LAS VEGAS -- Installation of digital printing kiosks in all 20 of its stores has proved highly successful, said Dennis McCoy, photo operations manager, Lund Food Holdings, Edina, Minn.
"The new face of consumer imaging, as we see it, is that film is no longer viewed as the preferred system for taking photos," he said during a seminar at the recent Photo Marketing Association International show here. "The consumers that we see are enthusiastic about taking pictures when they are using a digital camera."
The challenge for Lund, as for any supermarket retailer, is to migrate from a film-processing to a digital imaging business strategy, and to do it profitably, he said. The necessity for making the change is clear, McCoy said. "Every photo customer is a potential $10,000- a-year grocery customer and we don't want them going someplace else."
Even charging 49 cents per 4-by-6 print in a competitive market has not been an obstacle. McCoy said he has received no complaints about the pricing. "It's not just about having the lowest price," he said.
Lund's conveniently placed Sony Picture Station kiosks and a knowledgeable staff make the retailer a preferred digital printing destination, he said. Once consumers are educated about the advantages of printing at retail, they readily accept it, he said, noting that national numbers from PMA show the percentage of people printing photos at home is declining, while the percentage printing at retail doubled from 2002 to 2003.
Also during the seminar, Mona Furlott, vice president of photo operations, Eckerd Corp., Largo, Fla., showed excerpts from a specially produced CD-ROM designed to inform consumers about digital photography. "We're getting a very good response because our job is to educate the consumers, and this is helping," she said.
In another seminar, Michelle Slaughter, director, Digital Photography Trends Service, InfoTrends Research Group, Norwell, Mass., noted the now-rapid growth of digital camera sales. Penetration is now at 30% and is expected to surpass 40% by the end of the year, with many consumers trading up from older models, she said.