Retailers can profit from “3D Selfies”

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Screen Shot 2014-04-13 at 12.49.13 PMIn my market overview presentation at PMA@CES 2014 I pointed to solid 3D objects as near-future high-margin output products for retailers. Well, the future comes fast these days, as San Jose, Calif.-based Artec Group launched its Shapify.Pro, which it bills as “a new iteration of its 3D selfie technology designed for small businesses and retailers who want to provide customers with scale model figurines of themselves, their kids and more.”

The kit uses a Microsoft Kinect sensor array to scan customers in 3D. The scans are then uploaded to the Shapify website, and figurines are delivered to the business or customer within five days.

The Shapify figurines are 3D printed in monochrome or color plastic. The small businesses kit includes a $999 printing credit—matching the initial investment of $999 for the Shapify.Pro — “and special rates designed to allow 3D selfie businesses to become profitable,” the company says.” Base prices range from $40 for a 1:20 (small size) printed figurine, $80 per 1:15 (medium) figure, and $140 for each 1:12 (large) printed model. Suggested retail prices are $79, $129,  and $199. Artec Group says it estimates “business owners can make almost $5,000 per month by selling two small and three medium figures every work day, and one large every other work day.”

There’s more information here.

 

PMA helps you promote National Photo Month in May

May is National Photo Month
May is National Photo Month

May is National Photo Month

May is National Photo Month in the U.S., and we have lots of tools and resources to help you promote all the fun and joy of photography to your customers, including:

  • National Photo Month logos
  • “Print It or Lose It” posters
  • Customizable e-newsletter content/templates on lots of photography topics
  • PMA Academy photography classes for customers
  • PMA TV – marketing tips galore from PMA keynote speakers
  • Certified Passport Photo Center program
  • Royalty-free images
  • Free listing in Find a Digital Lab
  •  The Big Photo Show consumer photography event in Los Angeles, May 17-18, which will drive consumer interest nationwide

Visit the National Photo Month page here – and let the celebrations begin!

Mobile management: Adobe brings Lightroom to the iPad

adobe lightroom mobile

adobe lightroom mobile

If you want to edit and organize your images while away from the office, that task just got easier: Adobe has developed a mobile version of its Lightroom software that runs on Apple’s iPad.

Slight catch: you can’t just go out and buy the app. You have to be a subscriber to Adobe’s $10/month photography program (which includes Lightroom 5 and Photoshop CC on the desktop).

“With the explosion of smart phone and tablet adoption, and the addition of new devices and platforms every day, we recognize that your workflows are increasingly fragmented,” Adobe says. “Smart phones have become a very popular camera choice when a SLR is not handy, and the experience of relaxing on a couch with an iPad is much more comfortable than hunching over a desktop computer. We developed Lightroom mobile to leverage the convenience, mobility, and connected nature of smartphones and tablets for your photography workflow.”

The new app is billed as a companion to the desktop software, which implies it can’t be used by itself for all aspects of organization and access. However Adobe does say the mobile version delivers “photography essentials such as non-destructive processing of files” and that its Smart Preview technologies “free professional-class photo editing from the confines of the desktop.”

Adobe adds that its synchronization architecture designed for photos “provides the most efficient way to manage and edit images across desktops, mobile devices and the Web.” It can sync mobile edits, metadata and collection changes back to the Lightroom catalog on a Mac or Windows computer, automatically import images captured on an iPad and sync back to a Lightroom catalog on the desktop, and let you work on images when your iPad is offline “for a truly portable experience.”

There’s more information here.

Lucidiom offers marketing tools program from InfoCircle

lucidiom

lucidiom

Independent photo retailers can access free turnkey programs — including actionable social media content and marketing materials — from retail and online imaging solutions provider Lucidiom.

“In our day-to-day conversations with dealers, our staff hears the challenges faced by dealers to create and to implement effective marketing programs,” Lucidiom says. “We’ve responded by offering this program to help our customers build better businesses.”

The marketing programs were developed by content marketing firm InfoCircle LLC, which will also offer monthly webinars. “Today’s independent photo retailers are looking for new ways to connect with customers,” says InfoCircle Principal Gary Pageau. “The program provides communications strategies, tips and materials that will increase engagement and profits.”

There’s more information here.

MMIE: Make your words work

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MIME Logo PMANMcCurry Marketing Idea Exchange #551 – April 8, 2014

Howard Copeland, Scott Photography, Peekskill NY. 

