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  • How to deal with the digital revolution

    Wonder how the future looks for digital minilab retailers?
    Here is a link that can help you

    http://mlwcom.brinkster.net/News/Digitalretailers.htm

    Team Minilabworld.

  • #2
    How does the future look for the the digital minilab?

    I think there are tremendous opportunities.
    First, take down the sign that says " ONE HOUR PHOTO".
    You are a " digital imaging center". If you still use the wording " one hour photo" in you adds or signs, you are out of business, or soon will be.
    We all realize that film sales and film processing are diminishing drastically. We also know that image capturing is higher in the digital age than in the traditional film era. Yes, many images are not printed at this time, but that will change. The industry experts also tell us that home printing is not growing as it is cumbersome, time consuming and expensive. At the end of the day, the consumer wants quality pictures, convenience and value.

    One of my good friends , who had owned a camera store/ photolab many years ago, later worked for one of the film/paper suppliers, called me 2 years ago with the news that he was opening a photolab ( this is 2002 !!!) I told him he was crazy.

    He designed a shop ( in Southern California) that looks like a " Starbucks coffee shop" with wood floors, comfortable chairs, photographic art on the wall and computer terminals and kiosks around the store. His Noritsu QSS 3011 is behind a wall, not visible to the public, he also has various wide format inkjet printers. In his second year of business he has surpassed all his projections, his sales are higher than what he experienced in his one hour lab 15 years ago ( at 100 rolls of film per day), because the average sale is $ 60.00 versus $ 8.95 for a roll 24 exposure film.

    Yes, this store is in a high income area, but I believe there is a tremendous opportunity for the existing photo imaging retailers, in any environment, to educate their customers. As the consumer buys digital cameras, they are confused about the printing options. The specialty retailer is in the perfect position to educate his customer and show him/her the different printing options.


    There are great opportunities right now, the digital equipment is becoming more affordable, and with the right marketing ideas you can create a very succesfull business model, with some slight changes to your existing photo imaging business. Feel free to contacty me with any questions, ideas or suggestions.
    Happy New Year,
    Bob Noterman


    Comment


    • #3
      How does the future look for the the digital minilab?

      I think there are tremendous opportunities.
      First, take down the sign that says " ONE HOUR PHOTO".
      You are a " digital imaging center". If you still use the wording " one hour photo" in you adds or signs, you are out of business, or soon will be.
      We all realize that film sales and film processing are diminishing drastically. We also know that image capturing is higher in the digital age than in the traditional film era. Yes, many images are not printed at this time, but that will change. The industry experts also tell us that home printing is not growing as it is cumbersome, time consuming and expensive. At the end of the day, the consumer wants quality pictures, convenience and value.

      One of my good friends , who had owned a camera store/ photolab many years ago, later worked for one of the film/paper suppliers, called me 2 years ago with the news that he was opening a photolab ( this is 2002 !!!) I told him he was crazy.

      He designed a shop ( in Southern California) that looks like a " Starbucks coffee shop" with wood floors, comfortable chairs, photographic art on the wall and computer terminals and kiosks around the store. His Noritsu QSS 3011 is behind a wall, not visible to the public, he also has various wide format inkjet printers. In his second year of business he has surpassed all his projections, his sales are higher than what he experienced in his one hour lab 15 years ago ( at 100 rolls of film per day), because the average sale is $ 60.00 versus $ 8.95 for a roll 24 exposure film.

      Yes, this store is in a high income area, but I believe there is a tremendous opportunity for the existing photo imaging retailers, in any environment, to educate their customers. As the consumer buys digital cameras, they are confused about the printing options. The specialty retailer is in the perfect position to educate his customer and show him/her the different printing options.


      There are great opportunities right now, the digital equipment is becoming more affordable, and with the right marketing ideas you can create a very succesfull business model, with some slight changes to your existing photo imaging business. Feel free to contacty me with any questions, ideas or suggestions.
      Happy New Year,
      Bob Noterman


      Comment


      • #4
        The ability to receive online order is the digital lab's feature.
        check out www.picnetonline.com they have great software for it, low cost, no per-click charge, they are offering 30 days free trial, no payment needed. Try it, why not?

        Comment


        • #5
          The ability to receive online order is the digital lab's feature.
          check out www.picnetonline.com they have great software for it, low cost, no per-click charge, they are offering 30 days free trial, no payment needed. Try it, why not?

          Comment


          • #6
            The ability to receive online order is the digital lab's feature.
            check out www.picnetonline.com they have great software for it, low cost, no per-click charge, they are offering 30 days free trial, no payment needed. Try it, why not?

