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Two days ago we read that Snappy Snaps Mayfair is about to be relaunched as a flagship store. According to this article, the refurbished shop “will incorporate photography workshops…putting the creative control over their images into the hands of customers, through new photo editing kiosks where clients can edit their images, and choose a variety of print options including canvas prints, mugs and t-shirts”.

It got us all thinking, as experts in local marketing, what would we do differently if we were given the job of reinvigorating the brand?

While Snappy Snaps is reported to have had solid growth during 2011, a visit to our local Snappy Snaps left us feeling a little cold. For a business that is amongst the most expensive of High Street developers and one that deals in the world of digital technology, the general feeling in store isn’t one that you could describe as ‘high-tech’ or engaging for the consumer.

Photography used to be a mysterious art practiced by a select few

Even following the democratization that came with the pocket camera, photography was a time consuming and expensive hobby. This meant that spending real money on prints was a practical necessity and owning the prints had a real value. They were something to be cherished.

Since the first clip on camera was added to a Sony Ericsson phone back in 2001 that has all changed. Ten years later the popularity of the smart phone has meant that digital really has come to the masses. Compact digital camera sales are in free fall and the most popular camera used on photo-sharing website Flickr is actually an iPhone.

The volume of pictures now being taken has grown exponentially

Where as twenty years ago a family event may have been documented by one 24-exposure film, now most would think nothing of taking 100 to 200 photos.

The problem is while more and more photos are being taken, and shared online, the trends for actually printing them are pointing downwards.

Mark Moskowitz, analyst with J.P.Morgan writes in March 2012 ,“we expect consumers to depend less and less on printing in coming years as Smartphone and tablet adoption rates increase. With photo-sharing apps, these mobile devices increasingly substitute for the prior use cases of printing hard copies of photos”. In tandem with this trend, research has also shown that the longer a person waits to print their photos, the less likely they are to actually do so.

Although Snappy Snaps appears to be in a reasonably comfortable position at the moment – we needn’t look too far to see the dangers of complacency, particularly in businesses tied so closely to technology.

Clearly Snappy Snaps doing something new at the flagship store, but are they doing enough regional marketing for the others?

In January this year Kodak finally announced that it had gone bankrupt. The business so closely connected with the digital revolution it had kick started, had finally been unable to keep up. As Peter Pachal says in his article entitled, ‘How Kodak Squandered Every Single Digital Opportunity It Had’ he states that “there are no Kodak moments in mobile”.

Peter believes that, despite having held a number of what would appear to have been trump cards over the years, Kodak has shown if you do nothing but play it safe, the cost just to stay in the game will whittle you down until you’ve got nothing left.

Today, just as ten years ago, photographic prints have just as much value as they ever did as physical ‘memory’ of a moment it time. A printed photo offers something that cannot be achieved via online sharing. The problem is, the longer a person waits to print their photos, the less likely they are to print them. Printing direct from a customer’s device needs to be available quickly, easily and conveniently.

A trend Snappy Snaps might want to pay attention to in-store book printing

Some machines that we have read about can print, bind, trim, and deliver a paperback book up to 800 pages in five minutes.

There is no reason why a Snappy Snaps book-printing machine couldn’t be designed and then franchised for installation in places where potential customers have time to kill and are found with smartphones full of photos just waiting to be printed. Imagine printing the photo album of your holiday while you wait in the terminal for your plane to arrive, or while having a Coffee in Starbucks.

Further down the line cloud computing could be utilised to send your album direct to the Snappy Snaps machines, so your book is available for collection, without the wait. As a customer you would be kept up to date on progress via an automated SMS or email direct from the machine.

If Snappy Snaps still wants to exist as a profitable business ten years from now, we think they need to think more broadly than editing kiosks and photography workshops. Innovation will be key to long-term success

Or if you'd like to read more about Local Marketing have a look at our blog page "Local Thinking': https://www.weareacuity.com/local-thinking-our-blog

Or get in touch with us today to learn about growing your local business. You can book a FREE 30 minute chat here.

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