Magazine Article


State of the Industry 2006 I

Progessive retailers will search though these many offerings and bring the new products & services to their customers. This coupled with a warm, inviting POS is the key to success.

Durst Image Technology U.S., LLC
Grow Your Range of Offerings
A. Ron Waters, president and CEO

Imaging systems exist today that can produce virtually every type of digital image, and do it in the retail “over the counter” setting. The problem: They usually aren’t in the retailing setting—they’re in a photofinishing lab or photo studio. If photo retailers hope to grow, they’ll have to “grow” their range of digital imaging products.

With the advent of the large-format minilab and photo album system, photo retailers can print panoramics, sepia restorations, back-lit transparencies, picture books and other high-margin products as easily as they print wallet-size pictures. But this business-building output has largely been left to the “professionals” or treated as a cumbersome specialty item.

Photo retailers, with a change in their thinking and to their business models, can tap into these potentially lucrative areas. The new imaging systems are the missing pieces of the puzzle. Many retailers today understand digital workflow, operate online ordering systems, have regular contact with consumers familiar with the new digital imaging options, and need to offset the fall-off in 4x6 prints. All that’s needed are the right tools.

Photo retailers will always have a primary need for the standard minilab. But when it’s time to add equipment, it makes sense to expand their capabilities as they expand their operations—especially now that they can.

Eastman Kodak Company
The Empowered Industry
Michael Clay, Vice President and General Manager, Film & Photofinishing Group, Americas Region

Digital cameras, scanners, inkjet printers, software, digital output—the digital workflow has drastically changed the way in which photographers and labs alike do business. But one constant remains for the men and women in this industry—the power of the image.

Customers have long sought out photographers to achieve a certain look and feel—the romance of wedding, the drama of world conflicts, the excitement of a sporting event. In an “AND” world, where photographers shoot film and digital alike, they are supported with the best that traditional products offer and enticed with the advents in new digital technology. The end result is empowerment—to capture, shoot, explore. In this “AND” world, it makes sense for photographers, labs and dealers to continue to support the full spectrum of imaging products.

Yet this capture can only achieve the desired impact when combined with spectacular output. In today’s world, the labs can extend their reach, both in terms of geographic range and creative output. The image now extends far beyond the 4x6 in the customer’s hometown. Labs can bring it to photobooks, posters, playing cards and t-shirts. They can produce museum quality images on archival paper for photographers three states away. Those labs that embrace the world beyond the 4x6 are poised to succeed.

Today, there are no boundaries. Photographers and labs alike have the golden opportunity to re-create and re-define the parameters of their value—to each other and to the customer. In the end, it’s about the images. Those images that enrich, excite, illustrate, and inform our world.

EK Success
Scrapbooking – A New Profit Line
Matt Mustachio, vice president, Marketing

In the 19 years that I have been associated with the photographic industry, I have seen a tremendous evolution take place. When I first joined Ricoh in 1987, the world revolved around 35mm SLRs, point-and-shoots were beginning to make inroads, and the independent photo retailer had a strong market foothold with several “profit lines” available. Since then, camera sales have grown from 15.5 million units in 1994…peaking at 24.9 million cameras in 2004…and have since declined with 2006 estimates at 23.7 million units; the number of independent photo retailers have consolidated and declined, and film cameras have dropped from 100% of all camera sales to only 13% with the remaining 87% estimated to be digital camera sales this year*. This shift to digital has resulted in a growth in mass market camera sales, a strain on independents looking for the new “profit line” in their stores and consumers storing the majority of their pictures on flash cards, or in their computers, rather than printing them.

What has not changed during this evolution, however, is the need for consumers to preserve their memories. Consumers need to print out their digital pictures. With genealogy on the rise, perhaps partly due to the uncertainty taking place in the world today, increased interest in scrapbooking has offered the photo retailer a new source of “profit line” to carry in their stores. This past PMA Show showed a huge interest on the part of photo retailers in carrying scrapbooking products in their stores. By merchandising an assortment of scrapbooking products in a 4-8 ft planogrammed section of your store using spinner racks and a gondola, photo retailers have a new product category offering the ability to produce a healthy revenue and margin stream, as well as giving consumers a reason to make repeat visits since scrapbooking materials are consumables that need regular replenishment. Why have your customers purchase their photo products in your store and then walk to another retailer to buy their scrapbooking needs? Consider adding this new “profit line” today.

* Source: PMA Marketing Research

Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc.
Promote The Culture of Photography
Hiro Sakai, Senior Executive Vice President and General Manager Imaging Division

Digital technology provides ever more photo taking options and opportunities and the number of images captured continues to rapidly increase. There are now more printing options as well, including home, online and retail and, at retail, prints in minutes, in an hour, or in two days. Digital also offers the possibility to produce prints and other photographic items that are more personalized, more emotional, more creative and which provide more enjoyment and added value. Retailers and manufacturers have invested significantly in the printing infrastructure to make all of this convenient and easy for the consumer. We should, individually and as an industry, promote printing in all its forms.

In the coming months, we anticipate that digital cameras will continue to improve with new technologies, such as face detection, to help people get even better pictures. There will also be increased availability and variety of photo books, scrapbooks, templates, etc., to further increase the creativity and joy consumers can experience in using their images in an increasing number of ways.