Magazine Article


2004 Digital Minilab Roundtable

We are very excited for the 2004 model year. We have taken the key components of our DKS 1500 Digital minilab (the 2003 DIMA award winner) and backward integrated them into two new lower-cost systems. With the introduction of the DKS 1510 and DKS 1530, we’ve taken the very best and made it more affordable for lower-volume retail stores. Other new capabilities for 2004 are three methods of wireless image transfer: Bluetooth, WiFi and infrared. Also, with the 2003 acquisition of the former Gretag central lab equipment division, we have acquired some very exciting intellectual property rights and software components such as “eye_tech” image enhancement. These components are being integrated into our DKS minilab interface to provide even better first-run production while improving print quality through a simple user interface.

Kinsley: In addition to the new d-lab.1, our all-in-one, mid-range digital solution, we have focused on increasing the capacity, speed and flexibility of all of our digital input devices and minilab solutions. While these initiatives lead Agfa’s innovation pipeline for 2004, it doesn’t stop there. Our current product assortment is being enhanced to deliver more comprehensive Internet solutions as well as Bluetooth capability to meet consumer needs. It’s all about putting our retailers in a position to win.

Tereshkow: Konica Minolta will be offering a full portfolio of on-site processing machines in 2004. These will range from a small, compact version specifically designed for the drug/grocery class of trade to the world’s fastest minilab, the Konica Minolta R1 Super 1400, for printing digital files.

Perrine: Kodak will continue to work closely with Noritsu to develop and market digital minilabs that use Kodak DLS Software, and you’ll see some new product announcements this year that build on the joint development and worldwide supply agreement that we signed back in September 2002.

What does the retailer need to do to promote outputting digital at retail?

Phillips: There is general recognition that the retailer is on the front line of educating consumers about their new digital services. This holds true for customers shooting silver halide film as well. Once their film is scanned or “digitized,” it becomes a digital negative—and therefore every customer that walks through the door is a candidate for upselling.

Fleming: We believe that consumer education is vital. Retailers can help to inform customers about digital camera developing options through in-store promotions and local advertising.

Lawrence: First, the retailer has to make a concerted effort to engage their retail customer in the discussion of digital, even if that customer is a “dyed in the wool” film user. If our minilab retailers do not inform their customers of retail digital printing services, those customers may be lost forever. With ongoing “in-store” consumer awareness established, the retailer has exciting new revenue opportunities.

The second step is to offer a full selection of new specialty digital services. Retailers may be surprised how easy it is to offer these expanded services. Examples of “One Button” creative services we offer on our DKS digital minilabs are Traditional Photo Greeting cards: customized text messages, new more colorful Digital Photo Greeting cards, image-integrated 12-month and one-year Photo Calendars, Creative Photo Borders, Photo Composition sheets, Black and White, Sepia and Reversal effects are only a few of the expanded value-added services that can be added to a retailer’s offerings.

Kinsley: Awareness is still the greatest challenge as consumers are being told to print at home. Retailers need to stay focused on delivering the message that they “Provide Choices from Digital.” To their existing customers they need to deliver the message through point-of-sale and in-store advertising, focusing on the little details like making sure their photofinishing bags promote digital printing. In their media advertisements they must again promote quality, flexibility and choice. Consumers want more choices, not less, as they look for the value equation of printing at retail.

Tereshkow: Every retailer needs to remain focused on training their staff about what digital photofinishing really is: an exciting opportunity to expand their business while replacing the profits lost from the declining film business. Retailers need to focus beyond the standard D&P offerings and look toward the value-added services that digital brings to the table. These services include custom greeting cards, specialty prints, package prints and the ability to produce poster prints at retail.

Perrine: We have found several things that are key to generating awareness and trial of DSC printing at retail. Among them are prominent in-store POS materials, effective merchandising, educated clerks who engage consumers in discussion about digital camera printing, and compelling trial programs such as “Buy 10, Get 10” or “20 free prints when you buy a digital camera.”

What is your company doing to help support the retailer?

Phillips: We currently provide two CDs that contain point-of-purchase materials, stuffers and PR releases with the purchase of any of our QSS minilab systems and the new Noritsu digital dry printer (dDP-411). The materials on the CD can be printed on the Noritsu unit or taken to a Quick Print service for production in quantity.

Fleming: We continue to provide our retail partners with POP kits and national advertising campaigns. In addition, our online store locator,, matches customers to stores offering digital printing solutions. We’ve also expanded this site to allow people to print from home using a service called Get the Picture Online Service. Customers upload images to the retailer they’ve selected and order prints, then go to the store to pick them up.

Lawrence: We have positioned our equipment at the most attractive and best value/benefit price. Our position and our objective is to offer the best quality, lowest capital cost, lowest operating cost, best choice digital minilab on the market. We are confident in our position and our objective of providing the best value to the minilab retailer. We are able to make these statements and provide these benefits to our customers because with the purchase of a DKS digital minilab the retailer gets: