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2004 Digital Kiosk Supplier Roundtable



Klok: Kiosks not only help draw first-time users, they also drive repeat consumer traffic. Sometimes, though, there are inefficiencies to kiosks—long lines, for example. We know retailers want improved productivity and efficiency, and we've developed a product that will help meet those goals.

Lent: Kodak Picture Maker kiosks are adaptable, expandable and upgradable. Therefore, retailers can take advantage of emerging opportunities without having to totally reinvest in new equipment. For example, Kodak introduced five-second printing, which positively improves consumer usage. Any retailer who has a Kodak Picture Maker G3 can install this upgrade and offer consumers this benefit. Camera phones are the fastest-growing consumer electronic device ever, with 500 million expected worldwide by 2007, 85 million within the U.S. This presents a huge opportunity to drive incremental digital printing.

Leach: Kiosks can provide add-on sale opportunities. If the retailer has the capabilities to move beyond prints and enlargements, kiosks can serve as a gateway to new high-margin products by making services available at the point of purchase.

"Wireless capabilities are a new tool to harness more business," adds DigitalPortal's Lawrence.

Briggs: Kiosks are a fantastic way to personally touch customers and get them excited about getting quality digital prints from their cameras. Pixel Magic's photo kiosks offer a variety of simple and useful features such as red-eye removal, automatic density adjustments and image enhancements. All provide additional sales opportunities and create positive word-of-mouth advertising. Our kiosks are also designed to further promote the retailer's brand and reinforce the idea that the local photo store is the best place to get both film and digital services.

Lawrence: True "out-of-the-box" thinking needs to be at the front of every business plan that retailers explore. Wireless capabilities are a new tool to harness more business. Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and infrared are each specific applications that will cater to a different hardware type, location or customer demographic. What if the retailer installed a Wi-Fi kiosk for print fulfillment in a center section of the mall, or created a booster to reach the offices in a high rise? There are many office campuses and company cafeterias that have captive customers during work and break times. We need to remember that we are a "drive-thru," no-hassle society of buyers.

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

Colcord: Retailers need to invest in systems designed to provide their customers with the speed and simplicity that digital enables. Then they must build awareness and generate trial to educate consumers and retain them as part of the retailers' digital photo franchise.

"As consumers buy into the digital technology more and more, they will need guidance on what to do with those pictures once they have them on their camera cards," says Mitsubishi's Achey.

Achey: We feel that there must be more education to the consumer regarding their options for digital printing. As consumers buy into the digital technology more and more, they will need guidance on what to do with those pictures once they have them on their camera cards.

Leo: First, the retailer needs to embrace and commit to providing such services and solutions. Those that have print at retail services need to focus their marketing on it. Those that don't, especially any digital camera retailer, need to acquire and deliver print capabilities as soon as possible. This is similar to how the airline industry has benefitted tremendously with their ticketing kiosks. This success came about through mass adoption by virtually all airlines deploying kiosks at all major airports. This industry movement was also supported by a huge investment of staffing to provide one-on-one interaction with kiosk users during the early phases. This process can provide a good model for the photo kiosk business.

Lent: There are a few key questions retailers need to ask themselves to leverage the approaching mainstreaming of digital imaging. Are my shoppers aware that I have digital printing capabilities? Remember digital printing is at its tipping point—are you using marketing and advertising to generate awareness that you are participating in this new space? Don't assume that having the equipment alone is enough to generate awareness—we learned in the Atlanta test that the average digital user sees a Picture Maker in-store four times before they use it.

Is my staff well-trained? An inattentive clerk can do just as much damage as a poorly merchandised store—invest accordingly in getting your people up to speed.

Am I protecting my core? The majority of your volume will come from your loyal users. Determine who they are and retain them. Increasing customer loyalty by as little as 5% can boost profitability anywhere between 25% and 85%.

"If digital cameras are part of their inventory, retailers could include a coupon for digital prints with every camera purchased in order to have customers return," says Noritsu's Leach.

Leach: Retailers could employ a variety of tactics, but any strategy should focus on building a relationship with their customers. Some retailers are producing booklets for their customers that talk about the benefits of professional photofinishing and how to take better digital pictures. If digital cameras are part of their inventory, retailers could include a coupon for digital prints with every camera purchased in order to have customers return. Industry research suggests that many digital camera users are taking pictures and choosing to store rather than print them.

"In-store merchandising is necessary, but so is external outreach in the way of local newspaper ads and coupons, radio promotions or inserts," reports Sony's Johnson.

Johnson: Retailers must first educate their customers on the kiosk printing option, but the true key to success in this market is to drive trial so that people can experience the benefits. Our research shows that once consumers try the PictureStation kiosk, the repeat usage rate is close to 80%. In-store merchandising is necessary, but so is external outreach in the way of local newspaper ads and coupons, radio promotions or inserts.

Briggs: Educating consumers so they know that there is a simple alternative to printing their photos at home available at their favorite photo store. And making sure that we (the retail market) find ways to make digital camera printing enticing, easy and fun.


   







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