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Imaging Distributor Update 2005: Adjusting to a Rapidly Changing Industry
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"Camera phones are in the hands of teenagers now, who are truly pushing the market for speed, ease of use, dependability, and massive storage capacity," he continued. "Distributors such as WYNIT are now making photo dealers aware of things like consumer electronic products and showing them how they too can profit from a broader product line offering."

Looking into his crystal ball, Richichi said WYNIT will change as the needs arise. "It's hard to tell what all of these changes will be. But certainly, the consumer is becoming better educated every day with his access to so many sales outlets and the internet is a major contributor here. The way we distribute and what we distribute will change to meet the needs of all of our resellers."

You Say You Want a Revolution?
The industry has seen a digital revolution, according to Samuel Golowinski, director of Marketing Development at Brooklyn, New York's Zreiss. "People are no longer weary of digital media and imaging," he said. "Seven- or 8 MP digital cameras produce 35mm film camera quality. However, I've seen the trends before. Remember when the video market exploded in the 80s? VCRs were the big thing then.

"But of course, with the information superhighway, the world is wide open," he added. "That means information is readily available and can be updated immediately. So we have to be on top of our game. We have to hit a home run. Dealers don't have tons of time to do research. That's why we're here. Our website can provide them with the information they need to sell the product and we update it within 24 hours. To further educate retailers, we have annual trade shows. We even offer demos in their stores. We send a newsletter every Monday morning. Education is everything. We also offer price protection for our products."

Golowinski also mentioned how camera phones are exploding. He said the changing nature of digital has sped up considerably during the past number of years. "Everyone is linked to pictures," he said. "Pictures are a part of our life. And camera phones make it easier." Of course, camera phones don't offer the resolution and many of the features that even a decent consumer digital camera provides. But that too can change rapidly. It's certainly something distributors will be watching closely.

Zreiss is sure to be one. No matter what obstacles are thrown in its way, Golowinski said Zreiss will go with the flow in the future. "We don't invent the wheel, we go with it," he said. "There will be changes, and we will adapt with them. But not everything will change. Remember when they said the computer would mark the end of pens and paper? It hasn't happened yet."

"Also, there's always the fear that national retailers will take over the smaller ones," he added. "I don't see it. This business is all about personal rapport. You need good salespeople to explain the products. You can't sell a $500 camera because it has a nice box." ptn


   







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