Photo Gift Market: Leverage Every Advantage

Photo Gift Market: Leverage Every Advantage


We’ve all heard the saying that only three things matter in real estate -location, location, location. The same could be said of retail photo printing today. Location is the photofinishing retailer’s signature advantage in the rapidly evolving digital world. That advantage can be broken down into three definitions of “location” in order to study how to make the most of it, whatever your retail footprint: Customer Relationships, Local Ties and the World Wide Web.

Location: I like you, you like me.

Every successful photofinisher understands that to stay on top in business you need to stay on top of your customer. The ability to establish lasting customer relationships is everything in today’s competitive market. So, the first definition of location centers on the all important customer relationship. 

Competition has done great things for our industry, but competition has also heightened the stakes for retail printing. Some would say price trumps location. But while the competition might be offering the lowest price, you can always work to offer better hands-on service, product know-how and instant gratification. A retailer that sees the customization possibilities with photos and is able to walk the customer through the endless options will win her heart and continued business. 

These are the retail fundamentals. Now, take it a step further by tapping into the social expression phenomenon. Take advantage of social expression by creating customer communities and loyalty programs and she’ll not only come back, she’ll come back with friends.  

Location: All retail (should) be local.

Former U.S. House Speaker Tip O’Neill is famous for noting that all politics are local. Successful retailers understand that all sales are local, as well.  Get creative and promote your local ties. Produce custom photo products of local interest and watch your customer base grow thanks to enthusiastic word of mouth. 

Custom photo products have become so popular and are so easy to produce with the latest digital technologies that point-of-purchase incentives are seemingly endless. Are you a retail photofinisher in the D.C. metro area? Print out notepads with a cover shot of the Tidal Basin in its full spring cherry blossom glory, tie a pen on top and place these at the register as a quick impulse purchase for locals and tourists alike.  Point them out and ask if the customer knows about the creative possibilities with digital photos. 

 Not in a tourist location? Use local high school mascots or corporate logos instead. Point out that the options don’t stop with notepads – custom wrapping paper, thank you notes, calendars, gifts and more can show off the best photos and graphics. The fact that you took the time to explore the options won’t be lost on the appreciative customer.   

 And never underestimate the power of instant gratification. One-hour photo has been a hit since its inception because customers can’t wait to relive their experience through their photos. The best news is the experience is no longer restricted to the 4×6 print. Today, customers can be in and out of the store in under an hour with a one-of-a-kind photo book complete with custom dust jacket or a custom photo calendar to make grandma weep. These are products that would have taken days or even weeks to order just a short time ago. With the right partner, you too can offer hundreds of custom products with convenience and ease in less than an hour. 

Location: The World Wide Web

In the year 2008, it’s impossible to consider location without recognizing that it has surpassed physical geography. No one in business today can overlook the importance of having a location on the World Wide Web.  And the great thing about being a retail photofinisher is that you have the best of both the World Wide Web and the physical world.  Photofinishers of all sizes can offer customers the convenience of ordering photo products from home in their pajamas, while also leveraging the face to face interaction if they choose to pick the product up in the store.