Magazine Article


Restoration at Retail: The Missing Element´┐Ż The Moneymaker

Supplier Forum
Restoration at Retail: The Missing ElementThe Moneymaker

by Michael Conley, Applied Science Fiction

The typical photo retail environment today includes a print-to-print kiosk and outsourced photo restoration. A plethora of photo kiosks are available in a wide variety of configurations, as all of the major OEMs are on the kiosk bandwagon — Kodak, Fuji, Gretag, Pixel Magic, Konica, AGFA, Sandisk, Sony, Olympus, Mitsubishi, and the list goes on. Looking to leverage their brand, distribution strengths to gain market share and increase consumable sales, each OEM promises retailers the opportunity for increased revenue. While retailers seek incremental business by attracting new customers and repeat/new business from existing customers, consumers want high quality prints from any source whether digital still cameras, CD, print, or film as well as the most value for their money.

The missing element here is the real moneymaker — how can retailers help consumers to reopen the infamous shoebox to restore precious memories. This is directly associated with the "billion dollar" question — how do we drive incremental printing at retail? In 2002, there were over 80 billion images captured by amateurs on film worldwide. Conservatively estimated, there are over 100 billion images in shoeboxes today and, of this, only 1.6 million images were restored in the U.S. in 2002.

The common denominator in the needs of each audience is photo restoration. Make the customer happy — give them high quality restored memories that they will want to photo share with family and friends. This can be done easily by making every consumer's picture a keeper through affordable, automatic, self-service image restoration. The better the consumer's output, the better everyone's bottom line will be.
Traditional photo restoration is time consuming and expensive, and requires consumers to relinquish control of irreplaceable originals. Most retailers either outsource their image restoration services or process them on-site by a highly skilled technician logging in hours of tedious corrections in image editing applications.

Now, what if we combine the best of both worlds — the ability of the customer to have their precious images restored without having to part with originals in a self-service environment? What if you could provide a means to stimulate store traffic and print at retail, while providing a way to differentiate your store from the competition?

In an ideal world, the retailer and consumer will have convenience, functionality and the freedom of choice. One solution is to utilize what is in place in the market today — embedded photo restoration technologies in film and flatbed scanners from OEMs such as Microtek, Kodak, Nikon, Minolta, Durst, BenQ, and UMAX as well as minilabs and Adobe Photoshop compatible plug-ins from software providers. With programs like Digital ICE, Digital ROC, Digital GEM, Digital ICE3, Digital SHO, and Digital ICE for Photo Prints for automatic photo restoration, retailers can provide a comprehensive photo restoration service with significant revenuegenerating opportunities.

From ASF's market test experience, the consumer is extremely satisfied when performing automatic photo restoration in a convenient self-service environment. Over half of the print-to-print business resulted in up-sales from using Digital ICE and Digital ROC to correct their images.

With the freedom of choice, retailers can provide consumers with automatic solutions for image correction and enhancement with innovative technologies at a cost that encourages market growth and delivers tremendous up-sale opportunities. Another solution for the retailer is the idea of a Perfect Kiosk. This Perfect Kiosk solution should drive the consumer to restore images with high-quality output accelerating printing at retail rather than in the home or office.

When walking the PMA 2003 show floor, look for a kiosk that differentiates itself from the rest by offering a user-friendly means to restore precious memories, enhancing your customers' imaging experience, while increasing your revenue, keeping your customers coming back for more and the cash register drawers ringing — a true moneymaker.

Michael Conley is the VP of Marketing at Applied Science Fiction.