Sony Electronics (www.sony.com) was making its new
next-generation software standard on its PictureStation
photofinishing systems, along with showing new options in kiosk
design. An array of features will translate into a system more
customized to a retailer’s particular environment, which can
afford increased traffic and profits. These include wireless
credit-card capabilities, more choices in scalable kiosk designs,
an interface on which customized promotional packages can be
created, additional language options and a photo library feature.
In turn, customers will enjoy such user-friendly enhancements as
new text and border options, automatic color adjustment, retouch
features and faster printing.
Whitech Software Solutions (www.whitechsolutions.com) had the Photo.Teller PT-2000 kiosk at its booth. Features include a Digital Control Module with Bluetooth and infrared capabilities, as well as the option to print images immediately on a dye-sublimation printer or through most digital minilabs. Retailers can order these countertop kiosks in a variety of colors and configurations to suite their printing environment. The PT-2000 accepts images from digital media cards, CDs, DVDs or wireless transfer. Customers can also scan prints and accept orders for conventional film processing, reprints and enlargements.
Retailers Examine Kiosk Kraze at PMA
by Bill SchiffnerNoble has six Polaroid kiosks, one in each of his stores in and around the South Boston area.
A number of successful retailers in the kiosk business addressed
attendees at a mini-breakfast session during PMA. In the session
"Kiosk Krazy," speakers Brian Noble of Noble Industries, Boston,
MA; Mitch Goldstone of 30 Minute Photo Etc., Irvine, CA; and
Jeffery Wilson, JW Party Pictures, Culver City, CA, shared their
self-service photofinishing models and discussed how kiosks are
providing them with new revenue opportunities.
Noble has six Polaroid kiosks, one in each of his stores in and around the South Boston area: "We have a large commuter base, and they like the speed of the Polaroid unit. Polaroid was a viable solution for us because speed is everything. Speed is attracting the users. Traffic went up dramatically when we installed Polaroid. He is also finding out that once his customers use the kiosk, they come back. "Our customers are repeat customers. An in-store survey reported that 95% of them said they would use it again. It’s so easy to use. After a quick walkthrough, they are up and ready to go."
One other trend Noble noticed was that you really need to have a number of kiosks in your location to handle traffic if you promote the service properly: "We have found out that more than one kiosk is necessary to complete all the orders that customers need to do. In one of our stores, right next to the Polaroid is a Kodak Picture Maker and an Agfa e-box. It gives our customers more choices of what they want to do with their images."
Goldstone was one of the early successful adopters of digital, and he spoke about tools you need for profiting from a photo kiosk, including the proper promotion, marketing and couponing. "We need to promote and customize our services," he said. "Customization is the new buzzword. And today, along with online services, ‘do-it yourself’ photo kiosks are the newest tool for creating entire new growth centers. Online orders move customers to in-store pickup, allowing the chance for additional sales."
Wilson, who owns an event photography business as well as a retail lab, looked at how the networking and mobile aspects of kiosks have helped his business: "Kiosks are everywhere, and not just in our industry. The world is really changing, and we need to embrace the technology and bring the digital business to us—the kiosk is a viable solution."
Wilson suggested that retailers should partner with other stores and businesses to place self-service imaging kiosks in more locations: "Kiosks can be networked quite easily, so you could have set-ups in hotels, malls, other retail establishments and office buildings." He said profit-sharing with the other businesses can provide quite a bit of extra income: "If you could have five kiosks out there in remote locations, you could earn $99,000 in income for one year! And that’s just a conservative figure."
He then fielded a question from the audience concerning kiosk setup in public locations and possible vandalism. "We haven’t had any problems with vandalism in public locations," he said. "We have a number of ePoint PhotoGenie units out there. You just install the paper and then you can run maintenance checks on the kiosks through our software we have on our home computer back at the store."
He added that the kiosk also comes into play with his event photography business. "I sometimes take one of my countertop units with me along with a dye-sub printer to some of my shoots," he concluded.