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IPI conference ‘revitalizing’

Retailers from seven Australian and New Zealand stores attended the IPI conference Las Vegas (June 24 – 27) and, if the report from Louise Miller, Griffith Camera House, is anything to go by, it was a valuable and invigorating experience.

IPI_2Stores attending were: Hutt Street Photos, Adelaide; Fitzgerald Professional Photo Labs, Perth; Coffs Harbour Camera House; Griffith Camera House; Stallards Camera House, Tasmania; Queensberry Albums, Auckland; Photolife Studios, Manukau.

‘Having the opportunity to share experiences with like-minded business owners across the other side of the world was invaluable,’ said Louise.

Her report continues: Metal printing was huge in the US, and combining this with the ready-made templates from the IPI Marketing Support Program (MSP) that Camera House members now have available to them, will offer profitable opportunities for the future on the gifting side of the business.

(The IPI Marketing Support Program consists of a broad range of marketing collateral designed for independent photo specialists and delivered every quarter on DVD, which covers virtually every aspect of photo retailing.)

New gift lines included prints on curved glass, iPhone covers and bracelets. The MSP templates included posters, stuffers, emails and banners. A new brochures on ‘doing more with your images’ will be available shortly for members to download and give out to their customers.

While at the conference we were advised of some new programs coming shortly to IPI members for managing emails, managing social media and managing digital signage content. These had monthly subscriptions costs but seemed reasonable.

Sessions were held on Email Marketing, B2B, Educational programs and Merchandising. Both Lucidium and Dakis presented sessions on their upcoming marketing plans and held user groups on understanding their software. A number of the sessions were recorded and are available to download from the IPI website.

Cards and other custom stationery was a hot topic at the conference.
Cards and other custom stationery was a hot topic at the conference.

All in all it was a great conference and I feel revitalized and believe that there is a strong future for both selling cameras and selling gifting. We need to be open to new ideas and use the resources we have available through IPI and the MSP program.

– Louise said that the IPI conference was ‘both similar and different’ to Camera House get-togethers, ‘In that there was more diversity of members attending.

‘I found it was not just pure photographic businesses attending,’ she said. ‘Some IPI members had diversified their business to incorporate other smaller and larger businesses within the photographic model.

‘These included the high end B2B and custom card stationery facilities, for example.’


  1. Larry Steiner Larry Steiner July 14, 2013

    It is great to hear the impressions of IPIC from our Australian compatriots. For me, this is a great partnership in learning. IPI gives a dynamic system where members from around the world contribute and help build the knowledge base and marketing programs. It is not a top-down system. For instance I saw a very inspirational presentation on a fantastic store build-out from a member from Quebec, Canada. It is definitely a pick-your-pleasure format – use what you like, and pay back by showing what works well in your store.

  2. Peter Peter July 15, 2013

    Larry, do you think it is time for IPI to join with PMA for this sort of conference? For me it looks like pretty well a duplication of what we already have and it would be great to have a joint response. Only a few retailers over here have the funds to go to more than one US conference a year and it is a pity its split.
    It must be the same for many many distant US members.

    • Larry Steiner Larry Steiner September 1, 2013

      Peter, I think there needs to be both. IPI covers very focused marketing, buying, tech support and general trading for independent stores only. PMA must serve the entire range of the photo industry and cannot favor one segment over another. PMA also covers big picture (npi) things like sales tax policy and other matters. IPI / IPIC is quite different than PMA and their trade shows.

  3. Chris Chris July 16, 2013

    Well put Peter. A joint collaboration is very necessary given the current scale of the industry. Certainly PMA has been a little remiss in not giving the ‘output’ side of our trade the mileage IPI has -hence their appeal, however that is easily addressed. The time is right to re-focus efforts which should be done in unison. Let’s hope we can achieve the same evangelical feelings from the PMA Melbourne event in September.

  4. Alan Alan July 17, 2013

    This was our 4th IPI show, and they get better each time. The “university” sessions were more than plentiful, and I have a ton of notes to work through.
    The trade show day was great, and for a small store was more “focussed” than the bigger shows, and whilst it is not always possible to use/ship US based products in Oz, selective buying and creative use of suitcases can make the show even more rewarding.what the IPI show told me was that there is so much more out there that we could be doing, but our population base makes it hard to get a return on investment. Now if I could pick up my store and move it to the US, it would be a different story………………..

  5. tony tony July 17, 2013

    All very nice but the point remains that we already have an industry marketing organisation and many retailers are members of it and attend yearly and other meetings. Surely its better to work with the organisation we have, come up with suggestions at annual meetings for workshops and other formats that work for smaller dealers if that is the main issue.
    It is obvious that our industry marketing organisation is under pressure, lets help them with suggestions of where to go and discontinue the undermining of PMA by IPI which essentially has its origins as a US buying group.

  6. alan alan July 19, 2013

    The fact that Jim Esp was at the whole IPIC event says that PMA and IPI are working together.
    The IPI show was great for us as we saw and learned a lot about new products and new services.
    We brought home new equipment which is not yet available in Australia and in 3 days, some of it is already paid half paid for!
    The IPI agents in Oz, IPS, are supporters of our industry, both syupplying us with product at competitive prices, and supporting the industry with their participation in the PMA shows – what are Nikon, Sony and Canon going to be doing at PMA this year?
    The IPI marketing program is a fantastic resource for small stores, and it certainly gives us an edge over our (big box) competitors.
    One also needs to look at some numbers – there are probably more members in IPI in the USA than there are members of PMA in Australia!
    That IS NOT a criticism of PMA, it’s a simple equation that there are more people in the US, and more photo stores and that is why the IPI show was a success.
    I will gladly spend my money to go back to the IPI show, and I will also go to the PMA show in the US as well, if the budget permits.

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