Expressing Themselves

Expressing Themselves


Perhaps the most interesting news to come out of this year's PMA was on the retail print front. The options here get more amazing by the month and the ease with which consumers can create these products should make them that much more irresistible. Image upload times at kiosks and/or online have improved dramatically, and the fact that customers can create a photobook with such simplicity today should reduce those high abandonment rates we've been seeing.

It's all about self-expression and personalization in this market today. Consumers aren't satisfied simply passing 4x6s around the room anymore, two or three weeks after vacation. They want to tell a story, express a point of view and put their personal stamp on every experience.

While yesterday's consumer chronicled special events, holidays and the like, for many people today it's about recording the simple moments of everyday life. “I'm at the coffee shop right now and I'm headed to the mall next.” There are memorable pictures being captured during those few hours, every day, and they represent tremendous opportunity.

More and more reports are revealing that the younger demographic is more interested in printing than originally thought. While their interest in 4x6s is negligible, the idea of creating lasting keepsakes of these “moments” in their lives has great appeal. They're just a tough demographic to market to. However, the fact remains that they continue snapping at a record pace, and they are uploading their images all over the place. It's vital that you get your message in front of them any way you can.

What the retail print space has today that will appeal to this crowd is a creative doorway to the aforementioned self-expression world. Add to this the fact the products are fun and easy and you have a potentially magical troika to market to these folks—creative, fun, easy.

As for the rest of your customers, awareness remains an issue with regard to all these new print services, as once most people see what they can do with this stuff, they go ga-ga over it. Problem is, not enough of them are aware of all they can do with their images today. The good news is, for the locations that are figuring this out, business is booming with these services. Time for some Paul Revere marketing for all of this, so get on your horses and start shouting—just try to schedule the rides sometime prior to midnight.

We take a look at the front end of the retail print equation on page 18 and many of the kiosks we look at debuted at the 2010 PMA. Take a peek. We're sure you'll agree all that's left to do is to begin shouting, “The kiosks are coming! The kiosks are coming!”


Michael McEnaney