Summer’s in full swing now so it’s a perfect time to promote all imaging has to offer. The overwhelming odds are a majority of your customers are about to hit the road, still planning their vacation or just back from their trip with a card full of photo memories.
In fact, beyond the winter holidays, fall colors or spring awakening it’s a time of year when people of every description are most likely to pick up a camera in hopes of preserving special moments and memories for posterity. Whatever their skill level, they’re likely to browse or shop imaging products as part of their summer plans. Expect local residents and tourists to the area to enter your store looking for expert advice on what’s available in products and insight to help them take better pictures.
With that assumption, it’s an opportune time to talk up the merits of the latest cameras, and why anyone who bought a camera more than two years ago will be better served with one of this year’s models. The bottom line is that no matter what their photo aspirations are, and what camera they’ve been using, they can get a lot more enjoyment from picture taking with newer cameras and accessories.
Show Them How
But even before you get down to the art of the sale, summer presents a unique opportunity to share your knowledge with educational classes or seminars. In this season, address the challenges camera users typically face as they chronicle their travels, whether it’s to a far off destination or nearby family reunion.
Photo safaris have become increasingly popular vacation packages in recent years, combining the visual appeal of an exotic setting with hands-on advice on photography technique. Not all can afford or extend the time for one of those jaunts, however. No matter where they are headed, your customers will face some of the same photographic challenges. Seminars or classes, themed to these, can help bring potential shoppers in, and present a great forum for promoting specific products and solutions while demonstrating your own expertise.
What kind of advice do they need? Think in terms of summer photo subjects and situations: capturing sunsets and sunrises; the logistics of shooting on beaches or in backlit and nighttime settings; portraits; capturing wildlife and waterways; highlighting scenery and landscapes. If you want to use an educational program for brand and business building this time of year, take it out of the store.
Adapt the photo safari concept on the local level, and show people how they can improve photo skills and achieve much better results while taking pictures of familiar landmarks around town and capturing nature in local parks. Get them excited about shooting at home, and equip them for better pictures on the road.
Step Them Up
Every camera owner will snap pictures at some point this summer, but beyond that their profile and needs diverge. Likely customers this time of year include the occasional photographer who gets out their camera on rare occasions like that annual trek to the beach; more serious snap shooters for whom photography is integral to the enjoyment of every gathering and activity; and the aspiring amateurs for whom summer vacation serves as an opportunity to get creative behind the lens.
Unless they bought their camera in the last year, all should be made aware of the latest advances, affordability and creative options found in the current camera lineup. And don’t forget the kids: with today’s low end digital cameras, and the range of single-use cameras available, photography should be part of summer fun, for all ages.
Anyone who bought a high-end digital camera a few years ago might be sold on the advantages of stepping up to a DSLR. Prices now broaden their appeal to the same buyers who once made the SLR such a popular camera. But don’t think that DSLR is a man’s realm: the latest market research from PMA indicates more women than men— 51 to 49 percent— now own DSLRs. They are the memory chief keepers at any time of year, and they want the best tools for the job.
When you can’t step buyers up to the versatility of a DSLR system, they might be sold on convenience factors like larger LCDs, improved optics and zoom or the more sleek and simplified operation of the latest class of compacts. Another selling point of some new cameras is their improved video record capabilities. The wisdom of carrying one camera for all your imaging needs will resonate with anyone who wants to travel light. But they have to be shown the results before they recognize the value of such hybrid cameras.
Even those shoppers who resist the allure of a new camera might be more receptive to purchasing an accessory lens or adapter as modest investments which will enhance their summer pictures. Then, there are all those accessories which always make sense: extra batteries, a case, tripod, maybe a lens filter or two, etc., etc.
Save Those Photos
Anyone taking vacation photos needs some form of portable storage solution. Relieved of concerns about film costs, people tend to fire away in search of that perfect shot, quickly exhausting camera memory and card capacities. Unless travelers are packing a laptop, they need some convenient means to store all their photos until they get back. And if they are packing a computer, assume they’d like to know how easily they can upload and order prints while away for home delivery or store pick-up when they return.
Also remind them prices on flash memory cards have come down to the point where most consumers can afford to carry several. These travelers are also good candidates for the full range of mobile drives, including portable media players and hard drives which can do double duty for storing and viewing photos on the fly.
The Back Home Push
Once customers are back from their travels the value of photo printing as a permanent archiving solution can not be overstated. Make them believers before they leave town. Promote special pricing on vacation photo prints, sponsor a contest for summer photos, and display winning pictures in the store. At the right price, consumers can be convinced it’s worth getting prints or enlargements of all their shots. Present them with the many other ways they can extend the life of their best photos in print. Display the full range of photo novelties with summer-themed pictures: keychains, mousepads, magnets, mugs and calendars. Combine several photos on the same page, as a scrapbook or journal page, or an index guide to photos taken. For those who really want to show off their summer travels, talk up the appeal and quality of a photo book.
Again, vacationers need to be reminded that with digital there’s so much more you can do after the shutter clicks than 4×6 prints. Tell summer shoppers at every turn about any archiving solutions you offer, from Web-based image storage and display to burning those images to disc. A DVD with stills and video makes sense in several ways: as a permanent backup; for chronological archiving and organizing; and as an easy retrieval and sharing solutions for playback on a computer or TV.
If you’re of a certain age, reliving summer’s magic once meant passing around a photo album, or gathering around a slide or movie projector in a darkened room. Digital photo frames deliver the same satisfaction, and can also be an easy sell to those just back from their vacation eager to show off their best photos.
Like a slide tray, they can be loaded with several images for display in a loop, showing everyone who cares just what a great trip it was. It’s a category with ample mark-up and abundant room for growth: according to PMA only six percent of households currently own a digital photo frame. Parks Associates estimates 1.7 million of these frames were sold last year, representing a 400 percent surge over sales the previous year.
And, these are products which keep people excited about their pictures, year round. For the truth is, if there’s such a thing as a season for photography, it’s whatever season we’re in. yy