The use of retail kiosks is quickly becoming a resourceful trend in the digital world as more consumers are bringing their personal photos to be developed in stores. Right now, home printing is the preferred method for producing photographs. However, according to InfoTrends Research Group, 14% of digital camera owners had developed their prints from a retail location in 2003. By 2004, this figure increased to 33%. InfoTrends also states that in 2004, about 25,000 kiosks were shipped to retail stores. It is predicted that by 2008, this figure will grow to about 33,000. Advertisements for photo kiosks have been primarily aimed at digital camera users, causing the number of people who use photo kiosks to jump from 28% to 39% from 2003 to 2004. Mass merchants stores have become popular for retail photo printing because of their neighborhood locations and low prices. These conveniences have led 60% of kiosk users to utilize the kiosks in mass merchants; 39% make use of the kiosks found in local drug stores. Imaging Business has asked a panel of kiosk experts about the rising trends of kiosk production and usage in the coming months. This roundtable discussion includes: George Tun, marketing and business development manager, Olympus Imaging America Inc.; Korosh Delnawaz, president, Whitech U.S.A.; Mark Lawrence, DigitalPortal Inc.; Laura Oles, vice president strategic communications, Pixel Magic Imaging; Shamira Jaffer, president, Signifi Solutions, Inc.; Steve Giordano, Jr., president, Lucidiom Inc.; Walter Haug, vice president marketing, Digital Services, Photofinishing and Web Services Division, Fuji Photo Film U.S.A.; Alex Hodges, director, kiosks, U.S. & Canada, Kodak; Jay Dellostetto, vice president, DigitalPhotofinishing, Broadcast and Business Solutions, Sony Electronics; and Wayne Strobel, senior marketing manager, AgfaPhoto U.S.A. Corporation.
*Due to space restraints, we edited down some of the responses.
What are the biggest trends you see occurring in the kiosk market in 2005? (i.e. retailers having multiple units in their stores, consumers placing orders from home computers online, new service opportunities etc.)
Tun: For 2005, we are starting to see retailers focusing on which kiosk manufacturer rather than deciding on whether or not to install a kiosk. We feel this is directly related to what is happening at the store level. Customers are becoming savvy when it comes to digital photo processing, and they are demanding instant digital photos, crop and zoom along with other features found only on a photo kiosk.
Delnawaz: Home Ordering is rapidly gaining popularity in the retail market. The number of customers ordering their prints from home has been steadily rising over the last few years and is projected to rapidly increase in years to come. Whitech launched a new website, www.homeordering.net , at the end of May that is dedicated to Home Ordering, which caters for this growing sector of the market. The site is for customers using Home Ordering and supplies information, FAQs, troubleshooting, and tips for people ordering their prints from home. A customer can even search the site for their nearest retailer who offers Home Ordering, allowing them to choose a local retailer of preference. Whitech's version of Home Ordering is unique in that the interface a customer uses at home is identical to the Photo.Teller kiosk software being used in the retailer's store. A customer is still able to zoom and crop, change a print to black and white or sepia, auto correct, add text, and fix red-eye on their PC before ordering their prints online from their chosen local retailer. Multiple kiosks are being utilized more and more by retailers. We are finding that many of our clients who have photo specialty stores have at least four kiosks, and some have 16 units. Segmentation is another key trend emerging this year. Retailers using multiple kiosks are encouraged to utilize each one for a specific purpose to provide customers with the services they want in a time efficient manner.
Lawrence : The biggest trend we see with retailers is the number of kiosks available to consumers. As was discussed in seminars and booths at PMA, the big buzz is that consumers are unwilling to wait long when in search of digital print fulfillment. When home printer makers are advertising instant flexible print at home solutions, retailers need to make the transaction and the experience ‘Print at Retail' an easy and attractive alternative. With women as the biggest demographic for print fulfillment, retailers need to pay attention to what those consumers need and what brings them back for more transactions that are larger. In discussions with one large retailer the comment came to us that, ‘a line of 1 person at a photo kiosk is 1 too many…' Another trend is multiple kiosks to simplify the interface needs. Think of the express line at a coffee/donut shop. One line has a sign saying ‘Express Line' (Regular coffee and 1 donut); the other line is where you order donuts for the office. Kiosks are taking the same tact… Express Kiosk - (one each 4 x 6 inch prints). Full service Kiosk offers - crop, red-eye, enlargements, etc. Remember we are an instant gratification - drive thru society.
