CHA is hosting a plethora of digital scrapbooking classes at the show next week. I don't go to CHA Summer because, well, it's summer, but this year I am sorry to be missing it. I am intrigued by these classes, because honestly, I have yet to be convinced that there is money to be had in the traditional retailer by adding digital to their product mix.
Interestingly, traditional retailers seem to have been cut out of the loop on this matter. The content of the trade magazines these days seems to be comprised largely articles that seem to STRONGLY suggest that you MUST add digital to your retail store in order to survive. Okay, sounds reasonable. But, show me the money... Not the "sell this software" temporary money that essentially invites my current customers to never darken my door again, but the ongoing revenue stream I can create from a customer who is 100% digital. No one seems to be considering this angle.
If I sell a customer a piece of digital software and say, "Hey, try digital scrapping!" What ELSE does the digital industry offer me to get them to come back? They might drop an average of $50 a month in my store on paper, adhesives, embellishments, etc. But, if I show them how they can download everything they need from the convenience of their own home, aren't I shooting myself in the foot and unwittingly building someone else's business instead of my own?
What I find interesting is that all the classes at CHA and all the articles I see are written by people who have no financial stake in the traditional side of the industry. They are almost exclusively DIGITAL people. Of course they want to spread the gospel of digital - just as traditional retailers want to spread the gospel of traditional scrapping. But, it's easy enough to say, "Add digital" without REALLY considering what the ROI is on adding it.
I have talked to many retailers and they ALL agree that they must add some form of digital to their businesses. However, ask us (traditional retailers) how WE think it can be done. We are for-profit businesses. We need to see the long-term profit in adding digital so offer us solutions and not just advice. The fact of the matter is that until traditional retailers and even traditional manufacturers get brought into the loop and there are products that are EXCLUSIVE to the traditional retailers that it just doesn't make sense. I know, I know, HYBRID scrapping is one option. And I'm strongly in support of inviting digital scrappers to branch out and add traditional elements to their pages. But, I just don't, yet, see the benefit of introducing my traditional customers to digital. Show me the money - not the downloads...
I would love to see a round table discussion at a trade show about this - a panel of traditional retailers talking with a panel of digital industry leaders (not designers but people who are in a position to develop products that could be SOLD in retail stores). I don't want to be talked AT as a retailer, I want to be talked TO. Let's get together and chat and figure this out!