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The systems also appeal to customers on another level: brand awareness. Samiee notes that his customers associate Sony "with high-tech imaging and quality. They might not have recognized the names of some of the digital minilabs out there. Sony has become a household name and it actually makes them feel familiar with it automatically." Samiee says the younger kids act like it's cool that they have a Sony digital minilab in their stores.

Sony's PictureStation systems are part of the company's global "Print By Sony" campaign. The campaign logo appears on all print media, equipment and signage, signaling a commitment of quality and consistency with which both retailers and consumers can identify.

Steve Blum, vice president of digital photography for Sony's Business Solutions and Systems Company, notes that the PictureStation system has expanded printing options for digital camera users nationwide.

"With massive consumer adoption of digital cameras over the last five years, independent photo specialty stores are increasingly offering digital photofinishing systems to grow their customer base," he said. "Our PictureStation system is a low-risk investment that offers big dividends and helps set them apart from their competitors."