Listen to any politician and they’ll show you how statistics can be used to support any argument. We’ve been experiencing that first hand this week in our efforts to help newsagents to understand sell through rates.
One of the magazine distributors in unhappy with our approach which, while technically incorrect, provided a more real life view of magazine category performance than what they wanted.
Magazine distributors want to group magazines in a segment or category together to determine a sell through percentage. In the women’s weeklies category, for example, this could show a high sell through when half the titles perform below par.
While we could do what the supplier wants, the result would provide newsagents with a false sense of performance. However, to average averages also provides a false view of the world. So, we’re navigating a complex road in search of an ideal outcome for newsagents – one which accurately reports on the performance of each category and segment in their shop.
We’re also determining a goal sell through rate to justify a title taking a pocket. Having looked at data from 50 newsagencies now this is proving to be challenging. Our sense at the moment is that more than 50% of product received in most newsagencies does not pay its way. And it will be no surprise that it has been thus for years yet no one has actually fixed the problem.
Watch this space.