Magazine Article


Customer Education Is Important
Help Customers Take Digital Images Worth Printing

Photo Before
Which photo do you think would lead to reprints and enlargements? The photo above was taken before learning how to take better photographs. The photo below was taken afterwards—a much better image.
Photo After
Customers Need Help Taking Photos
Instruction Books
These books (above and below) offer a simple and quick read for consumers interested in taking better photos. Sell them or use as an incentive with camera purchases.
Instruction Books

With film, bad photos were printed because they had to be in order to see them. There was no way customers could sort out the bad ones ahead of time. Digital solves this problem for customers by letting them delete bad digital images, save good images, print the best images as 4x6s to go in an album, and enlarge the very best images to frame or scrapbook. This saves the customer money, but costs the lab sales.

Photo lab surveys say that 9 out of 10 customers need help taking better photos—some desperately so. This is a 90% opportunity to increase sales by helping your customers take photos worth printing and enlarging. Even if a customer only chooses one more digital image out of 20 to print into a 4x6, that’s a 5% increase in print sales. Add in a couple more enlargements per year and it’s a nice increase. The goal is to educate your customers so 9 out of 10 take better photos.

Increase Sales From Your Current Customer Base

With the cost of getting new customers being high, increasing sales from your current customer base with more sales per customer is a good alternative. Providing customers with help in understanding digital and taking better photos is a service they want. As a customer loyalty item, it addresses the main reason customers go to another store—customer neglect. Exciting photos get printed and enlarged; boring ones get deleted or saved. Once saved, they rarely get printed—sort of like the items people put in a storage unit and forget about.

“Teach a person to fish and they eat for a lifetime” is the saying. Teach a customer to take better photos and you enjoy increased sales for their lifetime. Most incentives are a 1:1 proposition: buy something—get something free, end of deal. Customers taking better photos will order more prints this month, next month, next year, for years to come, and for the rest of their lifetime. It’s a pretty good deal.

Digital photography adds not only the need for technical help in taking photos but creative help, too. Some customers are okay, but most are confused and afraid of digital, making frustrating digital mistakes that can cost images, prints, and returns.

Digital cameras are praised or blamed for being easy or hard to understand, and for taking good or bad photos. We help create a better customer experience and better word of mouth—still the best form of advertising. It takes a lot longer for your staff to explain a digital camera than it did to explain a film camera. A basic explanation during the sale is all the time a salesperson or customer usually has. Verbal explanations will be forgotten—and for the large percentage of digital cameras that are given as gifts, the information doesn’t get to the person using the camera. Photo labs can spend too much counter-time teaching their customers how to use their digital camera as well.

The benefits of photo-educated customers are high; the cost, time, and logistics of giving photo classes are also high. A chain store I talked with said they’d tried to give classes at some of their locations and it wasn’t cost-effective in teaching their customers. Small stores have told me that they’d like to give classes but have been too busy to put a program together, or nobody wants to teach it.

Flexible for Retailers and Their Customers

We are an education partner for photo labs, camera stores, and manufacturers, offering a cost-effective program for photo-educating your customers: soccer moms, baby boomers, teenagers, and others. Our books are among PMA’s best-sellers. Our new online photo classes are available 24/7, convenient for customers such as a mom who can’t make an in-store scheduled class, but can go online after the kids are in bed.

Lessons are condensed, highly illustrated, and get results. Customers listen to the author explain the concepts they see on-screen. Stop and start features let them continue the lesson later if something comes up. A photo assignment and worksheets are included at the end, along with a certificate of achievement.

When you sign your store up, you get 20 free classes to give to customers, as well as a free class for each employee to better educate your staff.

Flyers (4x6) can be printed with your store’s name on them for customers to get 50% off classes. Include them with orders and bundle them with digital cameras, printers, etc. You can buy the classes to offer at a discount or give to customers as an incentive to loyalty, or sell to customers at a profit. You can also utilize a setup whereby customers entering your store’s name in the coupon code area on the website get 50% off the classes. A link from your website makes classes available to your customers. This not only gives them a discount, but makes you look good to your customers too.