            Comment


            • #7
              I agree with what you have posted, imagingsolutions, there are tremendous oportunities opening up, particularly it seems in the 'personalisation' side of the industry.
              BUT. I have noticed, as more of my competitors discard there old analogue printers in favour of a new digilab, the demand for analogue printing is growing. We run both, as we have contracts with certain galleries whom will only accept analogue prints. I have tried and tried to make a digi print to match an analogue print, with no success. Joe public could probably not tell the difference (and looking at the over saturated prints from my competitors, would probably preffer the digi prints)but the proffessional and keen amateur can see the difference.
              Whilst a lot of proffessionals have 'gone digital', many cannot afford the top of the range equipment, therefore are stuck with the limitations of what they can afford, and for certain jobs film is still king, and will be for years to come. This is now well on the way to becoming a niche market, and as such we would be foolish to discard this aspect of the trade. I am being asked so often if we still print 'without scaning' that I am considering a banner that advertises the fact that we can still print 'the old fashioned way' as well as digitaly.
              Food for thought.

              Comment


              • #8
                I agree with what you have posted, imagingsolutions, there are tremendous oportunities opening up, particularly it seems in the 'personalisation' side of the industry.
                BUT. I have noticed, as more of my competitors discard there old analogue printers in favour of a new digilab, the demand for analogue printing is growing. We run both, as we have contracts with certain galleries whom will only accept analogue prints. I have tried and tried to make a digi print to match an analogue print, with no success. Joe public could probably not tell the difference (and looking at the over saturated prints from my competitors, would probably preffer the digi prints)but the proffessional and keen amateur can see the difference.
                Whilst a lot of proffessionals have 'gone digital', many cannot afford the top of the range equipment, therefore are stuck with the limitations of what they can afford, and for certain jobs film is still king, and will be for years to come. This is now well on the way to becoming a niche market, and as such we would be foolish to discard this aspect of the trade. I am being asked so often if we still print 'without scaning' that I am considering a banner that advertises the fact that we can still print 'the old fashioned way' as well as digitaly.
                Food for thought.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Just as an adendum to my previous post;

                  There does seem to be a move by non-proffessional Photographers who wish to become proffessional, to use desktop printers to sell their work. This is causing all sorts of problems and very bad rep. for the trade in general. When I discover a misguided soul, I get them to show me their 'best' print, and then print silver halide from the same file. The difference in quality is invariably stunning, those who cannot see the difference just aren't worth worrying about as they will eventualy run out of people to scam.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    An article I found on the net:

                    What Digital Products Should Minilabs Stock?

                    What should minilabs/camera stores stock as far as digital media cards, accessories, cards and readers? What products are most popular? How do you sell them? These are the questions many of our readers are asking themselves as they look at new digital accessories to stock when replacing film on their peg boards. In order to get a better handle on this market, we went straight to digital accessory manufacturers and asked them for some advice for our readers on what to stock to possibly provide them with a checklist of products they should consider when ordering products from their vendors.

                    Wide Variety is the Key

                    "Staying ahead of market trends and offering a wide variety of flash memory cards and accessories is the most effective way for photo retailers to capitalize on current and upcoming selling seasons," says Jim Gustke, general manager, marketing at Lexar. "The enormous and rapid growth in the consumer digital photography category has resulted in a very real need for retailers to service photo-finishing customers, but also offers digital imaging accessories such as flash memory cards and card readers."

                    Gustke feels that retailers need to maintain alignment with current digital camera trends and should consider carrying a wide variety of flash memory cards, including all popular format capacities such as CompactFlash, Secure Digital (SD) and MemoryStick.

                    "In addition, the retailer should stock cards that address both consumer and professional photography categories. According to analysts at IDC, the most rapidly growing segment of the digital photography market is mid to high-level digital SLRs. Users of those cards look for higher-end memory cards, which suggests that both consumer and professional cards will be popular at retail in the months ahead," he reports.

                    Gustke adds, "Beyond photography, however, compact-sized flash memory cards are more popular than ever as removable storage media for cell phones, PDAs and hand-held gaming devices. As a result, retailers should plan to offer cards in a variety of mobile device formats such as miniSD (a smaller version of Secure Digital Card) and multimedia card (MMC), another popular format. Memory cards are not the only desired accessory at retail, in particular, with the consumer audience."

                    "Popular accessories include card readers, for easily transferring captured images and stored information from the user's flash memory card to their destination computer, and JumpDrive USB flash drives, simple-to-use, thumb-sized storage devices for carrying images and information wherever the user may go," he concludes.

                    Stock Products to Match Your Customers' Needs

                    "In the selling channel, labs are experiencing increasing demand to carry digital media at point of sale. There is also discussion of many labs needing merchandising support to help customers with the selection and purchase of digital media products to appropriately match their needs," points out Wendy Lecot, project marketing manager, Kingston Digital Media.

                    Lecot says the current shelf mix of CompactFlash cards to Secure Digital cards is running 50-50, with a combination of standard and higher performing lines for both. The call for CF cards remains steady, she reports, since it is an important component to older point-and-shoot digital cameras and mid-to high-end SLR digital cameras.

                    "Interestingly, a transition to SD cards has been evidenced for some of the newer point-and-shoot digital cameras and SLR models (including the Nikon D50 and Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II cameras). Demand for larger capacity (1-GB and greater) cards is strong, while the 512-MB cards continue to be popular with many mainstream customers. The channel's buying criteria for cards is a combination of quality, speed rating and price."

