The New Retail Era

Hans Hartman, Principle Analyst at Suite 48 Analytics, recently conducted research on photo purchasing behavior among smart phone users.  Among the key findings of Hartman’s research is the following:

The biggest bottleneck for this new generation of photo app users is not the quality of smartphone photos, as is often assumed. Only 13% of the photo app users stated that the quality of photos from their smartphone has held them back from ordering photo products. It turns out the bigger problem is a lack of innovative photo product creation and ordering apps, coupled with cumbersome creation and ordering workflows.

Hartman assets that it not a lack of interest in printing that dissuades younger and older generations from printing, but rather the lack of a workflow that mirrors their lifestyle and way of interacting with their content, including images.  Even those smartphone users older than 25 years old seek ways of tapping into their content on their smartphones that untethers them from the desktop, USBs sticks and clunky workflows.

The need to untether consumers from the desktop takes on even greater urgency as smart phones and tablet sales overtook PC sales in 2012. At the same time, mobile media growth is outpacing other forms of media, including TV, radio and even online by almost 2:1, according to Tomi Ahonen Consulting. Therefore, to reach the consumer with compelling offerings, retailers need offerings that fit in the connected environment in which the consumer lives.

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Coinciding with this technology shift, we’re also seeing a cultural shift and the birth of a new social collective.  The exponential growth of social networks has redefined the process by which consumers choose how to consume and what to consume.  

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Source: Rachel Botsman, http://www.collaborativeconsumption.com Feb 2013

The combination of technology enablers and this cultural shift requires a retail revolution in this networked age.  Earlier on this blog, Ed Monahan, in relation to the professional photography market, said “As an industry, we need to meet today’s consumers on their terms.” In the retail space, we need to do the same. This decade will continue to reset the retail experience. How consumers shop, when they shop – consumers want to be able buy anything, from anywhere, at any time.

Against this backdrop, we’re investing in solutions that  “free” valuable content from our consumers’ smart phones and tablets, via our retail solutions, and meet consumers at their primary engagements points.  

Last year at Photokina, we introduced a series of applications that help our retail partners meet the consumers at this key intersection point.  The apps include our Kiosk Connect App, which lets users create and print customizable gifts, including KODAK Photo Books, KODAK Personal Greeting Cards, calendars, photo cards, collages and prints, within minutes after wirelessly transferring their images to the KODAK Picture Kiosk.  We also tapped into the growth of social networks and introduced the My KODAK Moments Facebook App, that lets consumers tap the wealth of photos, including square Instagram prints, create photo books and prints.  (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IOHgv_XSos

This is just the start. In coming months, we’ll bring new solutions and programs to the industry that work to harness the power of both this technology shift and consumer behavior. By harnessing this power, we hope to help our retail partners not only adapt to this new retail reality, but also thrive and grow.