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Go the extra mile – in the right direction

Peter Budd, marketing consultant with Photo Direct, challenges independent retailers to ‘take a look at your value proposition through the eyes of your customers’:

‘We go the extra mile,’ is a common claim among independent photo store owners when they compare their customer offering to that of their larger regional or national competitors.

They validate the catchcry by pointing to the experience, technical skill, knowledge, personal service and time their friendly staff devote to their customers as key points of difference to what the BIG players in the sector offer.

And they push the notion that if they keep going that extra mile, customers will surely beat a path to their door and their cash registers will beep loudly and constantly. But for many, going that extra mile doesn’t appear to be a profitable, let alone sustainable strategy anymore. Sadly what many retailers THINK to be their point of difference is NOT what their customers believe or experience – or even value. And that’s where the problem lies for many retailers. They are not looking at their market offering through the eyes of their customers!

As a result customers are voting with their feet and going off to find better value at some BIG players’ stores or somebody’s online store. If this resonates with your situation maybe it’s time to stop, take a deep breath, go back to the basics of marketing and take a long close look at these types of questions:

1. Which segments of the market are the best for you to pursue? Remember truly effective segmentation means your choices must be measurable, substantial, accessible, differentiable and actionable.
2. Who should you target within those segments? Be sure to use the various consumer profiling tools now available to better define who you want to target, so that you’re always talking to the right people about the right offer.
3. What customer insights have you discovered about your chosen target audiences? This is where data or survey analysis – and being truly close to your customers – helps identify the quick wins you can achieve because you’ve made the effort to discover the DNA of your target audiences.
4. How do you use those insights to differentiate your market offering and create better customer value? Savvy retailers know that customers want value and are willing to pay for it. Here’s where the fun starts, as you get to develop products and services that consistently delight your customers.
5.What’s the best way to position your market offering in the minds of your target customers? Positioning is all about the way your store is defined by consumers on important attributes and the place your ‘brand’ occupies in the consumer’s mind relative to competing stores. Of course you are not Apple, but for example you could study the their approach and adapt it to your purposes.

Addressing these questions and implementing the required changes will ultimately lead you to the delivery of superior customer value. Then your competitors had better watch out!
– Peter Budd, Photo Direct



  1. Phil G Phil G September 20, 2012

    Peter all great stuff in theory, give us the tools to print in any way from iPhones, just for a start, them promote the hell out of it, it is a sleeper.

    Harvey Norman are starting to get it, in last weeks Saturday paper had, “Do something with your photos” as a header then had deals on printing Instagram and prints from “smart phones” (noticed they didn’t specifically mention iPhones because all the so call iPhone ready solutions are flakey at the moment, don’t care who the vendor is).

    As usual HN went in to “lets sell it low priced” because the customer knows what the price show be, not!!??

  2. Scott Scott September 21, 2012

    Phil G is right. Consumers now shoot the majority of their pictures on smartphones. Many photo kiosks readily accept these – just like cameras, however the kiosks sold by your company don’t. Granted, your well-meaning ideas are sound but please spend a week in a photo shop now. See what customers are wanting to achieve – and what they’re trying to achieve this from. This industry has changed significantly in the past 12 months – all based around smartphones. Get the fundamentals right and support customers so they are not disadvantaged against their competitors.

  3. Tim Tim September 21, 2012

    We are doing great iPhone business. It does take a while if the customer has over a thousand images on a phone but the upside is that sometimes they print hundreds of them !
    There is a new system coming for our kiosks in a month or two where customers will be able to choose just one or two shots and send them to the kiosk but I think we’ll get more business out of the current method.

  4. Kris Kris October 5, 2012

    When it comes to print from iPhones, Lucidiom has already a plug in allowing it for over a year.

  5. Phil G Phil G October 5, 2012

    Some news about v5.5 for those HP kiosks users out there looking forward to the long awaited iPhone connectivity that it brings with it. Not sure what HP were thinking, perhaps they weren’t or have never handled an iPhone ever.

    Most iPhones have many 100’s but usually 1000’s of photos on them, mine has!

    The HP kiosk has gone back to the early version of software but only for iPhones, no choice to load some but load all and only the latest 1000. Even if you only want a couple printed from last nights night out you will load perhaps a 1000 to print 1, what sort of consumer experience is this?

    Good news is that the Dakis kiosks for ordering prints and photos from all android/Microsoft cellphones, tablets, and iPhones/iPads will be here before we get the HP which we are informed is some time before Christmas!

    The Dakis

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