Magazine Article


Holiday Profits

Finishing Counter Items Spur Fourth Quarter Sales

Although it's only September and it will be a few more months before Old Man Winter rears his head, now is the ideal time to start thinking about the end of year holiday sales. And when we think of holiday sales our thoughts turn towards the finishing counter. The fourth quarter is probably the most important for a minilab. In many cases, if the retailer has the right mix of impulse items, there can be more profit on sales of that finishing counter item sale than on the processing order that brought the customer into the store in the first place.

These impulse items are surefire profit builders. With so little countertop and floor space available in your labs, we can offer some hot new Yuletide suggestions including photo cards, photo novelties and packaging items, that will help retailers with their holiday add-on sales.

Photo Cards and Specialties

Collector's Gallery introduced ten exciting new patterns of photo insert cards beautifully embellished with foil accents, raised embossing.

The selection and variety of Holiday products continues to grow at Collector's Gallery ( Pam Brock, national sales manager for Collector's Gallery states, "As a manufacturer, our goal is to create products that appeal to every level of use within the industry from professional photographers to event photographers to photofinishers all the way to the consumer." For 2004, the company introduced ten exciting new patterns of photo insert cards beautifully embellished with foil accents, raised embossing - and in some cases - both. Their entire collection of Acid Free Photo Insert cards - 55 Holiday designs in all - are available in both 10 and 20 count packages as well as 10 count transparent boxes. Volume and Early Buy Discounts are available.

Recognized for their innovative and creative artwork, Collector's Gallery has also released a selection of their top card designs as digital border templates to create 4 x 8-inch slim line cards. "Now the retailer can offer customers an entire design story which coordinates both traditional photo insert cards with a matching slim line card design" Brock says. Each template, available in a variety of formats, includes both vertical and horizontal layouts. As with Photo Insert cards, volume discounts on multiple design purchases are available.

For the Professional and Special Event Photographer, the company introduced four new Special Event folder designs expanding their Holiday collection to seven festive patterns. Designed to accommodate 4 x 6-inch prints, Special Event folders are available in both vertical and horizontal formats and can be customized around a specific venue or event. "Most retailers think personalization means imprinting an event date or logo on a blank folder or card. With our high speed equipment and in-house art department, we are able to produce some incredible custom cards and folders for a variety of locations and occasions," Brock concludes.

"The finishing counter business is a big part of our fourth quarter sales," says Suzanne Isabelle, store manager at Concord Camera in Concord, NH. "Digital camera sales should be top sellers for us as well as album and frames. Christmas cards from Collector's Gallery should also be big for us once again. The trend we are seeing in that market is that we are starting to see more holiday cards being made from digital images than traditional prints. More customers, women in particular, are coming in with their digital media. They are getting more comfortable with using the kiosks. To handle the traffic we recently added two Agfa units to our store. Customers are becoming more digitally savvy and are making more prints," she concludes.

PhotoTidings' new catalog collection offers over 200 new digital template designs.

PhotoTidings ( has released their new catalog collection with over 200 new digital template designs. The catalog offers an extensive line of digital templates for a variety of sizes, as well as masks for producing photo greeting cards on an analog minilab. PhotoTidings is now offering Border Sets. Each design includes 8 x 10, 5 x 7 and 4 x 6 sizes in both horizontal and vertical formats. These Border Sets are perfect for the event photographer as well as portrait studios and minilabs. Many of their templates are designed in multiple size formats, allowing for more options. Also new this year are Celebration Kits. These kits contain a variety of Slimline Cards, Borders and their unique multiple image Cut-Apart cards. Each kit comes with a digital file of an 11 x 15-inch poster for printing a POP display.

"As the digital market experiences phenomenal growth, traditional film processing outlets look for new market niches to counteract the decline of analog film sales. Digital minilabs and kiosks are enabling the industry to recapture the processing revenue stream, in part through offering consumers innovative digital products including contemporary/popular template designs," says Cliff Wright, GM at PhotoTidings.

"For many processors, the 2003 holiday season represented significant growth in revenue from digital processing versus the prior year. Increased consumer comfort with digital media and methods, combined with the convenience and availability of digital templates, have helped generate these increased volumes. We've seen the kiosk industry allow affordable market entrance to some who might not traditionally invest in photo processing. It appears the minilab and kiosk may also facilitate expansion of the overall processing market by bringing back the early adopters of digital cameras and reaching a new consumer focused on convenience," Wright adds.

One of PhotoTidings customer's, Denny Prichard of Evergreen Film Service in Eugene, OR is gearing up for a strong fourth quarter push. "With the advent of new customers going digital we are looking for a big year for greeting cards. We are getting more digital orders in our lab. More then half our orders are now for digital prints." The lab offers two Fujifilm Frontier minilabs and has been processing digital images since January 2000. "We are also seeing more orders for cards coming in online. We see the Internet as a growing area. In the next month or so we will be upgrading our website to handle more orders and provide customers more options specifically for our photo greeting card business."

New Packaging Trends

"It looks like digital cameras and accessories will be the focus of holiday sales again this year. Photo greeting cards continue to be strong sellers as well," says Larry Rallo VP of Sales and Marketing, The Noteworthy Company. "What does this mean for photo packaging? Retailers have a need for merchandising carryout bags to hold these cameras and large orders of greeting cards. Upscale digital packaging is also in demand this year.

Noteworthy has in its line up Photo Excellence Poly Merchandising bags.

Noteworthy's matching merchandising bags and digital packaging are big sellers this holiday season. More customers are buying customized packaging as well. These trends are expected to continue into 2005."

Noteworthy ( has also added to its retail line-up a glossy booklet style CD-holder, clear plastic packaging for CDs or DVDs, and matching envelopes print wallets and merchandising bags.

"Holiday time is the biggest part of our selling season. We probably see somewhere between 25-30% of our business in those weeks in between Thanksgiving and Christmas," reports John Kreidler at Cardinal Camera in Landsdale, PA.

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