Frank owns several imaging retail stores. He’s survived the film and development bust and now faces the challenge of finding a way to offset economic pressures, falling margins and an increasing cost of doing business. At a conference last year, he met Shelly, a fellow imaging entrepreneur who told him to build his business plan around marketing to the sales potential of each household. She told him that adding wireless to his mix would add over $1,000 in household profit potential to his current imaging-only business and that her profit shot up by over $100K last year due mostly to selling cellular.
Shelley asked, “Have you ever wondered why there are 15 times more of cellular retail stores vs. imaging retail stores in the USA?” She then asked if he had a cell phone.
“Of course, doesn’t everyone?” replied Frank.
“Precisely,” she replied. “Virtually every one of my camera customers owns a cell phone and the beauty of the business is that they buy new ones every 18-24 months because their contracts are up. New phones, new plans, new accessories, phone insurance, trade-in rebates and spiffs from the carriers when you hit certain sales levels. And my customers come in and buy more stuff for their other family members all year long! Do you know that I make 10 times the profit of an imaging customer on a cell phone customer household?”
“Wow, really! That’s amazing. I could sure use that right now.” Frank told her that he’d considered selling cellular 2 years ago, but decided not to do it.
“Why in the world not?” she scolded.
Frank then said he didn’t have the time or resources to try something new right then. He felt he needed to stay focused on the core business.
“Ha!” Shelley mocked. “How many owners said the same thing when our film and development business started to disappear? And where are they now? Besides, what is your core business? 95% of our imaging customers have cell phones. Most cell phones have cameras in them and people don’t know how to take pictures and video, or more how to get the pictures off their phone. We demonstrate everything and we already know the imaging side, so we have a big advantage when someone wants a camera phone for work or pleasure. As a result, we’re selling specialized development for cell phone pictures, more memory cards and transfer cables, and lots more HP home photo printers.”
“OK, you’ve convinced me. How do I get started?”
Picture Business and the Wireless Business Owners Consortium (WiBOC) are teaming up to help imaging retailers make money with wireless. A series of special programs have been created to help camera and photography retailers make this addition.
With the convergence of wireless and camera/video technologies, it is important for imaging retailers to capitalize on wireless revenue opportunities. Sure, it requires tweaking your business model and it may require some time and investment to make it work, but the pay-off can be huge. The wireless industry is not slowing down. It has grown 46% since December 2000, and those numbers continue to grow.
In 2007, CTIA- The Cellular Telephone Industry Association reported that 84% of the entire total U.S. population were wireless subscribers. And…92% of subscribers carry camera-equipped phones! That’s over 230,000,000 potential revenue sources for YOUR business!
As this number continues to grow (and it will), the number of people who use their mobile device as a secondary (or primary) imaging device will also continue to grow. Many retailers have already recognized this trend and are offering imaging solutions in their retail stores. It’s much easier to sell a customer an expensive 3 or 5 megapixel camera phone when your sales person demonstrates how to take a picture, Bluetooths the images to a photo printer, and then prints the picture and show its quality…all while the customer is standing right next to him or her.
Aligning with a carrier as a dealer may be challenging without volume, but if you don’t have multiple stores, it’s still worth a call to WiBOC to learn how to get into the business. One option is to align with a master agent organization that usually provides easier access and more flexibility. WiBOC can help you out here as well, and also provides on-line and on-site training for owners, store managers and sales teams.
Imagine if you caught the early wave in wireless, the incremental success that your business could have achieved. Well the second wave is here and we’re inviting all the Picture Business readers to a FREE webinar to review the opportunity in wireless and introduce a new education program to help you and your managers succeed.
Soon, we will review the opportunity in wireless for imaging retailers and introduce a new program designed to capture wireless revenues. Schedule an appointment for owners and managers at your business to attend the Free Webinar: Building Your Business with Wireless.
Our market has changed dramatically. Digital camera sales are relatively flat and margins aren’t what they used to be. Accessories and peripherals are determining whether a store makes or loses money. There is no question that wireless offers a significant growth opportunity with every customer that comes in your store or resides in your database. The question is whether or not retailers will act to capitalize on it.