                    Effective POS Materials

                    "The consumer electronics industry continues to be a bright spot in the economy with sales expected to reach $125.7 billion in 2005, an 11% jump over the $113.5 billion dollars sold in 2004," says Greg Rhine, senior vice president of Retail Sales SanDisk Corporation. "Demand for removable storage cards such as CompactFlash, Memory Stick, SD and xD Picture Cards continues to expand as demand for digital cameras, camera phones and other digital devices including MP3 players, USB flash drives and even portable game players continues to increase," he points out.

                    "How can minilabs and camera retailers take advantage of this trend? Since consumers are often confused and intimidated by the wide range of card formats currently available, retailers who make it easy for consumers to purchase the right card can increase memory card sales and keep customers coming back. Effective Point of Sale (POS) merchandising that is jointly developed with the memory card supplier can be particularly effective. For example, a consumer electronics retailer may choose a particular POS display that highlights key product categories such as digital cameras, mobile phones and MP3 players," Rhine reports.

                    "The same approach could replace the merchandising system in other areas of the store for continuity. A well-organized POS display is the result of a clear and well-executed category management plan that makes it easy for consumers to find what they need to purchase. Retailers should keep in mind the importance of incremental sales since many customers have a variety of electronic devices that require memory cards, and seeing a well-stocked display can easily lead to additional sales. For the most effective POS merchandising, it is crucial to choose a memory card supplier with a wide range of products in the most popular electronics categories such as digital cameras, USB flash drives, MP3 players, games and cell phones," he concludes.

                    Technology Driving Digital Products

                    "With the emergence of higher performance digital cameras and other multi-functional devices, the digital media market continues to rapidly evolve. For camera store and minilab retailers, deciding what digital media devices and accessories to stock is a challenge. It is pivotal that they consistently evaluate this ever-changing market for consumer demands, new product development and price fluctuations in the semiconductor industry," says Anthony Gomez, vice president of sales and marketing for PNY Technologies.

                    "The development of cell phones equipped with unique features such as digital cameras, video capture, MP3 players, video games, text messaging and e-mail is driving the need for smaller form factors. It is anticipated that miniSD, RS-MMC and Transflash will gain popularity when expandable, mobile phones flourish. This will happen after the mega pixel requirement for camera phones increases and cost declines. The industry was hoping the memory card demand for the cell phone business would hit in 2005; it now looks more like 2006 and a forward opportunity. Moreover, no universal card standard has been adopted by the industry, so the format of choice for cell phone manufacturers will most likely come down to cost."

                    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#151;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;

                     Clearly show memory capacity, which speeds up the decision process;

                     Communicate the product's easy-to-understand classification -- its simple positioning as "digital film."

                     Put an emphasis on recording speed, with clear identification of high-speed cards.

                    Archiving Images is the Key

                    "The switch to digital gives camera stores and minilabs new opportunities to sell profitable accessories. Delkin Devices has a new product, eFilm Archival Gold CD-Rs, which is a perfect fit," says Duke Doudna, marketing specialist at Delkin. "What is the universal thing people grab when they run out of a burning house? Irreplaceable photos! Nowadays photos are kept on disk drives (which can crash), or cheap CD-Rs, which deteriorate. eFilm Archival Gold CD-Rs are shown to last 300 years in accelerated aging tests. Best of all, Delkin only makes its museum quality Archival Gold CD-Rs available to camera stores and minilabs. Your customers can't get the assurance their precious memories are safely stored from the big box stores - only from you."

                    Doudna says that Delkin's eFilm line of digital camera accessories boosts a number of products that shoppers will buy on impulse. "Our popular line of eFilm products (The Camera Store Brand) enhance the digital camera experience, and are distributed worldwide. Customers who bring a memory card in for printing often want to pick up a spare. Battery and memory card totes are also high profit impulse items for retailers. No one likes having to fish around in a camera bag for a battery or memory card, and totes keep them together, safe and easy to find. In addition, another big sale perennial item is rechargeable batteries."

                    Don't Forget the Batteries

                    As cameras shift from film to digital, power life becomes vital. About 50% of lower end digital cameras use AA size batteries. "For extended life, Nickel Metal Hydride batteries offer long run time, have the advantage of being rechargeable and are recyclable," says Mary Koral of SANYO Energy. "GE/SANYO currently offers a 2500 mAh AA battery with a new structural negative electrode material called "Superlattice Alloy" for higher capacity and higher performance. These batteries offer over 15 times more digital camera shots than Alkaline, throw-away batteries. Another important accessory is the battery charger. Old chargers could take overnight to charge the batteries. This is not useful to the photo enthusiast. GE/SANYO offers a new one hour charger and even a mini-travel charger that can fit in a pocket or camera case."

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      i think the future of the photo lab business is in gas stations and supermarkets. i think soon they will have kiosks everywhere, and you will receive the pictures in the mail.
                      one central location will print and there will be 1000 of outlets.
                      only the best will survive.
                      the photo lab will not die, it just will get smaller.
                      what do you think?

                      Comment

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