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IPS rolls out new niche for photo retailers

July 28, 2011: Having forged a partnership with 950-member US-based group Independent Photo Imagers (IPI), photo specialist supplier IPS is now on a drive to recruit new members from Australia and New Zealand.

IPI has 700 US members, 250 Canadian members (including the Foto Source group) and IPS managing director Stuart Holmes has a long-term goal of bringing up to 200 retailers in Australia and New Zealand into the group.

IPI currently has a complimentary offer from IPI to further sweeten the deal – six months free membership of the ‘Association of Personal Photo Organizers’. This is an association of independent business owners who offer personalised, one-on-one photo management services to consumers.

New to Australia and New Zealand, personal photo organisers have established a viable niche in the North American market over the past 3 years, driven largely by APPO founder, Cathi Nelson, who identified the opportunity while working in the scrapbooking industry.

The potentially lucrative new revenue stream sees personal photo organisers take on the task of organising their clients’ image collections – both hard copy and digital files – and transforming them into digital albums or photo books.

A PPO visits a client’s home and helps them organise their printed photo collections or digital image files or both. Additional services include digitising printed photos, slides and home movies as well as helping clients put their best photos into photo albums or creating digital PhotoBooks, collages and DVD slideshows.

Astute photo retailers already offer all these services, except for the home visits and organising services. The retailer can provide education to customers who want to organise their own photos – or can train one of their staff to become a PPO.

‘APPO and IPI are working together to help the photo retailers, including a certification program so that staff members can become a ‘certified PPO’, explained New Zealand’s first APPO member, Jill Boswell, Snapshot Cameras, Hamilton (pictured right).

‘Customer education can be in-store classes, night classes, talks to groups like genealogists, etcetera.

‘The APPO founder, Cathi Nelson, has just held a focus meeting with five IPI photo retailers in the USA to find out how her association can best help the retailers, so be assured that APPO will provide photo retailers with relevant information and PPO’s with the tools they need to be successful!’ said Ms Boswell.

She was considering using World Photo Day (August 11) and Family History Month (August) as a platform to held launch the new business in New Zealand. Linking up with home organisers – people who go into a home to ‘de-clutter’ and organise – was also a way of getting a ‘foot in the door’.

Ms Boswell said seniors moving into a smaller residences in particular would be a group who would benefit from an expert photo organising service.

She said a new set of training DVDs targetted at photo retailers in currently being developed.

Reduced membership fee for Kiwis
IPS is offering New Zealand members membership at NZ$80 per month, disregarding the exchange rate differential. (Australian membership is at A$80.)

Both Australian and New Zealand members of IPI who are customers of IPS also enjoy a 25 percent loyalty rebate after 12 months membership.

‘Specialists need to accept that they are up against larger retailers with business plans, marketing budgets, quality POS and marketing materials, and hard sales targets,’ said Stuart Holmes.

‘Perhaps they can’t do much about the rough deal they get from landlords and some suppliers, but they can and should equip themselves with these essential business and marketing tools. Membership of IPI delivers all that and more at just $80 per month.’

He emphasised that the IPI Marketing Group is ‘non-denominational’ is that there are no conflicts with existing marketing and buying groups such as Kodak Express, PhotoEdge and Camera House.

He said IPI was in the process of localising its marketing package for Australian and New Zealand, with all local holidays and events included.

For more information on IPI membership, click here.

For more on APPO membership, click here.

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