With a tumultuous 2012 nearly behind us, let's look ahead at photo kiosk trends for the next year.
Social media continues to gain a lot of attention, and photos are big driver of that trend. Next year, look for photo kiosks in retail stores to begin full-scale embracing of social media, allowing for in-store uploads to Facebook and other social networks. For time-pressed shoppers, these high-speed uploads save a lot of steps — all while giving retailers a chance to offer high-margin photo prints and gifts.
The mobile phone and the photo kiosk have had a tempestuous relationship. First, early camera phones didn't have removable media, requiring users to email or SMS them. Then, efforts to connect phones and kiosks via Bluetooth proved to be a kludge, at best. When camera phones became smartphones, removable media became common on mobile devices, which wasn't too useful for photo kiosks since the tiny MicroSD card was usually stashed underneath a battery. Any process requiring a device to be disassembled in a retail store isn't a reasonable solution.
Savvy kiosk vendors are now adding MicroUSB, MiniUSB and iPhone cables to kiosks, since most of today's smartphones allow this connection to transfer photos.
Just as pop-up stores — temporary promotional retail locations in seasonal or high-traffic areas — are a hot new trend, look for pop-up photo kiosks. These can be used for events, concerts, receptions and more. The advantage most of them will have is a better quality lens and flash combo — maybe even a DSLR — than a camera phone. Once coupled with an integrated brand message and immediate social sharing, look for these kiosks to be adopted by marketing-savvy brands.
And, given that most tablets sport a camera, they can transform into "mobile photo kiosks."
Gary Pageau is the former publisher of PMA magazine. He is currently with InfoCircle Content Marketing Services.