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Asociación Técnica de Diarios Latinoamericanos
Boletín Semanal Julio 10, 2017

Newspapers have become extremely savvy at recognizing opportunities to sell products that extend beyond subscriptions to their flagship papers. As they look for ways to generate additional revenues, publishers are leveraging their distribution capabilities to do so.

For many newspapers, identifying opportunities to sell additional products to subscribers is the easy part — it’s how to facilitate those transactions that often becomes the more difficult question.

The Hutchinson (Kansas) News answered that question last year, however, when it approached its circulation systems provider, ICanon, to inquire about possible solutions. The timing of the inquiry was serendipitous, as the vendor was in the midst of developing a storefront solution.

“In 2016 we decided we needed to come up with a platform for e-commerce,” Sara Bass, marketing director and circulation operations manager for The News told News & Tech. “We reached out to ICanon and they happened to be working on a storefront app, so and offered it to us in beta.”

The app, Newzware Marketplace, runs on top of the vendor’s flagship Newzware Circulation, which The News was already using to manage its circ operations. What the paper needed — and ICanon delivered — was a platform that could communicate payment and statement information directly to the circulation database, without the commission fees imposed by third-party services.

Brewfests and books
In particular, The News was seeking a solution that would help it facilitate sales of two non-newspaper products it had in the works.

Most pressingly, the paper needed to sell tickets to Hutchinson Brewfest, a local craft beer and food truck event it was sponsoring — and to do so without giving away large portions of the proceeds to a service like PayPal.
“We hit a home run with that event and it sold out,” Bass said. “We sold 500 tickets, all using our Newzware Marketplace storefront software.”
The event was so successful that it will take place again this year, in October.

In addition to Brewfest, The News was also in the midst of publishing a limited-edition hardcover book filled with reader-submitted historical photos of Hutchinson for which it needed a storefront.
“It’s all history from our community and although it’s not tied to the newspaper, we were the medium for advertisements soliciting content and pictures for the book,” Bass explained.
The book, titled, “Hutchinson, The Salt City, Volume 1,” had sold more than 1,700 copies through Marketplace as of early March.

Significant savings
Bass said after calculating the savings in ICanon’s fees vs. what the paper would have incurred using PayPal or another e-commerce facilitator, it was apparent that Newzware Marketplace paid for itself within its first use.
“We saved a small fortune in commissions — approximately $1,700,” Bass added.

Besides enabling the sales transactions, Bass said the app allows The News to query any post-sale information it needs to.
“People pay for their tickets or their book, and the information goes straight into the system and we can access whatever information we need, whenever we need it,” she said.

Easy to use and great support
Besides the financial benefits of generating new revenue without giving up huge portions in fees, Bass said Newzware Marketplace is also very easy to use and integrate. She applauded ICanon’s level of training and support and said the vendor makes integration simple for even the least tech-savvy of users.

“You don’t have to take a course or be an expert to be able to use their software — and that saves time,” she said. “It also integrates well and looks very upscale to our customers.”
The ease of integration eliminates the need publishers to maintain a different portal to sell merchandise.

“It’s always a benefit when things integrate well and there are fewer touch points,” Bass added.
Fewer touch points means better organization and less room for error.

“When you’re managing large-scale events it’s important to get info correct and keep it organized,” Bass said. “I wouldn’t be as confident if we didn’t have the right software to facilitate this.”
Markle said he’s eager to see what opportunities Newzware will open up for newspapers.

“Our customers are always peeking outside the traditional revenue box,” he said. “Some publications are contemplating the delivery of gourmet coffee along with their newspaper delivery.”
Because Newzware Marketplace resides on top of their Newzware Circulation database platform, it simply uses the Newzware Subscriber Web Self Service portal for individual connectivity. Advertisement for a newspaper’s product, service or event can direct the consumer to the URL and ICanon does the rest, according to Marketing Director Gary Markle. An added benefit is that non-subscribers will be drawn to the Web portal and asked to register. This feeds a newspaper’s circ system with added contact information and demographics, if the publisher so chooses.

Markle said that although Newzware Marketplace was designed to inventory, sell and fulfill physical products like mugs, ball caps, books, and the like, it is finding a home as the fulfillment for event ticketing of sponsored local festivities, as was the case for The News and the Brewfest event in Hutchinson.

Markle said he’s eager to see what additional opportunities Newzware will open up for newspapers with the app.

“Our customers are always peeking outside the traditional revenue box,” he said. “Some publications are contemplating the delivery of gourmet coffee along with their newspaper delivery.”
Additional features, including barcode scanning and fulfillment notification have been developed, and a points/reward system is slated for the next release of Marketplace.