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Installing a Photo-Printing Kiosk: Everything You Need to Know

Starting with the first photo booths, people have loved having the ability to take and instantly print photos. Since that time, technology advances created amazing computers and printers capable of creating professional quality prints and photographs. Gone are the days of the Foto Hut that was so popular in the 1970s. Even the one-hour photo printing at your favorite drug store is mainly a thing of the past.

Today, people can use a photo-printing kiosk to create greeting cards, graduation and wedding announcements, or simply to print off their favorite selfies.

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Develop an Action Plan

If you're interested in installing a photo-printing kiosk, start by creating an action plan. You need to know what kind of software you need, where you place the kiosk, and how you plan to manage it.

Often, the software costs more than the hardware (the kiosk itself). Most come with preexisting software, so look at quotes for just the unit, just the software, and then ask for quotes that include both. Nonstandard software typically offers greater flexibility, as well as more options for customization. Only you know if the extra price is worth it.

Look for a location with decent traffic, one that makes a natural fit for a photo kiosk. If you're looking to replace or augment a standard photo counter, place the kiosk nearby, since this is where your target audience is more likely to see it. Also, consider customer demographics. For example, newer technologies typically appeal more to a younger clientele. If you're considering starting with only one location, choose the one whose average customers are under 45 years of age.

Finally, even easy-to-use kiosks with an intuitive interface require an employee to answer questions, guide customers through controls, and even handle simple maintenance tasks such as adding paper or toner/ink.

Ease of Use

When looking at kiosks and software, take them out for a test drive, so to speak. Controls must be intuitive so that your customers can figure them out quickly, and basic maintenance needs to be simple so that staff can handle it.

You also need to make it easy to find. Again, this means choosing a location where you can prominently display the unit. No matter how easy it is to use, if it isn't also easy to find, nobody will use it.

Give Your Customers What They Want

One of the things customers like best about photo-printing kiosks is the ability to do fun, new things with their photographs. Most of your buyers have a camera in their hands at all times. Even the photo-happy '70s didn't see this kind of picture-taking action.

At the same time, printing photos has become far less common, likely because people just keep storing their photos in their phones and computers. Rolls of film aren't a thing with the average consumer today.

Make sure your kiosk offers people easy ways to download photos from their social media pages, phones, CDs, DVDs, memory cards, and disk drives. Then, give them unique ways to use their photos.

For example, when graduation time approaches, advertise your kiosk with some sample graduation announcements. This may inspire people who never considered creating their own unique graduation cards. You can do the same thing for wedding and birth announcements (though these don't typically have their own "season").

Before any holiday where people often sends greeting cards, create a display of your samples, such as kids in cute costumes for Halloween or family portraits for Christmas and holiday cards. At New Year, set up a photo calendar display.

Finally, offer peripherals, such as photo cubes and specialty frames. Your options are only limited by your imagination.

The Average Costs

The initial investment when installing a photo-printing kiosk is significant, with most machines ranging between $8,000 and $20,000. Prices depend on the features and customization options you select. Of course, with the right placement, you recoup this investment many times over.

Kodak is probably the most popular, well-known brand for all things photo-related. They, of course, got into the kiosk game years ago. They offer a unit with a 17-inch monitor for around $9,000, with prices extending to $18,500 as monitor size grows.

You can also look for refurbished units, which cost around half the price of a new model. That same Kodak, 17-inch monitor model averages around $4,500 refurbished.

Additional Costs

Of course, you also need printer supplies, such as paper and ribbon. A complete kit averages around $500, with replacement parts coming in at around $150.

Modules that allow your customers to access their Facebook photos or touch up pictures before printing typically cost around $150.

When getting price quotes, be sure to ask whether installation and training is included in the price.

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