability of the reading category.   It is so important to discuss the attributes of the category.  This show gives us an opportunity to showcase facts that the staff might not be aware of and put a positive spin on reading!  It also gives us an opportunity to recap any recent changes (new fixtures, locations, etc.) and how those changes have impacted our sales.   One of the items we spoke about was a U Scan fixture that we added in RCSS banner stores during 2019.  We showcased the success of this additional fixture with the hope of adding it to more banners.

In addition to the reading category, we were also discussing the various other categories TNG is involved in with Loblaws banner stores.   Did you know that TNG delivers the majority of craft beer to Loblaws stores?  In late 2018 we also launched a program, with Soda Stream, which has been a huge success! TNG handles all of the logistics for this product and is highly involved with the head office team in regards to planning and promotion.   We also managed the initial set up and continued merchandising of the new party sections at Loblaws stores.   TNG now merchandises these sections weekly when we visit to complete our magazine and book merchandising.

Overall the show is a very busy few days but I believe it gives us a good opportunity to showcase our products and services to the key people at Loblaws Co.

When Magazines Resonate, They Sell

We the North Indeed! It’s been proven again and again that when a topic resonates with consumers, they will pick up the magazine that covers it.

Raptors commemorative magazines

The rousing success of the basketball title win by the Raptors and the Black Friday 2019 event in Costco Canada shows what can be done when great planning and execution is married to great products.

Magazine titles prominently displayed on racking that held plenty of copies

Costco featured the commemorative win titles prominently in stores. 100% compliance was nailed nationally and the results are just phenomenal.  Single stores sold over 1000 copies. One store even sold 1400 units. And, to think this was in a single chain.

People wanted to hold that commemorative issue in their hands and relive the experience through the images and articles in their chosen magazine. We see this every time a title or a topic resonates.

Costco had sales of $500, 000 for these titles alone. Collectively,  across the ‘north’, the issue brought the industry millions of dollars.
Black Friday event at Costco

Black Friday was another well-executed event, where in this case, a deep discount drove magazine sales.  This 5-day, 40% off event also had 100% compliance at the store level. Rack signage and an e-blast offer to all members increased awareness at the stores.

Shoppers responded positively driving sales, and in the case of 15 stores, sales were doubled over the previous year! Total unit sales were up 34% and dollar sales were up 51% for this period.

This is an exceptional result and kudos goes out to Costco, CMMI and their agency partners for a wonderful retail success story.

The 2018 Box Score for Magazines is Here!

Every year, it is with bated breath that we await the latest box score report, letting us know who is up, and what magazines are really making it happen at retail. Click here for the 2018 report.

Welcome to the Industry Action Group Blog Site

Magazines, like people, are unique. They have soul. Curated content brought to life by a Publisher’s vision and an Editor’s hand. They inform, entertain, engage, indulge, educate and inspire. They can be made into a statement of ‘who you are’ as you travel on the subway, or can be something to snuggle up to, akin to an old friend, in the privacy of home. Perfect to enjoy on a fall day and pairs equally well with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine.

In store, they offer a few minutes of respite from the grind of shopping. Their availability brings shoppers comfort. Popped into that basket, they increase the ring at the cash. They inspire additional store purchases too! They attract that shopper that retailers want.

This site highlights the soul of magazines. It highlights the love shoppers still have for theirs. It discusses how retail and magazines can play a role, together in the shopper’s modern world.