By Martin Vedris

SYDNEY: Harvey Norman today officially opened its first Fujifilm digital photography concept store at their Alexandria outlet in Sydney but also previewed their next project — touchscreen music kiosks.

Digital photography and photographic printing have been a surprise success for retail giant, Harvey Norman. Now Harvey Norman has teamed up with Fujifilm to roll out self-serve digital photo printing kiosks within their stores nationally.

The Fujifilm digital photography concept store within a store was formally opened by Shigetaka Komori, President and Chief Executive Officer of Fujifilm Holdings Corporation, Japan. Gerry Harvey also spoke at the event and remarked that years ago he never would have thought that as an electronics and IT retailer, Harvey Norman would become a leader in digital imaging.

It is however a category that has provided new income streams and product lines for the retail group. Customers can bring their digital images into the stores and have them printed and compiled into photo albums and even large format framed photographs. They can even have their images printed onto clothing and mugs.

“As Australia’s leading electronics and IT retailer, it is only fitting that we meet this new area of demand through the provision of a specialised print processing facility,” said Harvey Norman general manager, Rutland Smith.

“The Fujifilm digital photography concept store has been established to accommodate the convergence of digital printing and mobility products,” Smith continued.

“With the increasing photographic capabilities of mobile phones, more and more people are expected to make use of the convenience and availability of these products to capture photographs.”

Fujifilm Australia managing director, Dave Marshall, said the organisation has had a strong business relationship with Harvey Norman for many years.

“As a leading Harvey Norman digital photography partner, Fujifilm is committed to providing state of the art technology that will meet the photographic needs of the future,” said Marshall.

Also on trial at the Alexandria store are touchscreen music kiosks from Abuzz Technologies, a Sydney-based kiosk manufacturer which exports to 13 countries including the USA, UK, the Netherlands and Germany.

Customers use the touchscreen kiosks to choose from a large selection of artists and albums and create compilation CDs of their favourite songs which they purchase for $1.69 per track. The order is sent to their technology counter where the CD is created while the customer waits.

While similar technologies have been tried at other retail outlets, such as dedicated music stores, it is a niche that Harvey Norman is keen to enter and is looking to launch nationally.

With the surprise success of digital imaging proving that thinking outside the square can provide new sales opportunities, Harvey Norman have little to lose and plenty to gain from music kiosks.