Magazine Article


What Digital Products Should Minilabs Stock?

Gomez says that choosing the right flash memory format can be intimidating for consumers. It is the responsibility of the retailers and suppliers to educate consumers to help them make informed purchases. For example, consumers can achieve economies by purchasing a multi-slot card adapter that supports multiple card formats and is compatible with a variety of consumer electronics devices, versus a separate reader for each card format. He points out that single-slot (one format) card readers seem to have saturated. "Retailers should encourage their customers to purchase multi-slot readers that can read many of today's wide ranging formats. PCMCIA cards, while still available in the market, sell in very small volumes."

"The appropriate flash memory cards, readers, adapters and accessories need to be readily available for customers to take advantage of newer devices' improved benefits. A POP display should include a wide range of flash memory cards, readers, adapters and accessories. It is wise to sell complementary devices nearby, such as USB flash drives. The drives provide a convenient way for users to transfer and store data—particularly photographs, images, music and games more quickly and easily. Also, cross-promoting flash-based devices like speakers and cables for MP3 players will further encourage customer purchases. Ideally, the POP displays should be located close to the photo processing center or a self-serving, digital photo processing kiosk.

Gomez reports that retailers should partner with suppliers that:

√ Are positioned to offer several flash media devices and accessories in various speeds, form factors and capacities, so users can get the most out of their equipment;

√ Cross-promote several product solutions to meet a range of professional, prosumer and amateur needs;

√ Keep consumers informed on key product solutions by providing educational materials for POP displays;

√ Provide complementary products, like USB Flash Drives to organize, sort and store files;

√ Operate a solid supply chain;

√ Deliver products in a cost-effective manner to the retailer; and

√ Possess a proven track record of providing quality products, service and technical support.

"It is important for retailers to position themselves as a single-source, one-stop shop. As new products are introduced and features are enhanced, selling products that are compatible with virtually all of today's popular digital cameras, handhelds and the latest craze of multi-function electronic devices is essential," Gomez adds.

Include a Good Mix of Products

"Be sure your digital media supplier's offerings include all of the main card formats in a wide selection of memory capacities, at both standard and turbo speeds," offers John Roberts, marketing manager, Consumer Products at AfgaPhoto USA Corp.

"Your digital media supplier should have a high level of brand recognition and provide in-store product displays and packaging whose easy-to-understand communication makes the purchasing decision easy for your customers."

Roberts adds that your digital media supplier's packaging should be modern, high-class and eye-catching to generate strong motivation-to-buy in your customers. The vendor's displays and packaging should:

√ Clearly show the brand logo -- one that builds confidence and simplifies the purchase decision;

 Incorporate a large photographic motif of happy people having fun, which is a key to the reason why most people take pictures;

 Provide clear color coding of the card formats -- important in helping customers and sales personnel find the right product and in preventing mistakes;