Magazine Article


2005 Digital Kiosk Roundtable

George Tun
“Customers are becoming savvy when it comes to digital photo processing, and they are demanding instant digital photos, crop and zoom along with other features found only on a photo kiosk,” says Tun from Olympus.
“Segmentation is another key trend emerging this year. Retailers using multiple kiosks are encouraged to utilize each one for a specific purpose to provide customers with the services they want in a time efficient manner,” offers Whitech’s Delnawaz
“With women as the biggest demographic for print fulfillment, retailers need to pay attention to what those consumers need and what brings them back for more transactions that are larger,” says Lawrence from DigitalPortal.
“Gone are the days of the standalone kiosk-in-a-corner. You’ll see stores deploying kiosks to complement existing photo counters, as other retailers introduce complete self-service digital photo centers -- or sometimes both,” offers Signifi’s Jaffer.
“One trend we see is that once a consumer prints her pictures on a kiosk without assistance, she feels empowered and as a result, continues to want this experience,” reports Kodak’s Hodges.
“Space is always at a premium in retail and getting the most use out of it is always the goal. The best way to do this is offer hardware that is more then one-dimensional,” says Agfa’s Strobel.
“Expectations are higher now that consumers have so many choices, and retailers must make sure they can keep up with customer demand and must be able to provide those services consumers request,” says Pixel Magic’s Oles.
“The biggest trend in the kiosk market in 2005 is the growth in ‘do it yourself’ digital printing at retail,” states Dellostetto from Sony.
“Consumers are sophisticated.  They don’t always need a 4 x 6 inch of every image or necessarily want to stop at that.  They want meaningful photo memories...” adds Lucidiom’s Giordano.
“As an industry we need to keep reminding current digital camera owners and educating new camera owners that printing their images at retail is the best way to enjoy and preserve their images,” affirms Haug from Fuji Photo Film.

Tun: With the abundance of camera phones, I expect customers will look for providers to offer the ability to transfer and print their images via Bluetooth. There is a potential for explosive growth in this area, and at PMA we announced our intention to offer Bluetooth and wireless upgrade packages for our TruePrint kiosks with multiple fulfillment options, including store pick-up. A new administration system makes QuickPIX is more flexible and easier to customize than ever before. QuickPIX can take in images from almost any source, including wireless devices, and output to almost any device, including dye-sub printers and digital minilabs. Signifi has also introduced several new QuickPIX kiosk models, including our freestanding QPIX-3000 that packs a ton of new features and abilities into a tiny footprint.

Giordano: We've been busy at Lucidiom. We expanded our APM product line this spring, introducing the APM 1500 and APM 6000 at the PMA show, while also enhancing Lucidiom APM software by incorporating new features such as greeting

Delnawaz: Whitech has released its latest version of Photo.Teller software that contains new features that increase a retailer's competitiveness in the digital printing market. The digital version of scrapbooking and albuming has been incorporated into Whitech's latest version of software. These functions allow retailers to offer customers much more than just digital prints. Customers now have the opportunity to create whole album pages around specific events, personalizing their memories in a format they choose. Retailers can offer this service for a premium price. As print pricing becomes more competitive, Whitech encourages retailers to take advantage of the up-selling features of the Photo.Teller software to increase the average print price. For example a retailer can charge a customer five cents per photo to auto correct each of their images, increasing the overall cost of the order. Auto correction and auto red-eye removal are features that a retailer can now offer to their customers. Both auto correct and red-eye removal are at industry standard and markedly improve customers' prints. Whitech has also released a new kiosk, the PT-1500. This kiosk still offers all the market leading software. It has a metal, lockable case and contains removable components, making maintenance much easier for the retailer.

Lawrence : We have simplified the consumer choices to Fast Track or Custom Print printing options. We offer a Loyalty/Pre-paid card for our e-Station which allows consumers to perform the entire transaction without assistance from store staff. It gives the retailer the ability to cross promote business within their store to retail and expand services offered to their customers. Our e-Station also now offers a smaller footprint for better utilization of floor space.

Oles: Pixel Magic Imaging just celebrated 10 years of providing digital photo kiosks to the retail imaging industry, and we are extremely pleased to see the increased awareness and demand for these systems. Our iStation software line is built upon that decade of experience and our commitment to adapting as retail and consumer needs evolve. The new iStation software includes many new enhancements designed to make the digital printing experience easier than ever for digital camera users. Consumers can choose how many images are previewed on the screen-one, two, six or fifteen digital photos-to take into account issues of eyesight and preference. The company continues to refine its user interface so that the broadest range of users can easily complete their own print orders. The interface also helps new retail employees get up to speed quickly and is designed to put first-time users at ease with its intuitive design and friendly tutorial. An animated screensaver with the ability to be customized to promote a retailer's brand or key messaging is also included, as is a progress bar showing the number of prints remaining and the estimated time before the order is complete. Pixel Magic's line of kiosks is capable of printing digital photos in as little as 5.5 seconds per print. The new v8.0 iStation 250 software also includes a new promotional pricing module whereby retailers can construct special pricing based upon the volume of prints ordered or the total dollar amount of the order itself.