Oles: As digital camera users continue to grow and experience more ways of sharing their memories, we are seeing them return to retailers for guidance and expertise. They want high quality digital prints at a great price and also want additional services such as image archiving, enlargements and specialty products. Retailers will respond to this increasing demand by adding multiple units in their stores and continuing to consider the entire shopping experience. The ability for users to order from home and pick up prints at their trusted retail store, using applications such as Pixel Magic Imaging's popular Print2Store application, will continue expanding. There are many great opportunities for retailers to serve digital camera users, solve problems for them, and become a trusted resource. Kiosks are a great cornerstone of that strategy.
Jaffer: As the market for store-bought digital photo finishing continues to grow, retailers are getting serious about photo kiosks. Gone are the days of the standalone kiosk-in-a-corner. You'll see stores deploying kiosks to complement existing photo counters, as other retailers introduce complete self-service digital photo centers -- or sometimes both. New concepts will emerge that will allow digital lifestyle customers to process their photos in casual comfort. The convergence of online photo sites and in-store kiosks will allow retailers to integrate their kiosk services and create new opportunities to expand their offerings and win customer loyalty.
Giordano: Not only do we see more retailers with multiple units in their stores, but increasingly they are finding innovative ways to make their kiosk store space even more profitable. Dan's Camera City, for instance, introduced its DigiPrint Lounge in May - a coffeehouse section of the store with 11 Lucidiom Automated Photo Machines (APMs), plus free wireless Internet access, a children's play area and complimentary beverages. Who wouldn't want to spend more time printing photos here? It's exciting to work with our customers to match the APM's technical capabilities with consumer-friendly and business-savvy concepts that maximize retail sales and customer satisfaction.
Haug: The biggest trend is the surge in digital printing at retail. In the first quarter of 2005, according to PMA, the digital print at retail market grew at +160%, far beyond what anyone in the industry predicted. In addition, in March 2005, there were as many digital prints made at retail as were made at home for the first time ever. These two facts indicate that the trends Fujifilm has predicted for the past two years- that we would see explosive growth in digital retail printing and that print at retail, including those made with kiosks, would surpass print at home are happening ahead of schedule.
Hodges: Consumers continue to want quality and choice when it comes to digital printing. There continues to be huge growth opportunities at retail, as consumers discover how to print their digital pictures. Kiosks offer a great option for consumers who want an easy to use solution, high quality pictures, and they receive their pictures in seconds. One trend we see is that once a consumer prints her pictures on a kiosk without assistance, she feels empowered and as a result, continues to want this experience.
This consumer will continue to demand the option to get her pictures back immediately, the way they want, and they are willing to pay a premium for that opportunity. We also see a trend where more and more of our retail partners will be offering a two tiered digital printing service - prints in an hour (connected to a lab), or prints in seconds (at the kiosk).
Dellostetto: The biggest trend in the kiosk market in 2005 is the growth in "do it yourself" digital printing at retail. With digital camera household penetration approaching 50 percent, digital camera owners are now focused on high quality digital printing solutions. That's great news for retailers with kiosks like Sony's Picture Station. Consumers want speed, convenience, quality and ease of use. And that's what a Picture Station kiosk delivers. So while film processing is falling sharply, it's no surprise that printing at retail is the fastest growing print solution.
Strobel: At AgfaPhoto, we see substantial growth in the photo kiosk arena. Retailers, who have been offering digital output via a kiosk for some time now, are adding additional units to handle customer demand especially during peak purchasing times. It is no longer unusual to see four or five kiosks in one retail location. The early adopters to digital output are starting to reap the benefits of that decision as prints from digital media increase to make up for the lowering volume of prints from film. Almost every mass drugstore location has one kiosk; most have two or more. Over half of these kiosks offer output to high quality, long lasting silver halide digital labs. Forward thinking mass retailers that believe in a prosperous outlook for the photo industry are installing digital labs in every location to better meet the needs of their consumer. Silver Halide output still offers the retailer the highest quality output at the most reasonable consumable price. In the future, we will see photo kiosk married to other offerings. We may see the typical photo kiosk offering music CD's and DVD's making these single use kiosks multifunctional. Space is always at a premium in retail and getting the most use out of it is always the goal. The best way to do this is offer hardware that is more then one-dimensional.
What are some of the key features/upgrades made on your products for 2005?