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david t
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I have been working with a group of lab owners in the capital that are part of a chain to find ways of improving their business. By chance we stumbled upon this site and found they are not alone (apparently they had been told they were!) It seems that this industry has the same issues and should be working much closer to re-invent themselves. I'm sure that what I'm saying is nothing new but many of those are getting by day by day, not realising there are resources like this to help them.

Back to our situation I'm interested to hear if anyone has added products or services that have made a dramatic turnaround in their business. It seems that lots of photo shops are diversifying but what is actually bring you in more customers and most importantly - profit?

Jane

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Londongal, I'm not sure which chain you're working with but can guess. When we got into the business over 20 years ago I remember a Noritsu rep taking me to see one of their shops which was very impressive. A few months ago I was in London and decided to have a look around the photo shops. Surprise, their stores were exactly the same (counters, lights, displays - even stock) Only difference were the addition of a few kiosks and of course a digital lab. Point I'm making is that the industry has changed but some within it have not. You wouldn't find to many other retailers that have store interiors remaining the same over that period.

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Some in our trade haven't changed at all. They're not quaint - just tired. If it's the shops I think it is then the biggest problem is that customers think they are still mainly film orientated. True about the interiors. They must have got their money's worth out of those counters by now.

We have added different services like photobooks and posters which have had a good effect but not dramatic. There is no product we have introduced that has been an overnight success but we have had some good results with running different promotions. Customers seem to like getting a deal and when we have an offer it always works well.

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Thank you for your ideas. Photobooks are one thing the group is not doing so I'm going to find out more about these. I have had some made for myself using an online service and the results are good. All my friends loved them so it's an obvious product they should be selling. If anyone has any tips on these I'm keen to hear. As far as promotions are concerned the Franchise does run these but they are more for branding. What kind of promotions were successful Kiosk Guy?

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We have just started a new marketing programme. The first promotion we ran was a buy two, get one free enlargment offer which was very good and improved the numbers we were doing. This month we are running a spin the wheel for discount promotion which has also been successful.

I think photobooks will become more popular as customers understand we can do them. Up till recently we hadn't been promoting them properly but now we are doing some displays and merchandising which is improving sales.

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londongal

"Back to our situation I'm interested to hear if anyone has added products or services that have made a dramatic turnaround in their business. It seems that lots of photo shops are diversifying but what is actually bring you in more customers and most importantly - profit?"

Jane

You said you are working for a group of stores, have you any ideas you can share with us that has been successful in your group?

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As I only meet with them once a week I don't have a full update but can say that poster prints off their large printers have been successful in lifting sales. They have also seen sales growth in passports by promoting the fact they do all countries. We are getting together again as a group on Tuesday so I will find out more then.

Another question, do your suppliers have promotional material you can use? Seems photo shops all have quite old posters and displays up which makes them look dated.

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We opted out of a Franchise and have gone it alone. It may have been the same one Londongal is working with. Life was a bit scary to start with but we have networked with other lab owners and invested in a marketing system which has been really good. We have also run the spin and win promotion and it generated a lot of extra sales. There is life after being part of a group for so long if anyone is in the same position we were.

Answering the original post make sure you have plenty of frames to suit all the photo sizes you can make. We increased our sales of small poster and enlargements when we got a new range of frames in.Pity there is not more activity on this post as it must be the question everyone wants and answer to.

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We've recently finished another 2 week stint on local radio promoting passports in one ad and slides/movies to DVD in another ad. The passport ad helped increase an already profitable area, but the movies to DVD have gone gangbusters!!!!!! In the last 3 weeks, we have done over A$7000 in sales in this one area alone and our average on movie transfers, before the ad, was about A$500 a week. Slides to DVD continue to be very strong as well, and canvas prints are holding up very well. Photo books for us have been a flop despite displays etc. Our customers just do not want to spend the time doing them. With the other good areas, I'm not too worried, and I'm about to call the radio station to book more adverts for DVD transfers.

We haven't done the 3 for 2 enlargement deal, but the idea appeals to me, so we will look at working that into our winter/spring promo calendar.

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Oh, I forgot to ad that we have now worn out our kodak 1220 scanner from over use. Have another one, and shoebox scanning is great business. We also offer to make DVD slide shows at extra cost, from all our print and slide scans which adds more to the bottom line.

