We missed last year to my other travel commitments so we have not had an IPI Fix for two years, other than regular contact on the member forum.
It was, in a word – EXCELLENT! I’m disappointed there were not more Aussies there, or Kiwis, or Canadians.
So, what did we get out of it other than a tan, which is now peeling off!
A whole set of innovations for the shop – from in-store layout to more marketing ideas.
Ideas for some great new products that we are already investigating.
A great deal on a new set up for transferring movie files to DVD (or other formats) And we bought it home with us in the luggage!
And in general, a whole refresh on our outlook towards photo retailing!
We all know ‘it’s not what it used to be’ (or at least everyone keeps telling me that!). We are now looking at new paper surfaces to offer our customers something different for their traditional printing and enlarging..
We are looking at setting up a ‘kiosk lounge’ upstairs where we will have Dakis software set up for photos and photo books. We will also have a couple of additional Kodak kiosks there as well, for cards and photo books. We have just yesterday purchased the first new computer and 24-inch screen for this.
We have found enhancements for services we already offer which can be up-sold to our customers, and which will increase our overall GP.
Most of all, we enjoyed meeting up with old friends who are fighting the same battles we are! Who have the same cost pressures we have, and who are also looking for new ideas.
However, it would be fair to say that when we talked about pay rates, and employment in Australia, most of the Americans we spoke to said ‘How do you guys make money?’
I’ve thought of changing our hours to 10am to 10pm, and offering our staff $12.50 an hour, but I think I know what they would say to me!
I admire what Fujifilm USA have done to support IPI, and the camerashop/minilab market in the USA (unlike Australia). They are helping stores with product, and supporting IPI with promotions and supporting the whole Marketing Solutions Program.
I also met two – yes two – real Kodak Alaris people on the Southpoint stand, and had a great talk to them about what products Kodak have, and what they can offer.
The support of the wholesalers for the trade show evening and following day was fantastic.
There was lots to see (and buy), and lots of additional ideas from looking at the displays and marketing.
I met, and went to a session by the beautiful Erin Manning who I have been friends with on Facebook for some years, and also met Tim Ryugo from Kodak Alaris – again Facebook friends for a long time but now we have actually met.
It was also great to have Stuart and Bruno there from IPS as we could give them additional feedback on products and possible agencies for them.
Do I have any regrets about spending the money, and having another trip to the USA? Absolutely not, and I’d go again tomorrow if I could!
To Ron, Brenda, Whitney and all the IPI crew, THANKS for putting on an awesome show.
– Alan Logue
Hutt St Photos