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Making Shopping Fun for Your Customers - That's Retailment!

Making Shopping Fun for Your Customers-That's Retailtainment!

Imaging Industry Veteran Brings In-Store Marketing to Photo Retail at StratMar

elieve it or not, not everyone enjoys shopping. In fact, for a lot of people, the process of buying groceries, clothing or, yes, even purchasing a snazzy new digital camera, is a form of drudgery akin to paying bills or taking out the garbage. Anyone who's worked behind a counter knows these kinds of customers are some of the toughest sells around. Mostly, they just want to see if you stock what they're looking for and get out of your store as fast as they came in. Good luck trying to make a return customer out of them. A lot of times, these shopped-out zombies won't even buy anything the first time around!

For photo retailers who've given up trying to get through to customers like these, Ted McGrath, the former head of Fuji Photo Film U.S.A. and a onetime Kodak executive, has one question: "Have you tried Retailtainment yet?"


Yes, retailtainment. Widely practiced at department stores and beginning to infiltrate the mass market channel, "retailtainment" brings the principles of entertainment to retail to help increase sales and build customer loyalty.

"It helps break up the monotony of shopping, it helps sell incremental goods, it builds more traffic, it increases patronage and it offers something special in your store that may not be available anywhere else," explains McGrath, who now serves as president and CEO of StratMar, the 34-year-old marketing services firm based in Port Chester, New York.

"With retailtainment, the retailer wins, the vendor wins and the customer wins because the shopping experience is made more enjoyable."

While price and location were once the main ways to lure customers into a store, the increasingly depersonalized experience of mass market shopping has turned a lot of people off. Enter retailtainment, which livens up shopping with everything from interactive in-store demonstrations and giveaways to unique signage and displays.

McGrath, who was president of Fuji Photo Film from 1993 to 2000 before joining StratMar, thinks retailtainment is the perfect solution for Photo Specialty retailers trying to separate themselves from mass merchant chains.

"If I were photo retailer I would take retailtainment very seriously," he says. "At the very least, it makes you take a fresh look at your store and say: 'What can I do to differentiate it from the others.'"

One of StratMar's recent clients in the imaging industry is Applied Science Fiction (ASF) which hired McGrath's firm to oversee in-store demonstrations of ASF's new Digital PIC dry processing kiosk at CVS stores in Boston. As part of the program, StratMar hired friendly, tech-savvy store demonstrators to show customers how the new machine worked.

StratMar also recently worked with Fuji on the "Smile" campaign where coupon booklets were stuffed into photo bags. Store signage informed customers about Fuji film while presenting them with coupons for discounts on their next roll as well as offers ranging from toothpaste to dog food.

In a recent photofinishing demonstration, StratMar presenters showed customers the basics of a minilab and the range of options available to them that they may not have been aware of including photo greeting cards, enlargements and image repair.

"It doesn't have to necessarily be linked to a supermarket. It also works with select specialty stores," McGrath says. "This country is 'overstored' so you have to differentiate yours from the many others out there to make it a more profitable business."

He noted that the digital camera market is an area that's ripe for retailtainment. Along with holding in-store demonstrations of the latest digital gear, McGrath suggested conducting photo contests for customers or sponsoring days when kids can bring their pets in and have them photographed digitally.

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