Photo takes a stationery stance

Cards are a key area of opportunity in the photo department. Dimitrios Delis, director of marketing research at the Photo Marketing Association, said he believes on-demand stationery is a category waiting to explode. “Everybody buys stationery, from notepads to thank-you cards, and the mass market is an untapped market for on-demand products,” he said.

“Expanding the category makes a lot of sense,” Delis said. “Consumers can print as many pieces as they want. From a retailer standpoint, it frees up a lot of space they now devote to a huge card section.”

Bing Liem, VP sales for Fujifilm North American’s imaging division, saw opportunity for other occasions. “The possibilities for photo cards are endless; they aren’t just for holidays anymore,” he said. “It’s no wonder that industry sources predict compounded annual growth in the segment of roughly 17% over the next three years.”

Even if the photo-processing business grabs a small share of the $800 million greeting card/stationery business, it will be a huge gain for the photo-processing category. Liem didn’t believe photo cards would cannibalize existing stationery sales because card templates offered online and at the kiosk can include a wider variety of occasions than can be inventoried. The trick is to bring in kiosks that are capable of offering the selection consumers are used to with and without photo options on the cards. Up until now, kiosks have been limited to a slim selection of holiday cards.

“Kodak Picture Kiosks offer more than 296 designs that present the consumer with 1,200 choices depending on the card size and card orientation,” said a representative for Kodak. “Consumers can use a Kodak kiosk to grab in-the-moment action images from HD video, download shared images from social media sites and scan older photos from prints.”

Vendors like Cameostyle offer consumers such options as thank you notes, birth announcements, home renovation completed and graduation cards. Card styles aren’t limited to those that include a photo.

Drug stores are emerging as a preferred location for photo card printing, Liem said, with 33% of all cards produced in the channel. Online ordering with same-day pickup in-store will be crucial to continued success.

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