Photo Direct marketing consultant Peter Budd recently returned from a trip to South Africa identifying more similarities than differences with the local photo retailing scene.
He visited photo stores in various Gauteng and Western Cape Province shopping malls, with retailers reporting that the top sellers in photo services at the moment are block mounts, canvas, calendars and photo books.
Stores are generally well-staffed and well-located, and merchandising standards were high, with good use of point of sale materials.
‘Standout moment however was the sight of customers queuing to get served at the Wizardz Print store in the V&A Market mall in Cape Town,’ he said.
‘The company provides a wide range of print-related services and prides itself on its fast, efficient and friendly service, offering free delivery on orders over the equivalent of $20. The photo doesn’t quite show the fact that several people were lined up to be served and they were all waiting to either pick up or order a product!’
Prints from mobile phones were a growing market as they are in Australia, though (perhaps also like Australia) there was no significant promotion of the service.
He said that mass market competition in photo retailing is not so obvious. There are discount department stores but, at least in the West Cape region of South Africa, there was no equivalent to a JB Hi-Fi-type outlet.
Price competition not as big a feature of the South African scene.
‘Pricing was good but you didn’t see staggeringly large, 50-percent-off-, 5-cents-a print-type offers. He said while there were bargains on offer, pricing was overall a more subtle part of the marketing mix.
Kiosks are common but again not located in huge numbers in Officeworks-type locations. Mr Budd said that ‘four to six kiosks would be typical’.
Another photo-related business that caught his eye was an attention-grabbing van from the company Scrapbook-Direct, an importer, manufacturer, distributor and wholesaler of new and innovative products for the scrapbook, card making and altered art crafts market.