Attendance was down on previous years but as the focus was on retailing we personally got a lot out of the sessions. Day one provided an overview of the industry via statistics and panel discussions. By the end of the day it was hard to remember who said what but the notes we took will help us in our planning and justify attending the convention.
Gary Lamb (GFK) told us a survey revealed that the features a camera buyer associates most with picture quality are: Megapixels (55%), zoom (16%), low light (6%), lens quality (3%), sensor size (2%), Image stabiliser (1%). The megapixel myth is a great opportunity for photo retailers – talk about the real features that affect image quality.
John Swainston suggested we don’t reminisce about the “good old days”. He showed us stats to prove that they weren’t as good as we remember – the hardware market is much bigger than 20 years ago.
Chris Wilkinson from Wellington talked on marketing for specialty stores and showed examples from around the globe. He said we should be prepared to diversify, position our business as the dominant local experts and reinforce photos as the memory keepers for tomorrow.
It was day two that energised us – with Glynn Lavender and Peter Budd, in particular, providing the real motivation. Glynn Lavender and Ellyce Griffiths spoke about selling knowledge. Photographers have a thirst for knowledge and looked for this in magazines, clubs and on-line : photo/camera stores should be “selling” this knowledge. Run workshops (not classes) as people want to DO, not be TOLD what to do (and you can charge more for workshops). You only have to teach what you know – no matter how little.
A Kiwi export, Peter Budd, gave an energetic talk that needed more than a one hour slot! It was a very important session on building a better business – Peter has written a “booklet” on Creating a More Profitable and Resilient Photo Business so it was good to have a speaker of this calibre who understands our industry.
The final photographic session was the longest at 2 hours but social media is an important component of marketing our businesses. I get overwhelmed with linking all of our social media together and David suggested we put a blog on our web page and feed the posts from that to Facebook and whatever else we use (twitter, Google+, etc) – top of my list of things to implement from the convention.
Following the PMA convention was the PPFA and the PSPA conventions with a few hardy kiwi ladies attending these sessions as well as the PMA sessions. The rest of us wandered around the floor of the “Digital Show” watching people leave with arms full of purchases they’d made from the stands (a first for this tradeshow).