Hot Picks: potential profit for retailers

An intrepid squad of retailers, photographers and enthusiasts surveyed the showroom floor on the first two days, looking for the next big thing — and instead reported back to the Hot Picks session with small things they say can lead to big profits for retailers.

As photographer and session co-host Glynn Lavender put it, “To survive, we MUST think outside the box.”

He did note “there’s some weird stuff out there,” such as a wheeled robotic perch, like a Segway scooter — but for an iPad.

Overall Lavender says, retailers have to keep the preponderance of smartphones in mind: 35 million cameras sold in the US in 2012, but there were 17.5 million phone activations on one day alone. Those millions and millions of new phone owners are likely customers for imaging and other accessories.

Among the phone add-ons awarded Picks at the session were:

• The hi-Call Bluetooth talking glove from hi-Fun — just like it sounds: instead of a headset, your mic and speaker are on the thumb and pinkie of the glove, and you hold a “hang ten” hand to your face to talk. “It sounds stupid, it looks stupid — but it will probably sell,” Lavender joked. LVH booth # 50014.

•Those fancy phones need some protection: The Seashell Underwater Case for iPhone offers good margins, co-host Rob Comeau said: $99/$149 retail.

•And instead of buying a wearable camera, why not wear the phone in a way it can always be shooting? The Miveu mount strap will do just that. LVH #54017

• The iPhone Pod adds LED lights for better video capture. LVH #45024.

• The iPro Lens from Schneider Optics is for taking “serious iPhone photos.” Prices range from $299-$399. LVH #48009.

• All of us fear loosing our phones, cameras, lenses, etc., Lavender said, and one counter for that it to tag every item with a Bluetooth proximity alarm, the iAlertTag that sounds off if you walk away from your pricey gear. LVH #59023.

• Re-Turnit / Finder Codes have a similar idea at booth #51024.

• And the final phone accessory delivers six charges: the inpofi from Kirk H&J at LVH #44022.


Outside the mobile sphere, the judges picked a few accessories:

• You can find a $100 iPad-sized 300 LED light for photo shoots at booth #48020.

• Need to capture 3D product images? This all-in-one setting can make it simple. The TopScan 3D is at booth #48029.

• This looks like an iPhone accessory but Lavender insisted its real utility is in the store: it’s the easiest way to get a customer’s photos onto your print kiosk. The iFlashDrive is as booth #55023.

• A mobile green screen studio is on offer at booth #45021.

• Strobists looking for more off-camera lighting should check booth #45024.

• Some simple accessories: A lens cap that shows the optic’s focal length from Black Rapid at booth #45015.

• And from Hufa S, a clip for attaching any lens clap to any strap.