Business services Sep, 08 2010

Money Minting With Photo Printing

With the ever increasing love of Indians to get clicked and framed, photo printing industry is gearing up rapidly in India. Franchising has further given a boost to the industry and is offering lucrative business opportunities. Read on to know more...

By Ramanjit Kaur
Feature Writer
Money Minting With Photo Printing

The rising popularity of digital media and digital technologies entail promising endeavour for entrepreneurs in the digital photo printing industry. As the sector offers lucrative business options, aspiring entrepreneurs can take-up the franchise of a well known company. Although the industry is yet in its nascent stage, and there are very few players that have already taken the franchise route to expand their business. One added advantage in taking up a franchise business in this industry is that majority of the players in the sector offers online services, while few have started the offline stores also in order to serve better their customers.

The digital technology has taken the concept of photography to newer heights. Few companies have started minting money by providing instant digital printing services to its customers. Players like Kodak Express, ZoomIn and Canvera Digital Technologies are the few prominent players in the sector that has marked their presence nationwide. They have been using the franchise model to reach out to different geographical locations of the nation just to make the services available to their distant customer base. As per Sunny Balijepalli, Founder and CEO, ZoomIn, “We also decided to look at franchising as a route because it offers us a quick and sustainable way of growing.”

Significance of franchising

Particularly in photo printing industry, franchising a business allows the prospective entrepreneurs to avail  a cost-effective way of getting started with both online and offline business. However, buying and installing cumbersome equipments for digital printing business is a costly affair especially if someone is planning to start independently. Therefore, franchising offers a lucrative platform to the entrepreneurs aspiring to take the franchise route to taste success.

Eligible entrepreneurs

If you are aspiring to start a digital print studio, then you need to have an area with a space of 100 sq. ft for shop-in-shop format, and 350 to 500 sq. ft for Exclusive Brand Outlet (EBO) with an investment of Rs five to 15 lakh. In such franchise businesses, the investment is based on the size of the store and infrastructure required.

According to Balijepalli, “We are keen to partner with existing photo retailers with a loyal customer base, who are passionate about their business, have a greater appetite for growth, but lack the access to world-class print technology and infrastructure. And we help them in getting advanced with the digital age of photo processing and printing. We bring in the right technology and the product experience to ensure that the existing photo retailers can grow their business significantly with us.”

Setting up the franchise

Taking up a franchise business helps you get access to not just the world class digital technologies but also the essential support and training during the initial period of business establishment. As Balijepalli says, “We offer our franchisees with all the required training modules which involve classroom and on-floor training about the ZoomIn products, the software involved in creating products and the Point of Sale (POS) skills.” These franchisors serve their franchisees with initial training sessions that are supplemented with training documents and on going refresher courses, along with product samples, sales tips and more.

Challenges in the industry

In spite of the rising demand for digital photo printing, there are still some challenges that a new entrant can face. However, a franchisee always has the leverages of hand-holding and full support from his franchisor in terms of overcoming the challenges. As per Balijepalli, “We are a service built in India, for serving a diaspora that is connected through memories and their celebrations through photos. Our challenges included those that any innovative start-up would encounter trying to break ground. We built our infrastructure of logistics and on-time worldwide delivery of products through lot of learning and filtering for reliability.”

Other challenges include payment issues for online businesses and the less usage of broadband. Though with time, the reach of broadband will constantly increase and the existence of offline stores is helpful in overcoming such challenges.

To summarise, memories are relived through photographs. A business proposition that works towards safekeeping the memories of every individual through innovative concepts is surely a business to look out for. Franchising can be the best way to cash-in on this unique idea of connecting people through photos.

Related: Low on cost and high on returns

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