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2004 Digital Kiosk Supplier Roundtable



As was witnessed at PMA 2004, digital kiosks are becoming more and more prevalent as retailers turn to these self-contained imaging systems as an easy solution for expanding their digital services while boosting their profit picture. The category is becoming more crowded with over 22 models currently on the market. Vendors are jockeying for share in the kiosk market. Kodak remains the leader, but it's being followed closely by Fujifilm, Sony and Pixel Magic.

According to the InfoTrends Research Group, kiosk sales are expected to demonstrate a compound annual growth rate of 16% over the forecast period from 2002 to 2007.

In order to get a better handle on this category, Photographic Processing asked a panel of kiosk experts to share their views on how retailers need to better market and promote kiosks and the services they provide to the consumer. The panel for our roundtable discussion included: Darla S. Achey, marketing communications specialist, Imaging Products Division, Mitsubishi Digital Electronics America Inc.; Dave Johnson, marketing manager, Digital Photography Broadcast & Professional Company, Sony; George Briggs, CEO, Pixel Magic Imaging; Joe Leach, executive vice president, Noritsu America Corp.; Dan Kinsley, vp, sales and marketing, Independent Retail Consumer Imaging North America, Agfa Corp.; Skip Colcord, director of corporate communications at Polaroid Corp.; Jens Klok, senior product manager, Photo Imaging Division, Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc.; Eric Lent, director of marketing, Kiosks & Mobile Imaging, Eastman Kodak Company; Mark D. Lawrence, director of marketing, DigitalPortal, Inc.; Joseph Leo, director of new business development CPG—NBD Olympus America Inc.; and Korosh Delnawaz, president of Whitech USA. Due to space limitations, we edited down some of the responses.

"We are now seeing digital camera demographics mirroring those of film customers," offers Pixel Magic's Briggs.

Besides the soccer mom, who are the demographics of target customers that retailers need to reach?

Achey: There is a vast demographic well beyond the soccer moms. A wide variety of consumers are now purchasing digital cameras. We feel the demographics reach out to everyone in the entire family. As digital cameras become lower in price and easier to use, anyone from teenagers to grandparents will be using them.

Johnson: Since the purchase of digital cameras has expanded beyond early adopters, practically every demographic group, to some degree, is a target group for wanting to get great photos. Self-service photo kiosks like the Sony PictureStation opens the doors to so many who want to get their photos quickly and easily with no waiting: consumer groups like high school and college kids who want to print those few great shots, scrapbooking hobbyists who rely on the customizable features of the kiosks like cropping and adding borders. Even business operators need a quick option for getting prints made, for example, real estate agents and insurance agents.

"Our research shows that today's soccer mom prints more digital pictures than any other demographic," says Kodak's Lent.

Lent: Our research shows that today's soccer mom prints more digital pictures than any other demographic. Kodak's research also shows that this demographic can be further segmented. For example, the Hispanic population is growing at a rapid rate and can be geographically targeted, so retailers should modify messages based on local market dynamics. Additionally, moms with younger kids (i.e., newborns, first child, etc.) tend to print the most digital pictures, which also present another targeted opportunity for retailers.

"The advent of digital camera phones will also play a part in the photo printing business. There are also opportunities for B2B that digital technologies can further enable," says Leo from Olympus.

Leo: The soccer mom represents the greatest volume of traditional photo processing consumers. Retailers will need to continue to target the soccer mom. Certainly, it would not hurt to target young teens who are fully versed in digital technologies. The advent of digital camera phones will also play a part in the photo printing business. There are also opportunities for B2B that digital technologies can further enable.

Briggs: We are now seeing digital camera demographics mirroring those of film customers. The seasonality of digital printing is closely matching film, and digital cameras are now replacing film cameras—both items further support that the demographic is becoming more similar to film users. The picture-taking public is now a target rather than just the early adopters.

"The winners will be those who recognize the power of digital services at retail and continue to redefine the borders," says Agfa's Kingsley.

Kingsley:With digital, the market for services is expanding well beyond the soccer mom. We see a shift in the behaviors of wedding, sports and event photographers who are looking to digital retailers to print their work. They have found that today's digital technology allows for them to better control the output and they are more involved in the process. In addition, retailers have new opportunities in business-to-business applications. The winners will be those who recognize the power of digital services at retail and continue to redefine the borders.

Lawrence: Soccer moms are the key transitioning demographic from traditional film to digital print fulfillment. Other demographics are business customers who need images to explain, describe and present information; this group represents a huge market. With the capabilities of expanding "footprint" or "reach" of your "print fulfillment" via wireless and stand-alone capabilities, retailers need to be looking at creative uses and new locations.

What new service opportunities can kiosks provide the retailer?

Leo: Olympus has developed new features in the kiosk for retailers to offer beyond 4 x 6 products, services and solutions. In addition to these new revenue sources directed through the kiosk, retailers should also consider the additional benefits of having a kiosk. They include: increased store traffic, increased repeat business, ability to cross-market and cross-promote with digital cameras, and the ability to cross-merchandise. How cool is it for a consumer to buy a "photo bobblehead" and have the head printed to an exact size the first time by using the kiosk?

Delnawaz: Kiosks can bring new business opportunities to the retail location that increases customer traffic and creates consumer behavior. A multi-purpose kiosk with a good range of products can increase sales and productivity without high overheads.

Johnson: For the retailer selling digital cameras, the photo kiosk acts as a great sales tool to show off the camera's capabilities. If a shopper is interested in evaluating higher-resolution cameras like the new 8-megapixel cameras, printing an 8 x 10 really helps to up-sell to these higher-end camera lines. Kiosks that offer features like adding borders and text is great around the holiday seasons, or even for events like birth announcements, birthdays, first communions, etc. Any reason to put into print memories of life's events is invaluable.

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