Quebec photo retailer PixM Photo Video has had to make changes to respond to market conditions. The Dead Pixels Society recently spoke with Marc-Antoine Marchand, co-owner, of the Victoriaville, Quebec, shop to discuss how the business is adapting to changing consumer habits and business trends.
Marc-Antoine and his brother, Jean-Philippe, are co-owners, having spent 10 and 25 years, respectively, in the family business. Their father, Jacques, started the business in 1976. Over the past five years or so, the senior Marchand progressively passed on the business until the brothers took full ownership two years ago. The single-location business has 3,000-square feet of retail space and another 1,000 square foot photo lab.
The brothers realized to continue the business’ growth, more services would need to be developed. Yes, PixM Photo Video sells cameras, but in-store camera sales make up the majority of overall hardware sales.
“Most of the [online] business is not selling hardware,” says Marc-Antoine. “The online business is difficult to compete in. We are doing some sales – maybe 5-10 transactions a month.”
On the other hand, growth in online photo gifting is explosive, especially profitable for a lab producing 90-percent of products in-store, including printing, framing, and video transfer. Marc-Antoine says the company’s PhotoFinale printing and gifting site has been driving online sales, as opposed to kiosks. “Kiosk users are time-consumers,” he says. “The web solution is an easy workflow and an easy process for the consumer.”
PixM is also creating new business models to engage with customers all around Quebec. Among the most popular is the PixMaton photo-booth rental service, which comes in three choices.
“Photobooth renting is a good business, and we have invested in that,” says Marc-Antoine. The choices include a full-size traditional photo booth, a self-developed tablet-based photo booth and an Instax kit. The latter is a camera case bundled with five Fujifilm Instax cameras, suitable for weddings and for parties. “This experience gets the customer what they want,” he adds. “We promote this for people to put the cameras on wedding tables.”
Like many independent photo retailers, PixM is looking to expand into the commercial printing business.
“We are looking to release a new website with a business printing solution in September,” says Marc-Antoine. “We are investing in a digital press to offer b-to-b products. We have already done some small jobs, and there is a need. The printing business is profitable.”
Marc-Antoine says the brothers are always looking for new growth opportunities to ensure the continued longevity of PixM Photo Video for another generation.