Magazine Article


Sell Photo Manipulation Software - If You Don't, Your Competition Will!

Sell Photo Manipulation Software—
If You Don't, Your Competition Will!

by Debra Sharker

What is the best kept secret in the imaging products line-up? The Consumer Electronics industry knows. The Computer industry knows. The Mass Merchants know. And the Office Products Retailers know. So, do the Photo Specialty Dealers know? No.
The answer is, Photo Manipulation Software. You may have put it into your line-up several years ago and gotten burned, but today is a new day. Consumers did not know enough about the imaging world as quickly as we thought they should, so some accessories were put into the mix a bit too soon. The disconnect that was apparent then is gone now. As digital camera sales are being split into so many channels, all of the retailers are looking for ways to keep their customers coming back into their stores for accessories. And just how many accessories are there to sell with a digital camera? Not many (the typical answer) after batteries, re-chargers, memory and the occasional case or tripod. But to the savvy dealer there are scores of them and they are called, Photo Manipulation Software products.
All of us have the responsibility of convincing consumers to do more and more with their photos: play with them, print them, share them, email them, etc. Advertising and marketing messages must educate our audience as to the full range of possibilities. The more an image is used and shared, the more the retailer stands to profit. It is not about taking a digital image and using it only in the digital format, but using the ease of the format to do other things. Stop thinking in terms of the digital camera sale only and remember the tremendous profit in the consumables such as ink, paper, albums, mailers, etc. Use the old fashioned idea of displays that tie in a family of products because showing the consumer what they need becomes quickly what they want. And what they want, they buy!
Remember why we take pictures? To create and preserve memories is the best answer. The ways to play with an image are endless and open to all levels, ages and capabilities of the photo taking audience. And the way is with Image Manipulation Software. The variety in programs covers the spectrum for just about anything anyone could ever want to do to a photo—colorize it, make it black & white, scale it, manipulate it, merge it, morph it and serve it up in any size, shape, flavor or product that can be imagined (and then some!). The level of photography, art or computer related skills go from toddlers, to kids, to teens, to adults and beyond. Companies from Kodak to Crayola and everything in between offer packages to create, share, store and preserve our memories. All you, the retailer, need to decide is what price points you want to offer and be assured it is there for you. But do not bury these products in a box section! Put them up with digital cameras and train your staff to present them as accessory items. Display. Display. Display.
Knowing that image manipulation is and will be the way of the world and the wave of the future, some proud names in the photo, advertising and cinematography industries have teamed together to form a new company whose goal is to create, manufacturer and market . . . "Imaging Software for the rest of us." SmARTlens Corporation is currently introducing their first retail products with great fanfare (and winning the DIMA Award for Innovative Technology). The first product, Voila! ARTware is the most unique painting program available, allowing the consumer to turn a photo into a painting with only two clicks of a mouse in under two minutes for only $39.95. And best of all for you, the retailer—it causes lots of printing to happen (so you can sell tons of ink and paper). Packaging is made to fit into the digital camera section, not in a box, so merchandising is a breeze and displays are fun. Also available are Site License Programs for enlargement services.
Where is it all going? We believe it is back to the basics of celebrating photography—shoot it, share it, and frame it. The good news is the digital format gives the consumer more ease and speed with which to use his images, and as he becomes more comfortable with the technology, his excitement will help educate others. For several years we have heard that the comfort level is almost there, hang in and the consumer will be ready, but the camera price was not in line. It is now! There are affordable cameras for the masses, technology now matches up to the prices, and the understanding of what to do and how to do it has hit home.
Our responsibility as manufacturers is to show the consumer, via displays and marketing, what else he can do with a photograph. The variety of Image Manipulation Software is fabulous and your role, Mr. & Ms. Dealer, is to put it on the shelf in such a way that it screams. . .take me home!

For more information contact:
Debra Sharker
V.P. Business Development
SmARTlens Corporation
877-597-7700 toll free
404-943-0235 direct