The message which came though loud and clear in Phil Gresham’s Instagram presentation at the IPI Conference (Las Vegas, June 23) was that to be successful, involvement in this category has to be full-blooded and enthusiastic. Half-measures wouldn’t work.
He began the presentation outlining the scale of the Instagram opportunity: 20 billion photos shared up to end of March; 60 million new images posted daily and 75 million daily users; launched in October 2010 and sold for $1bilion in 2012 (‘about twice what Kodak was sold for’; 34 percent of Gen Y (in the US) use it; 60 new photos/sec added.
‘Surely there is something in those stats for us’ he said.
‘And while Facebook is actually going backwards in growth, Instagram is still increasing.
‘You must have a good range. There’s no use just having one or two products,’ he told the audience. ‘You can’t play with it. Dive in. It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it.’
He said it was important to create enthusiasm around the category, and this required some store space, a strong focus on online presentation of your offering, plenty of SKUs and above all, lots of choice in templates.
‘Frankly the big box guys are not really doing it well and I think we can grab a mark on them.
‘The opposition is selling 4x4s for 15 cents. Whether it’s 4 or 400, we charge $1.50, and we often get 50-, 60- 70-dollar orders for square prints. Don’t go into it at the bottom end of the market. If you want to discount in promotions well and good, but don’t start at the bottom because it’s very hard to bring the price up.’
The path to doing it well while avoiding direct price competition was offering an unmatchable variety of templates, which made your range unique.
‘It’s hard to compete against (price) on a single image, but if you’ve got templates, price is not such a factor,’ he explained.
If you’ve got a unique template cost is not the deciding factor. They are not buying the print or canvas or piece of metal, they are buying the template.
‘Try and get a lot of templates – get them from wherever. Push IPI for more,’ he advised.
The way you presented your Instagram offering online was critical. Fotofast has 30 different product categories for Instagram, and it’s mentioned over 100 times on the website.
The more landing pages you have, the more visibility you have online. ‘And it just makes it easier for the customer while providing relevant information the web crawlers can find.’ (Web crawlers systematically browse the internet for web browsers and are critical for giving a website a high Google etc, rating in web searches.)
He said that Fotofast ‘is shipping more Instagram product than any other product that we sell,’ indicating there’s a big demand out there looking for supply.
Another tip was to name all relevant image files ‘Instagram’. ‘It’s very important you don’t just call them 1a, 2a etc. If someone does an image search for Instagram then very quickly they will begin seeing our images there. And then they go onto the site.’
Once again, it’s important to not just offer a few products. ‘Offer lots of services (Fotofast does so on a large drop down menu via its Dakis software).
‘Everything then takes you to landing page, and then you go to work.’
In store, it was important to make a big impact, rather than just knock out a few A4 posters. Addressing the IPI audience, he noted that there was a wealth of Marketing Solutions Program marketing material to use.
He said that creating an in-store promotion which could be seen from the street could attract younger people who possibly hadn’t even been into a photo store before.
Have fun with it, he said. Rotating banners, hang up samples on a clothesline, cover the shop in promotional display posters. Lots of samples. Even though it’s obvious, tag everything in a square format as ‘Instagram friendly’. ‘You’ve got to tell them,’ he said.
He ran through some of the product range Fotofast offers:
– Standard prints from 4×4 through to 24×24-inch.
– Canvas: ‘This is an amazing product. It has more than tripled our output for poster prints. We have 48 options and they are going all over the country. Why? Because no one else is offering them.’ Collage canvasses from Instagram images were particularly popular.
– Mugs: ‘we offer 35 options. Having a range is the secret.’
– Drink coasters ‘It’s amazing how many we sell at $25 a set. Who would have thought? I’m not a big fan of them personally, but it’s no about me.’
– Iphone cases with square pics – put the Instagram logo on everything that is square friendly.
– Stubby holders (neoprene and velcro).
– HD Metal. From wall hangings through to fridge magnets and even business cards.
– Mouse pads. ‘Who uses them – but we sell them!’
– Poster prints: ‘Get on board – they want these prints!’
– Square photo frames, including four-ups, etc.
– Acrylic squares
– Polaroid-look templates.
He said the first step was to download the Instagram app and become familiar with what it’s all about.
‘- And have fun with it,’ he reiterated.