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The trends, the issues, and productive business strategies.

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Challenge #1: Inspiring Consumers To Print Photos

Interesting advice and comments from CLN readers.

by Nancy Nally and Peggy Braden (October 22, 2007)

(Note: The Sept. 17 edition of CLN included "Stop Worrying about Digital Scrapbooking... And worry about printing photos instead," by independent retailer Sharon Cooke. owner of Scrapbook Clubhouse in Westbrook, CT. The thoughtful, provocative article inspired the following reactions. To read Sharon's article, click on the title in the right-hand column.)

How Scrapbook Retailers Can Encourage Photo Printing, by Nancy Nally

Sharon Cooke makes an excellent point. Scrapbooking as an industry is taking a financial hit from the growth of digital photography. There isn't a built-in customer base anymore of people who are generating stacks of pictures that they are looking for "something to do with".

Also, the sheer volume of photographs that people generate with their digital cameras can intimidate people from scrapbooking their photos because the task seems so huge. MSNBC.com actually ran an article recently raising the subject of whether we are taking too many pictures because of digital cameras. (www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20763864).

Storeowners who want to increase their customer base need to encourage more printing of digital photos, and entice people who do print their photos to visit scrapbook stores. There are several ways that retailers can try to do this.

1. Offer in-store printing. This service can be offered through a complex photo kiosk or simple computer and printer. However it is done, allowing on-site printing will facilitate immediate scrapbooking of photographs. Customers can enter the store for a crop carrying their basic tools and a camera card or photo CD, print their pictures, purchase their supplies, and create a page on the spot!

2. Facilitate online ordering. A computer with Internet access and an attached universal card reader can serve as a "kiosk" from which store customers can place photo orders. While they are in the store, customers can pre-plan scrapbook pages for their latest digital photos, buy the supplies, and order the prints they will need to complete the pages. This system could even earn money for the store, since major online photo services such as Shutterfly and Snapfish offer affiliate programs.

3. Partner with a local photo lab. Local photo labs are also feeling the pinch of people not printing their photos. Partner with one to drive traffic (and business) back and forth between the two stores. Offer coupons with a purchase at one that is good off of a purchase at the other. Partner on advertising. Offer drop off and pick up for the photo lab at the scrapbook store. Team up and get creative!

This might well be the biggest challenge that the industry has faced since the scrapbooking boom started. Those who don't adjust to the changing market won't be in it very long. It's a bad lesson to learn the hard way.

(Note: Nancy also reported on the Creating Keepsakes Hall of Fame controversy. To read her report, visit her blog at www.scrapbookupdate.com/scrapnancy/2007/10/controversy-sur.html.

She has written numerous articles on scrapbooking for various publications, including CLN, Creative TECHniques, Scrapbook Business, and DesignerZine. Nancy can be contacted at nanally@gmail.com.)

Storing Photos on a Computer Is The Least of the Dangers, by Peggy Braden, Unique Surroundings

I wholeheartedly agree with Sharon, and I am neither in scrapbook retail nor am I a scrapbooker myself. I am a custom framer who specializes in "making your memories last." I design and custom build shadowboxes to preserve the precious memories of my clients.

The fact that our photos are not safe on our computers is a no-brainer to those of us who work day in and day out with technology. However, even the executive administrator who uses a computer daily hasn't the slightest clue of the inner workings of the technology. I would venture to guess that 98% of those using computers daily have no conception of how their computer saves or loses their important photos.

I believe that the responsibility to inform falls to the computer manufacturing sector which has given the public a false sense of security on many issues involving their products. Most consumers have no grasp of the dangers of the Internet for both children and adults computer fraud and identity theft, lottery scams, unsecured banking, and an entire list of other dangers aren't mentioned in the advertising for a new system.

Parent's will turn their children loose on the Internet and not give it a second thought, and yet we still have a rating system for movies to attempt to protect our children and warn parents of the content. But kids can pull up a porn site on their laptop with no warning whatsoever!

(It happened to me recently when searching for instructions to build a Corn Hole game of all things. I don't have a prudish bone in my body, yet I was totally disgusted.)

I believe the public as a whole was so enamored with computers when they first became widely available that they let the computer manufacturing industry get away with not warning them of the negatives and dangers.

I agree that all of our photo's are in danger of being lost when stored on a computer, but I believe this is the least of many more important issue's vital to our safety and society as a whole. Is it too late to hold the industry accountable? We will probably never know as no one is willing to take them on. (Peggy can be contacted at peggybraden@uniquesurroundings.biz.)

(Note: IS inspiring consumers to print their photos a serious challenge for retailers? If so, any suggestions? Email your thoughts to CLN at mike@clnonline.com.)



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