MagFinder: A Newsstand App for Print Publications
Publishers and readers, rejoice. Newsstand now has a digital app of its very own.
It's called MagFinder, and its function is found in the name. It enables a potential customer to find where a magazine is on sale at any store in that customer's geographic location.
This app isn't the first-ever to the newsstand space. In 2013, Kable Distribution Services introduced a "Where's My Magazine?" app (www.wheresmymagazine.com) for its client publishers. At a recent Distripress, I learned that this kind of functionality is being used in Europe. And individual publishers have experimented with apps that notify potential customers if they are near a location where a store might carry their publication, or where customers might purchase products mentioned in publication editorial or ads.
But the scale of data MagFinder utilizes breaks new ground for a newsstand app. This is appropriate, since the app is created by MagNet, the company that consolidates sales data for virtually all newsstand publications in virtually all outlets in North America.
MagFinder's goal, says Josh Gary, MagNet's VP of Systems and Operations, is to make it easy for publishers to communicate with their customers. Magazine customers download the app and search for a specific publication. The app delivers the list of all stores that carry the title in a given radius (the default is ten miles). Alternatively, a customer can pull up a given store and find what magazines are on sale there.
MagFinder updates this info nightly with covers and allocation info. The app is tied in with Google Maps so the customer can pull up directions to the store.
When the customer pulls up the home page, it is populated with available magazines based on the customer's geographic location, the publications' store listings, and the on-sale and off-sale information for the publications. The listings are displayed by category, and include U.S. or Canadian cover prices and title description. The descriptions are entered manually by MagNet from information already on file or pulled from publisher websites.
The app includes a "favorite" button, which will push updates for the favored publication when it goes on sale or when a customer enters an area in which copies are available at local retailers. It also includes the option of "most popular magazines," based on MagNet unit sales information over the past six to eight weeks. Another cool feature is the customer feedback button. If the customer can't find a listed magazine, MagNet will feed the response back to the store, making the retailer aware of the lost sale.
Here are some ideas on how to get started with this app:
- Go to the app on the MagNet site and check your magazines, making sure all information is correct, including category and description. If you want to update the information, you may do so by contacting MagNet. If your publication is not to be found on the site, it likely isn't on sale at that time.
- A recommendation from a participating publisher: Give the app to your customer service people. When a customer calls in to ask where to find a particular copy of your magazine, customer service can look it up on the app.
- Use it in store checks. If an app shows that your publication should be on sale in a particular store at a particular time, and it isn't there, speak to the store manager about it.
- Let your readers know about it. MagFinder will provide an HTML tag to put on your website to help your customers find their copies.
A note to publishers: which of you are already using this? What is your experience?
Linda Ruth, as president of PSCS Consulting (www.PSCSConsulting.com), offers communication companies worldwide the keys to magazine launches, search engine optimization and audience development online and at retail. She is a pioneer in the fields of Online Audience Optimization (OAO) and gamification for content publishers. Her books, "Internet Marketing for Magazine Publishers" ; "How to Market your Newsstand Magazine"; and "Secrets of SEO for Publishers" can be found on Amazon. Find her online at Google Plus, Magazine Dojo, LinkedIn, and Twitter @Linda_Ruth.