There's a new category now gracing the photo industry called "lifestyle photo products." This category is replacing the past legacy of "gifting" and moving into the new territory of consumer self-expression and storytelling. There are several industry drivers that are fueling this new category, which is even now in the initial stages of a profitable and contagious selection of consumer products, as well as the back-end supporting equipment, all ultimately designed to improve profitability.
One of the main category drivers is the current availability of low-cost digital cameras and flash memory, and higher-resolution cameraphones, resulting in more images circulating than ever before. Yet even with this abundance of images, there appears to be less printing. There still remains, however, a huge opportunity to move the industry past the "gifting" aspect of "a square image on a white T-shirt or a mug" and into self-expression through personal photographic compositions and the resulting lifestyle photo products.
There are new demands for products using these personal images that are more unique and expressive and allow for storytelling. The evidence is everywhere-from MySpace pages to personal blogs, people are sharing their lives through digital images. This is their new medium of expression, and the photo industry has the opportunity to reap the rewards of new printing demands through this category, delivering new state-of-the-art lifestyle printing.
Imagine going to the local lab and accessing an advanced photo kiosk platform such as an Oblò kiosk, offering a graphical interface matching customers' expectations of ease-of-use and advanced features. They can now create an Andy Warhol poster printed on canvas, or a fashion-forward tailored T-shirt with cool graphics using their images. The T-shirt may include jewelled appliqués, and they can create a customized and personalized version of something they might find at an exclusive boutique, but with their own unique photos.
Storytelling lifestyle photo products include DVDs, CDs, wide-format collage posters, photobooks, fashion-forward photo wear, calendars, greeting cards, jewelry, professional photo printing, and much more. For the photo lab, the opportunities are immense to up-sell consumers into these higher-priced photo lifestyle products. This provides new revenue, generating business models for labs way beyond what the 4x6 photofinishing model ever could.
Couple this new trend in photofinishing with the diverse business strategies now facing lab managers, and it opens the door to new revenue-generating possibilities. Lab equipment is shrinking, opening up extra space that can be filled with new services. The opportunity for today's photo lab is to maximize and manage their profit per square foot of occupied real estate, while delivering high-quality lifestyle photo products and other services that will have consumers returning for more and improve brand loyalty.
Liberty prides itself on identifying, sourcing, and delivering the next generation of these kinds of cutting-edge solutions, in a packaged format designed to enable optimized profitability per square foot and ongoing consumer value for continued brand loyalty. Liberty provides the unique equipment and these packaged solutions to its retail customers, everything from wide-format printers and sophisticated high-end photobook binding (extremely high quality and a fraction of the cost) to kiosks and "fashion statement" photo printing.
Our logistics and sourcing platform and our two decades of in-house expertise have allowed us to discover the best-in-class products for delivering the new trends in lifestyle photo products. We are committed to writing the next chapter of digital photography-listening to the heartbeat of consumers' needs-and helping photofinishers and dealers turn these solutions into much-needed new revenue streams.
Garry Green has been president of Liberty (www.libertyphoto.com) since 2006, growing the business an average of double digits year-over-year since that time. Liberty's extensive product range (9,000+ SKUs), along with its renowned logistics and sourcing engine, allows the company to help vendors, partners, and customers to stay ahead in the shifting digital imaging industry. You can reach Garry at firstname.lastname@example.org.