2011 has not been the best year for the imaging industry.
The year started with the devastating earthquake and tsunami in northern Japan, which resulted in heart-wrenching devastation to the people of that region, and a difficult business situation for our industry.
Just as recovery efforts were proving successful, floods in Thailand once again rocked the imaging world, with major imaging companies having to shift manufacturing lines to other regions to try to keep up with demand.
Then, two weeks ago, the revelations surfaced that the senior management of Olympus in Japan had allegedly mishandled consulting fees paid on some questionable acquisitions, leading to a 30% decline in value of Olympus stock.
While each of these situations prove difficult for the manufacturers and parts suppliers involved, it all trickles down to the retailer in the end, who may have to face product shortfalls during the key holiday season.
What’s our advice? Well, Joseph P. Kennedy, father of an American president, once said, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” That phrase has always been a mainstay of our industry. It may mean changing your business model on the short term; for example, there doesn’t seem to be a shortage of reasons to print photo books and family albums for the holiday season. Nor is printing creative holiday cards using family portraits such a bad idea.
And while hardware may be scarce, the need for photography classes never ends, and selling that second lens is always an opportunity.
The manufacturers we’ve spoken to are optimistic about delivering inventory this holiday season, but with so much out of their control, it’s best to think about what is in your control to be successful.
If we can get through 2011, we’ll all be much stronger and wiser for the experience.
Best of luck for the holiday season.