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Interesting talk, i didn't realise there are so many franchise operations around, was is easy to opt out snpysnps? Is it a long process? How much experiance did you have, i'm not sure i will opt out. did you leave recently and how's trade been?

londongal has been working with a group, sound like this could work.

londongal do you or can you offer your services to single store operation? Sorry questions and questions, but i can only learn from others and this site seems great so it will make future changes easier to understand.

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Well, we had our meeting and there have been lots of developments which I'm happy to share. First, all the shop owners I have been working with have been trawling this site and some others I've found looking for ideas they could be using and learning more about the market. None knew there were so many resources available! They've been soakinbg it up like sponges.

I promised to relay some of the successful products they have found in their shops and these have been posters, tee shirts, caps and passports as they are promoting for all countries. They are in tourist areas so have seen a big increase in digital card to DVD transfer over the past year. Unfortunately these are not making up for the overall drop in revenue.

I have had some emails from others who have been in/are still in a system with some really good ideas. Also I have been put onto consultants that specialise in the photo business and this has been a breakthrough as they have suggested some really good solutions. Will pm those details chemical man

The work we are doing is more accounting as I am doing a years internship with a big practice and have been seconded to a non-profit buisness development organisation as part of the training. This has been a project I've been able to sink my teeth into but only have another couple of weeks before it's back to the mother ship!

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Opting out is not easy but our contract was coming to an end and there seemed to be lots of others either crashing or wanting to get out. We had plenty of experience so didn't need the back-up as much as some others may have. Get some good advice before doing anything. Londongirl sounds like she is onto something with her contacts. Good luck :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have just ordered the Kodak 1220 scanner and hope this will bring us some extra business from customers wanting to archive their photos. From other newsgroups it seems this is very popular. Interested to hear how it is going for others and what people are doing to market it.

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Hi there, It's my last day on the project and we are having a final meeting with the group this morning. I'd like to say how interesting it has been working with this industry and see how everyone is dealing with such change. Also I'd like to thank all those who have emailed me with ideas or comments  :) you are all fab!

One thing I have found was the wealth of resources - specific to photo shops that you all have at your fingertips. Even within our group there were people who didn't realise there was so much information out there - like this site. As an outsider I was able to track this down and find lots of other sites and contacts that have been very valuable. In case readers haven't yet found these I have listed the websites I have found the most useful during the project that others can benefit from too:

http://www.pixelmagazine.co.uk/ - I have been given some of these magazines which were interesting and provide a good insight to the market, http://www.infolab.org.uk/ - another good local magazine our group have enjoyed.

http://www.photo-news.com/Publications.html - a insightful view on the photo trade from the US of A. Lots of interesting data on where things are heading.

http://www.firstretail.co.nz/the%20Photo%20and%20Imaging%20Marketing%20Program.htm - provide a photo marketing program and consultancy. Worthwhile looking at. Sign up for their newsletter.

http://www.pmai.org - if you are in the industry you should belong. They happily provided me with lots of information free.

http://www.dimacast.libsyn.com/ - webcasts of ideas from photo shops all over the world. Sign up free, listen free. We picked up lots of ideas from this.

http://www.mccurryassoc.com/ - consultant to the photo industry and also runs a marketing exchange. You can sign up for this free.

http://www.photoimagingnews.com.au/photoimagingnews/ - Aussie magazine I stumbled across.

Good luck everyone  :) Londongal

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Thanks for listing our company as a valuable resource. We handn't thought of ourselves like that, but accept with gratitude! We are always pleased to help the photo trade as that's where we've come from and still have very strong ties. Both Phil and I also operate our own stores and participate closely with industry groups to help grow the imaging market.

If anyone is interested in what we can provide have a look at our website and do sign up for our monthly email. This goes to retailers all over the world and we welcome new subscribers. Without a doubt, make sure you listen to the DIMA casts. Ideas, inspiration and like much of the other info available, it is all free!

Chris

First Retail Ltd

www.firstretail.co.nz

chris.w@firstretail.co.nz

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For the shops doing mugs we are interested to know how many you are doing on average each week? We are looking at setting up for this with the printer and press but trying to work out the payback and markets this is best suited for? We're in a market town and don't have the same corporate customers city photo shops would have. Any ideas appreciated.

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