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PMA Coverage: Kiosk Offerings Look to Help Retailers in a Struggling Economy
Improving workflows and striving for upsells are the buzzwords.
by Steven Shaw



March 3, 2009--Las Vegas/PMA--PMA is always the place to go to see what's new for the coming year. It's the first major show of the year and is always a good indicator of what lies ahead. New products, new technologies, and updated software can all be found when checking out the kiosk offerings this year, but there is also something else that is new...a new attitude. Many of the manufacturers we spoke to have the failing economy on their mind. Improving workflows and striving for upsells are the buzzwords. Here’s what’s new and what to look for on the show floor.

Fujifilm Offers Economical Print Solution

Fujifilm U.S.A., Inc.'s new Quality Thermal Photo Paper, ASK 2500 Dye Sublimation Printer, and GetPix Order Terminal "F7" provide a simple, eco-friendly, and economical print solution. Together with its Fujifilm GetPix Kiosk Terminal Software “TS”, these products demonstrate Fujifilm's ongoing commitment to provide retailers with a flexible instant kiosk photo printing solution.

The Quality Thermal Photo Paper produces the same level of whiteness and gloss as silver halide paper and significantly improves the handling of the prints, according to the company. "The whiteness and the gloss level is enhanced," says John Meyer, vice president, Commercial Marketing, Imaging Division, Fujifilm. "However, the most important feature is that they don't stick together. This takes care of that sticking issue or static issue, and the color saturation is very nice." The ASK 2500 dye sublimation printer is part of Fujifilm's Expanding Frontier Solutions. With a maximum print speed of 6.8 seconds per 4"x6" print, and a range of print sizes offered including 4"x6", 5"x7" and 6"x9", the high-speed, dye-sublimation printer is, according to the company, ideal for instant kiosk photo printing solutions, event photography, or even digital photo ID applications. "It's a little bit faster than the ASK 2000 and still produces the same sizes off the printer," reports Meyer.

The GetPix Order Terminal "F7" is designed to simplify the print ordering process for customers and is ideal for the retail photofinisher in search of a solution with a small footprint and the ability to process orders for prints, posters, photo cards, and photo books with GetPix Kiosk Terminal Software "TS". An adjustable tilt LCD display increases visibility and a high-performance card reader is compatible with all major digital camera storage media cards and camera phones. Combined with the touch-panel display, the new software helps ensure a user-friendly print-ordering process.

Lucidiom Focuses on Innovative Workflows

"We're a technology company," says Stephen Giordano Jr., president, Lucidiom. "Every year we want to come out with new technology that demonstrates the profit potential of the photo business. However, this year the fundamental problem in the industry has shifted." Giordano explains that while Lucidiom would normally think in marketing terms on how to get more people in the door than the previous month, they are now thinking in terms of upselling for each customer.

"Customer acquisition is going to be very difficult in 2009, just because of the economic indicators, the current climate for purchasing and consumer confidence," Giordano states.

"So, we wanted to concentrate more on innovative workflows that focus on maximizing the average dollar sale for every customer coming in. We know it's going to be hard to get customers in the door. So, how do we get [the customers who do come in] to spend more money and be more satisfied when they leave the kiosk? We've developed some workflows around upselling, and that’s the major part of our new kiosk offering." Lucidiom's APM (Automated Photo Machine) is a self-service digital photo kiosk where customers can order, edit and print high-quality photo products from their digital images. While the APM software will feature a lot of new functionality, including the ability to create products like playing cards, note pads, banners and cover wraps, the real focus is on making the user interface friendlier towards upselling. "We redesigned a lot of the screens to focus on the shifting marketing struggle in stores," reports Giordano.

"So, basically if you have 10 customers in the door, let’s just focus on maximizing those 10 rather than [trying to get 10 more to come in]. The idea is if people are willing to spend their disposable income on photos, we're going to have to show them all of the wonderful potential there is." Giordano says getting the customer in the door is the toughest job, and the store has done that part. "Now it's up to the Lucidiom to do the rest," he says. "That's really our focus for the year - maximizing your sale and having the kiosk help you with that.”

Sony Upgrades SnapLab

Sony's latest SnapLab digital photo printer, model UPC-R20L, now includes remote monitoring and management software, a wireless print release option, improved scalability, a pattern lamination feature and easy-to-use deployment software, according to the company. The upgrades were added to the digital photo print system in order to provide end-users with new ways meet consumer demand for instant digital photo prints.

End users who plan to deploy multiple systems can now use Sony's optional Remote Monitoring and Management System (RM&M) software to monitor and manage the performance of those systems. The RM&M software, according to Sony, is a powerful PC-based tool that allows users, such as nationwide retailers, to remotely track sales and make adjustments based on the analytics they collect. Using the software, users can change pricing, run promotions on the units LCD screen, and even be alerted by the system as to when media replacement is needed - all of which can all be done remotely.

Additionally, the wireless SnaPay option allows customers to select the digital photos they want to print on the system's touch-screen LCD, and then take the amount due to the cashier. The cashier can then wirelessly release the prints for the customer. To assist with large deployments, SnapLab comes with easy-to-use setup software that can further simplify the setup process, according to Sony. The software comes on a pre-loaded CD that can be programmed with instructions such as pricing, print sizes, promotional discounts and more.

HP Photo Center Offers Versatility

The HP Photo Center 4.0 is the newest version of HP's Photo Center solution. Integrating HP's Microlab, Minilab and Photosmart Studio systems, the HP Photo Center is a versatile, scalable and space-efficient instant digital print solution that can either be plugged into a retailer's existing lab infrastructure, or can serve as a complete, end-to-end solution.

The HP Photo Center 4.0 expands a retailer's business with high-margin, high-value photo products that can be created in-store in a one-hour service model. It builds on the success of its predecessors with an enhanced creation experience that makes ordering prints and new types of creative products quicker and more intuitive.

Retailers can drive additional revenue using personalized upsell screens coupled with HP's unique shopping cart experience that moves the consumer through upsell opportunities at multiple points of the customer ordering process. Additional equipment can be added to produce instant prints, print scanning, film scanning and CD burning. Retailers can also maximize uptime with HP's Retail Management System (RMS). RMS monitors the health of each Photo Center component and can remotely fix many problems - often before they affect retail performance - and upgrade firmware and software. Using RMS, the retailer can remotely configure products, pricing and settings, and get online reporting of sales, order and usage data.

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