Del Frate has been successful with The Foto Stop. "People are taking pictures and don't know what to do. Digital photography is a whole new experience for people. They think they can print at home, but don't realize that home inkjet printing isn't archival till we tell them so," he says. "They usually don't have a good experience printing at home. Or at Wal-Mart or Costco, because although some of the photofinishing equipment may be the same, such as the CT stations, the software is different, not as feature-rich, so they can't do as much. It has fewer options, because those stores want to get people in and out faster."
Cardinal Camera & Video Center
Kurt Seelig, VP of Cardinal Camera & Video Center remodeled his Lansdale, Pennsylvania, store last February, dedicating a portion of the floorspace to the Photo Lounge. He had a long table designed that Lucidiom kiosks sit on. In the store, there are eight kiosks: seven of them are APMs and the other is a Luci. He has one of the Lucidiom kiosks hooked up to an instant printer, and the rest are networked to a Noritsu minilab. Among the kiosk units are a variety of products on display. And, of course, there are comfortable chairs for customers to sit in while they work on their digital printing.
Seelig says he designed the Photo Lounge area after hearing of other retailers' successes with a dedicated area for their customer's leisurely printing. Seelig has seen a "big difference" since adding the Photo Lounge to Cardinal Camera. Prior to the redesign, there were a couple of standalone kiosks in the store.
One of the ways that Seelig promotes the use of the kiosks for digital printing is via Cardinal's classes. After the classes, his staff will coach customers on the use of the kiosks in the Photo Lounge—they're a captive audience, but they also learn how they can create prints and other gifts from their digital images.
Seelig puts out coffee and has also added a kids' play area. He's had customers working in Cardinal's Photo Lounge for hours. And, he says, multiple units are key. It is more profitable the longer customers stay—and with multiple units, customers aren't lined up, waiting their turn.
Seelig has another store, located in Philadelphia, which happens to be named the PHOTOLounge. At that location, there are four units: three APMs, and a Luci. Seelig explains that this location was designed to take advantage of digital and sells a range of camera and photo equipment, as well as photofinishing for the consumer and professional.
Arista Camera Specialists
Ron LoPinto, owner and president of Bronxville, New York–based Arista Camera Specialists, offers his customers the use of four Whitech Photo.Teller kiosks arranged on a picnic table in addition to two standalone Kodak Picture Makers. Arista's clientele consists of a broad range of local consumers, professional photographers, and industrial accounts.
Early on, Arista had installed a smaller Fujifilm unit, but over time upgraded to a Picture Maker; and with the introduction of a next-generation Picture Maker, added a second Kodak kiosk.
The four Whitech Photo.Teller kiosk units—connected to a Digital Portal minilab—were added 18 months ago, and are situated on a bright blue picnic table. The decision to utilize the picnic table in the store was made because it fit perfectly in the allotted amount of space that Arista had available. LoPinto says, "We wanted something that would fit in the space and be conducive to the customers working comfortably." He adds, "On many occasions, I'll pass through the store when people are using the Photo.Tellers." Many times he'll see moms at work printing with their children in a stroller right next to them.
Some will stay for hours, but LoPinto says most don't print a lot of photos. "For the most part, they're very selective," he says. That's the downside to digital, because consumers don't need to print every single image they shoot. He explains, [we're] all aware that with film, consumers bought a roll, and had to pay for processing and printing of each image, regardless if they came out well or not. With digital, they can be selective, and only print the ones they want to. Film sales and D&P were once the mainstay of the camera store, but that's all changed with digital. LoPinto worries that there will be an entire generation who have no hard-copy prints of their memories, because all they do is store images on computers when they ought to be printing. The easier the solution is to get people printing, the better for everyone.