This past year, we've witnessed the camera phone market explode. Just as we've made it easy for consumers to share and print images from their digital cameras, we need to make it equally as easy for consumers to do the same from their camera phones.
So where do we go from here? HP's vision is to provide consumers access to their photos anytime, anywhere they want. As part of that, it comes down to offering consumers ultimate CHOICE.
Offering Solutions To Your Customer's Needs
Doug Pircher, VP/GM, International Supplies
The ever-increasing developments of the 21st Century have forced retailers, more than ever before, to learn to adapt. The business models of our parents' era have been obliterated by technology. The venerable photographic manufacturers of our youth have been forced to try to reinvent themselves or die. Digital technologies, niche marketing, and just-in-time inventories have replaced the old standards.
Photo dealers and minilab owners must embrace the new technologies and niche markets that will enable them to differentiate themselves from the mass merchants. They need to learn to recognize the new power companies entering the industry such as HP and Kingston Technology. At the same time, they must differentiate themselves by offering services such as photo kiosks in a comfortable environment, with an eclectic assortment of frames and scrapbooking materials. Scrapbookers take pictures, and have needs that photo stores or minilabs can serve. In short, photo dealers and minilab owners should think of their businesses as solutions to their customers' needs, rather than thinking they sell cameras and accessories, or develop film and make prints.
At International Supplies, we attempt to guide our photo store and minilab customers into the new technologies and niche markets by leveraging their buying power with us, keep their inventories low, and turning the merchandise. At the same time, we advise them to embrace digital by stocking memory cards and flash drives. They can combine these with traditional film and scrapbooking supplies from 3M Scotch on the same order.
The independent photo dealers and minilab owners are the backbone of this industry. It is the responsibility of the manufacturers and distributors to recognize this, and enable the independent owners to seize the opportunities of the new century and thrive.
Motivate And Educate Your Staff
Dave Owen, GM, Consumer Video, JVC
A major challenge for today's photo dealer is to find a way to effectively compete with the national chains. While large chains have been a factor for many years, their market influence has grown substantially along with the mainstreaming of digital technologies. For the independent or small, local chain, the key is to position yourself as the knowledgeable alternative to the under-trained sales personnel who typically staff the national chains.
To accomplish this, retailers must find ways to motivate and retain their best sales people. This can include everything from spiffs to sales achievement incentives. It is absolutely critical that the independent retailer keep his sales staff well-trained. That means both on the specific products sold and on the newest technologies. In fact, it's the independent who should be aggressively positioning his store as the place to learn about the newest, cutting-edge technologies. With each new innovation that comes to market, consumers will be looking for someone who they can trust to clearly explain its benefits. That's certainly what we're looking for in rolling out our new generation of Everio hard drive camcorders. Here's a new concept, something consumers haven't seen before, but it has clear benefits that the consumer will quickly catch on to with the help of a knowledgeable sales person. That's a task tailor-made for the independent.
Consumers Doing More With Their Images
Todd Schrader, Senior VP, Sales & Marketing, Konica Minolta Photo Imaging U.S.A., Inc.
As predicted last year, the impact of digital imaging continues to make its presence felt through every aspect of the imaging industry. The radical changes in the industry have led to great opportunities in both digital camera sales as well as in the printing of images.
In digital camera sales, the real profit opportunity lies in the replacement market. Industry estimates are showing that over half of all digital cameras sold will be replacement purchases.
An overview of the replacement market reveals that 30% of replacement digital camera buyers want a more feature-rich ultra-compact model, 35% want longer zooms, and 12% now want a DSLR. And they're not buying sophisticated camera systems at mass merchants, but at specialty retail stores. Here at Konica Minolta, our camera line-up was built to drive business within the replacement market.
We're also noticing now that more women are buying and using digital cameras including DSLR models than previous years, and that's positively affecting everyone's business. In fact, the DSLR market explosion will also have a positive impact on sales for high-end specialty retailers. No retailer can afford to overlook any segment of this fast growing consumer base.
The other great opportunity is in the printing of images. The great news is that consumers are realizing how important it is not only to capture their images, but also to print and share their images as well. With 50% of households now using digital cameras, consumers have become more sophisticated and want to do more with their digital images. For example, scrapbooking remains an extremely fast-growing and popular hobby in part because it reflects the lifestyles of those people involved in it. In addition, with consumers using higher megapixel cameras, the profitable enlargement market is exploding. And whether those prints are homemade inkjet prints or self-serve kiosk, or the result of retail photofinishing, specialty dealers need to leverage printmaking as a good opportunity for increased traffic to their stores, and profit to their bottom line.
Out of change, great opportunities always arise. Digital imaging turned our industry on its head and created new opportunities for profit. We at Konica Minolta are fully committed to helping our retail partners capitalize on those profitable opportunities with our digital minilabs, Photo Link kiosks, inkjet papers, and digital cameras.