Want to make more money when selling passport photos? This is something we found while reading Bestphotolist. Not heard of that? It’s a Yahoo group that’s been around for ages. We’ll give you the information about that below, but first, let’s see Howard Copeland’s idea:

“I charge $xx for 2 passport photos. Some people say they only need one; my reply is that depending on how you apply, you might need 2. I don’t know if that is true, but it serves to stop any complaints, and I have never had to explain myself.

“When people ask how much the photos are I say that 2 are $xx, or 4 for xx + $5 or 6 for xx + $10. When asked whether two may be enough, I say probably, but add that a lot of people like to have extras, just in case. Sometimes they say no and then change their mind – it’s only $5 more. I now sell four copies to about half my customers. Since I print on a 4×6 sheet with equipment that will make up to 6 on one sheet, this is a winner. (I do avoid showing them that I am printing six images if they are not buying 6.)

“This is a great way to teach new sales people how important their words are. Don’t leave money on the table. You can’t sell ‘em, but if you explain it like this, they will buy the extra sets.”

mmie 551To join the Bestphotolist website (https://groups.yahoo.com/group/Bestphotolist), just send an email to bestphotolist-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. You will receive a confirming email from Yahoo groups. When you click on that confirmation, your browser will display a text box to add your personal contact information, your company name, and position at the company. Click the “send request” button and your membership should be activated in a day or so. Any questions can go to bob@bestbusinessassociates.com.

And by the way, PMA just launched a new program to help you make money in the passport photo business. The PMA Certified Passport Photo Center (CPPC) program is a new marketing program to drive customers to select photo retailers for passport, visa and ID photos. Learn more here.

It’s your turn

• Got a promotion that worked? An idea generated by a staffer? Something that’s exciting and/or motivating the crew? Doing something that’s bringing customers in, got customers buzzing, got them buying? Tell us.

• We’d appreciate getting pictures to help illustrate the ideas.

• Send your ideas to editor@McCurryAssoc.com.

• Don’t worry if you’re not the best writer; we’ll be happy to tidy things up for you.

• The archived editions of the McCurry Marketing Ideas Exchange contain more than 1,000 marketing ideas as a resource for you: http://www.TinyURL.com/McCurryIdeas.

Case against Yelp heads to Virginia Supreme Court

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yelp_logoIf you’ve ever been bitten by a bad, anonymous review on Yelp, you’re not alone. One of several cases claiming unfairness, fraud and extortion against the online review site is now heading to the Virginia Supreme Court. The Wall Street Journal reports many business owners are rooting for Joe Hadeed, who filed this suit against Yelp. Hadeed, owner of a small, suburban carpet cleaner, claims a string of harsh reviews on Yelp suddenly replaced favorable ones, “as if someone had flipped a switch,” causing his business to decline 30 percent and leading to a layoff of 80 employees.

WSJ.com reports the US Federal Trade Commission has received more than 2,046 complaints filed about Yelp from 2008 through March 4. Most of the complaints are from small businesses that claim to have received unfair or fraudulent reviews, often after turning down a pitch to advertise on the site. For instance, a business owner in Montclair, N.J., whose name was redacted said: “I was contacted by a Yelp salesperson to advertise, which I declined, and since have only had negative posts on their site.”

Yelp spokeswoman Kristen Whisenand said, “Our recommendation software doesn’t punish people who don’t advertise. There has never been any amount of money you can pay Yelp to manipulate reviews.

Hadeed says at least seven of the bad reviews about his business are fraudulent—possibly posted by competitors—because he was unable to match them to actual customers, based on time, location and sales data. Hadeed sued the seven reviewers for defamation, and demanded that Yelp turn over their true identities. So far, both the Alexandria Circuit Court and the Virginia Court of Appeals have sided with  Hadeed, holding Yelp in contempt for not turning over the name, WJS.com reports.

On the Yelp blog, the company fires back, saying:

In this case, the owner of a Virginia carpet cleaning business argued that because he could not find in his customer database the screen names of some Yelp reviewers, their critical comments might be from a competitor rather than customers – ignoring the fact that these reviewers might have used pseudonyms to avoid the justifiable fear of retribution from the business. The owner did not dispute the underlying validity of the comments (shared by other reviewers), nor did he submit evidence to support his theories. Yet, without requiring any actual evidence that wrongdoing had occurred – or even any evidence that the reviews themselves were untrue – the Virginia appellate court ordered Yelp to disclose the identities of the reviewers.

This ruling would allow a business owner in Virginia to obtain identifying information – such as birthdates, email addresses and IP addresses – of individuals that wrote reviews about that business based not on evidence, but only on the speculation of the business owner that maybe these individuals were not customers, but unidentified competitors.

