..Information to Pharmacists

Your Monthly E-Magazine
MARCH, 2004


Digital Photography Perspective

A Digital Imaging Boom

It's almost a year since the Photographic Merchants Association (PMA) Pharmacy Group was formed, but due to various circumstances very little has happened.
However Pharmacy's interest in photography is increasing by leaps and bounds despite the falling sales of conventional "D & P"
A major reason is the growth of digital camera sales.
While many people are printing their own images at home, earlier predictions are becoming true and more and more are taking their memory cards to stores with digital minilabs and now to stand-alone and in-house kiosks - which offer fairly rapid service.
These kiosks are forecast as the biggest growth factor for photo and pharmacy stores to remain and to grow in photofinishing sales.
PMA have agreed to assist the group with a venue and the time to get together and discuss pharmacy's problems, ideas, promotions and growth in this regard.
This will be at the PMA Convention in Darling Harbour on Sunday 23rd May 2004 at 2 pm.
Chairman of the group, James Delahunty has produced the attached Newsletter with his thoughts on pharmacy and photography today.

Photo processing is getting faster and cheaper in both digital and analogue and can be at your FRONT door NOW:-

Since July/August 2003 until today, the price of making digital photos in your pharmacy has changed dramatically.
Besides the few "do it yourself" consumers out there - and I must add that there is nothing wrong with this as some chemists and photo retailers are adding a 6x card reader or kiosk to their front counter point of sale system or to the dispensary computer .
Photokiosks have come down dramatically in price from $15 000 to $5 000 and depending on different thermal printers - each doing a different size or type of photo- made by various manufacturers and combined in a stand-alone cabinet with photo exit slots.

The total costing (depending on sophistication and add-ons eg Credit Card readers/Touch screens etc) of about $10 000 to $20 000 compared with $50 000 a few months ago.)

Another big factor is that the archival quality of thermal photo paper is now approaching that of silver halide (i.e. photos that will probably last from 50 to 80 years when stored under ideal conditions.)

I would strongly advise chemists to align themselves to an agent who is able to do digital photo processing and can handle all extra requests that good digital minilabs can do! (and of course handle problem orders).

The new Kiosks have dual functions which can be controlled by your customer i.e they can do instant (12sec ) 6"x4" thermal prints in your store at a retail cost of approximately 89c or they can send them via broadband connection to your local minilab and get silver halide photos back for approx 45c+ by the usual courier service (same day or over night) or post.
The great thing is you are paid up front and they pay for their mistakes!

Chemists doing on average 5 to 20+ rolls a day (and some say that it may drop by 40%) are advised to go the dual Kiosk NOW.

2003 Christmas exceeded all expectation in Australia when over 900, 000 digital cameras were sold.

Add to this the coming mobile phone camera market (they will have reached 4 mega pixel quality by Christmas 2004 and therefore take good quality photos), whereby the imaging market is theoretically increasing with more consumers clicking away and sending images - not storing them on hard drives which could crash or CDs/DVDs that may not be able to find a viewer/computer in 10 years time!
In other words there will be more work for your pharmacy's photo department to produce photos.

I feel that Kiosks are the way to go and it should be NOW!

Kiosks are also more versatile in that .they can either accept the camphone's "digital chips" or take in the image by transfer from a phone or camera or even video camera by "wireless" Bluetooth transfer protocols etc.

Rent wise, kiosks use a small foot-print (approx 1 to 2 metre/s square) and are usually placed at the front of your store. The moving screen display often attracts passers by who may not have come in or felt that you were not up-to-date in the photo market and not processing digital photos!

So I suggest that you upgrade your business plan for 2004 NOW!

My old plan 02/03 got me into the digital market with the outlay for two top of the range digital minilabs, each costing in excess of $500 000, at that time.

Yes, we are:
1. still chasing the declining market for rolls of film.
Thankfully, single or one-time use cameras are selling well, as consumers do not like taking their new digital or analogue cameras ' to parties, beaches or up mountains!'

2/ We should be using web sites to show off all the many little extra services that digital minilabs can do in order to get our share of photos off the Internet.
The web development expense may well be under utilized as I feel that Kiosks will be "on every street corner".
So my advice is for you to move quickly before your competition gets into your market.

3/We are still in the business of servicing agents for roll & digital film - competing at the lower end of the market but balancing the cost of the various transport/courier services.

There are 6 companies marketing Kiosks - (five from photographic companies and one from a computer company), and you can be assured that some phone companies will be there soon.

.Each Kiosk has its USP (Unique Selling Proposition).
Here is a short check list:-

You must be sure of
1/ Warranties
2/ back-up (as time out is lost trade...just like you dispensary computers!
3/ repair and maintenance agreements.
4/ agreements with your consumables supplier...make sure they keep you up-to-date.
5/Finance:- it may be worth while renting in this rapidly advancing digital era as compared with Higher Purchase or lease or bank loans etc.

New specifications (now delayed to August 2004) have been brought about by the War on terrorism and the upgrading of Identification..

You must upgrade before a date to be announced or scrap this profitable little service.
Ask PMA for details of the Passport Photo Guidelines & Passport Operator Checker gauge.
Note a new mask for the lens is supplied.
Many country travel agents and consumers depend on their local pharmacy for passport photos and will not want to take the risk of rejection, so we see this as an increased business opportunity.

The PMA office, Les Brener and our chairperson James Delahunty will be happy to advise and assist He can be contacted by calling Brisbane 07 3832 1432 Fax 07 3832 6623 or by e-mail at
james@ healthnut.com.au