Jaffer: Our new QuickPIX application features a streamlined workflow and automated editing tools for faster, easier transactions. We've extended its instant printing abilities cards, online photo ordering and - coming soon - passport photos and gifts. As always, our products are customizable, allowing the retailer to reinforce their own brand with customers, not ours. APM flexibility is a Lucidiom hallmark.

Haug: This year we're focused on providing retailers with greater flexibility and scalability to meet their specific business needs, in addition to simplifying the consumer printing experience. And our new GetPix Print Station, which we're releasing this month, is designed to do just that. This new compact self-service digital photo kiosk will replace the Aladdin Digital Photo Center line. With its low cost (list begins at $15,800) and small footprint (18 x 31 inch), the kiosk can operate as a free-standing kiosk, via two separate printer options, or be connected to a Fujifilm Frontier digital minilab. In addition, the GetPix Print Station features a one-of-a-kind media drive design, Intelligent Media Insert, which we designed in conjunction with IBM. The removable media ports can be easily replaced by retailers, allowing for cost-effective expandability, maintenance and flexibility, particularly as new storage media formats become available. The GetPix Print Station also features a new ergonomic design which consumers will enjoy

Hodges: At PMA we announced version 5.0 software, which enables three key upgrades for retailers to offer their consumers: Enhanced Kodak Perfect Touch technology, which gives consumers the best quality pictures. Proactively offering upsells to consumers to high margin items, such as enlargements and CDs. These are products and services that consumers tell us they want, and they also help our retail partners by providing a higher transaction ring. Ability to enable retailers to offer print from home to store capability. In 2005, we also will launch our remote business management software, which are a set of services offered by Kodak to our retail partners to help drive digital printing at retail by offering our partners ways to help better manage their business.

Dellostetto: The key feature of the Sony PictureStation is high productivity. Our new high-speed, high capacity roll printer offer 8 second 4 x 6 inch printing and 15 second 5 x 7 inch printing. These fast speeds bring digital photofinishing speed and convenience to a new level. Additionally, we are constantly updating our software to maximize retailer revenue. We offer a full range of print sizes, print to print and the ability to create customized discounted print packages. Retailers can utilize these packages to increase print sales. Also, the addition of our Slimline model, at just 17 inches wide, makes Sony's PictureStation product line truly flexible.

Strobel: In 2005, AgfaPhoto launched a new interface for our Image Box kiosk. The new interface makes it easier for the consumer to place an order for digital prints and CD's. The software also allows the retailer to monitor the kiosk from a remote location and gather vital statistics from the Image Box such as number of orders, average number of prints per order, type of media, size of media, times orders are placed, print sizes ordered, etc. This type of information can help the retailer customize marketing plans for their location and even inform them if additional kiosks are required to meet peak time demand. By knowing the types and sizes of media being used, they can also carry the correct digital media for their customers.

What is your company doing to help promote printing at retail?

Tun: When we sell a kiosk, we view the sale as a partnership. We provide our customers with a comprehensive marketing program at no extra cost. If necessary, we'll also work with them to create focused communications that meet their needs and assist with in-store promotions or events. Our focus has always been to help the retailer educate customers on the advantages of kiosk printing. While our kiosk is very easy to use and manage, we provide

Delnawaz: Whitech is heavily promoting the benefits of upselling to retailers and is also encouraging them to advertise the cost of their prints from as low as those offered by major chain stores and drugstores. The indicative pricing structure in Photo.Teller shows how this is possible. For example a retailer's pricing breakdown could be 1-12 prints for 60 cents each, 12-24 prints for 50 cents, 25-50 prints for 40 cents, 51-99 prints for 30 cents, 100+ prints for 20 cents a print. The retailer can advertise along the lines of ‘Digital photos from as low as 20 cents a print' to get customers in the door. Whitech then advises the retailer to rely on the Photo.Teller to upsell features such as index prints, burning the CD/DVD, auto correction, borders, frames, zoom and crop. This way, a retailer's simple print might start at 20 cents, but at the end of the order a customer could be spending 35 cents a print thanks to zoom & crop, sepia, black and white, auto correct etc. If a customer also chooses a CD for $4.50 and an index print for $1, then the retailer wins again in this respect too.

Lawrence : We have worked with a few retailers to offer a POP discussion based upon our "Ying and Yang for Prints." The concept is that consumers have a choice, and each option print at retail or print at home fills a need and a demand. We suggest our retailers offer simple printers and supplies, and they must be willing to explain to consumers the advantages and recommendations from both. If the consumer is going to be bombarded about print at home, we think our retailers have a unique position to discuss, as "Photo Experts," the advantages and disadvantages of print at home versus print at retail.

Oles: Pixel Magic Imaging's history has been one of providing solid, innovative and adaptable solutions to retailers. For many years we've offered private branding services for our entire line of solutions, because we understand that a retailer's trusted brand name is one of the most powerful assets it has. People will often use a Pixel Magic Imaging kiosk and will not immediately realize it, because we are promoting the retailer's brand and not our own. Our company offers a strong ROI proposition, something we highlighted as a speaker at this year's PMA general session (the presentation is available upon request), and we continue providing open-architecture solutions so that we can build around a client's existing infrastructure and work flow requirements. Our Print2Store application for retailers is designed to take advantage of the convenience of online ordering coupled with the quality and ease of picking up completed orders at the retail location.