This decision fails to protect the First Amendment rights of Virginia consumers who are turning to sites like Yelp to share their experiences with local businesses. Protecting consumer free speech is paramount at Yelp, which is why we worked with Public Citizen to defend the identities of the reviewers in this case. The Washington Post and Gannett Co. joined our efforts to further protect free speech, as part of a supportive brief submitted by The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. While the Virginia ruling is unfortunate, we plan to appeal and we’re optimistic about the future for protecting free speech online.

Save by April 30 in PMA “Passport to Success” program

LogoPassportPhotographer

LogoPassportPhotographerThe PMA Certified Passport Photo Center (CPPC) program – a new marketing program to drive customers to select photo retailers for passport, visa and ID photos – is off to a great start, with many PMA retailers signing up and on their way to growing revenues and attracting new customers.PassportArt_250x250

But you snooze – you lose.  A special introductory offer expires this month: certify your entire team of passport and photo ID photographers with our new online PMA Certified Passport Photographer (CPP) test, training and certification module by April 30, and become a Certified Passport Photo Center, and you will receive the entire marketing toolkit at no extra charge. The PMA Certified Passport Photographer (CPP) module will be at the low introductory rate of just $39/photographer. Ask for our special discount if you have more than 6 or more employees.

Click here http://www.pmai.org/content.aspx?id=25509 to learn more about the PMA “Passport to Success” – and be the first in your market to become a PMA Certified Passport Photo Center, with Certified Passport Photographers (CPP) on staff!

The Certified Passport Photo Center program is currently only available for U.S. passports — but international components will be rolled out soon!

MMIE: Surround it

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MIME Logo PMANMcCurry Marketing Idea Exchange #550 – April 1, 2014

Pete Davies, Marlborough Photo Services, Marlborough, England

In the March 11 MMIE and the March 4 DIMAcast, we showed you a neat idea being used by Pete Davies at Marlborough Photo Services.

mmie 550

Three monitors hidden behind a fascia give three different messages about store services for Marlborough Photo in the U.K.

He’s got three computers in the store, and to each one he has connected three monitors, for a total of nine screens in the store, playing three different messages. Screen one shows gorgeous images shot by Davies. A second screen focuses on social media platforms Marlborough can make prints or personalized products from. The third screen is all about store services. Each one of the three monitors shows a different message rotating at different speeds.

Pete has now taken one of the triplets and boxed it, hiding all the wires and monitor stands behind a fascia. He added a few photography quotes to the fascia to make it look nicer and inspire customers to express themselves through the art of imaging.

It’s your turn

• Got a promotion that worked? An idea generated by a staffer? Something that’s exciting and/or motivating the crew? Doing something that’s bringing customers in, got customers buzzing, got them buying? Tell us.

• We’d appreciate getting pictures to help illustrate the ideas.

• Send your ideas to editor@McCurryAssoc.com.

• Don’t worry if you’re not the best writer; we’ll be happy to tidy things up for you.

• The archived editions of the McCurry Marketing Ideas Exchange contain more than 1,000 marketing ideas as a resource for you: http://www.TinyURL.com/McCurryIdeas.

On the DIMAcast: Make them happy and take their money

New DIMAcast 2.0 logo

New DIMAcast 2.0 logoThere is nothing better than happy customers: that’s what builds profitable, repeat and referral traffic. You make people happy by having fun, creating excitement and exceeding expectations. Nobody seems to have more fun in the imaging world than the team at Horn Photo in Fresno, California. Whether it’s owner Stan Grosz walking down the busy thoroughfare in a clown suit honking a bulbous horn with a sale sign, or staff engaging customers on a daily basis, Horn Photo always seems to have fun — and to them, making money is a critical by-product of that fun.

In this episode of the DIMAcast, Bill McCurry has a light-hearted conversation with Stan and Shelly Grosz on serious topics of making money while having fun. Pull up a chair, enjoy the conversation and pick up ideas to make your customers happy, so you too can take their money, too. Listen in here.

IPI changes leadership

ipi logo

ipi logoThe Independent Photo Imagers trade group has a new leader: the IPI Board of Directors named Ron Mohney as Executive Director.

Mohney served as director of supplying partner operations at IPI since 2010.

Former director Brent Bowyer has resigned to pursue other opportunities, the announcement says. Chairman Larry Steiner says the Board “wishes to thank Brent for his many years of dedicated service, and we wish him well in his new pursuits.”

Henderson, Nevada-based  IPI says it has 600 members and more than 800 storefront locations in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa and the United Kingdom.