The historic Ticino company Foto Garbani tells us how it has been able to adapt to market changes

The company

Foto Garbani is a family-run company founded in Locarno in 1928, with a small black and white shop and workshop.

Today it has 3 branches and employs a dozen collaborators. We talked to Prisca Garbani about how the agency has evolved in over 90 years of activity.

What does Foto Garbani mainly do?

“Our field of action ranges from taking photographs for sporting events and for private events like anniversaries, weddings, baptisms, communions, confirmations or family portraits. We also carry out photographic services for hotels, restaurants and local newspapers.”

A really intense and diversified activity…

“We actually cover the demands around photography at 360 degrees.

In our stores you can buy Canon, Nikon, Sony, Leica, Olympus and Panasonic products. We also offer photography courses.

In addition, over the years we have expanded our archive of vintage photographs by purchasing various photographic archives in the area.”

It is rare to find almost centennial companies so rooted in the territory, what is the recipe for your success?

“The passion for photography is indispensable but not enough.

For a lasting business, you need to invest in training (we currently have 4 apprentices) and know how to adapt to market changes.”

The photography market has been revolutionized by technological evolution. How did you manage not to be overwhelmed?

“In order not to sink, the wave must be ridden. We have exploited the technology train by offering our customers more efficient services.

In the last year we have also started a partnership with MomaSoft, using their MomaPIX digital asset management software for managing our photo archive and selling online photos ” .

How is MomaPIX supporting your business?

“MomaPIX is giving us an edge over our photo e-commerce, particularly with regard to sports events. Taking advantage of the OCR (Optical Characters Rekognition) technology that allows the recognition of text in images, the software is able to recognize the number of bib numbers and automatically insert them as keywords associated with all the photos uploaded to the MomaPIX archive. ”

What benefits did you get from the automatic recognition of texts in the images?

“First of all, so much time savings for us at the agency, we no longer have to manually put up the bib numbers one by one. As a result, our customers wait less time to have the photos available online: if it took two working days of 5-6 people before OCR introduction, now after a few hours the participants in the races already find the photos uploaded on our MomaPIX site and can buy them. ”

What feedback did you get from your customers regarding this innovation?

“We no longer receive calls from customers who say they can’t find their photos! Now all that separates customers from buying photos, in the case of sporting events, is typing the bib number. Photo search is simplified, as customers have an overview of all their photos. Before they had to carry out various searches based on the photographers who shot in the various moments of the race (departure, route, arrival).

Our customers are happy with the improvement of our e-commerce service and they buy more willingly.”

In which contexts e -commerce is more successful?

“Virtually everyone. Even with regards to events like Communions and Confirmations, most customers now prefer to buy photos online instead of going into the store. On the day of the event we provide the credentials for access to the private archive that will be available on our MomaPIX website within a few hours, so that only the users with the password can view the photos.

The tendency we find is to buy the digital file instead of printing. In fact, we expect in the coming years to increase more and more online sales.”

In addition to e-commerce, do you also offer the immediate printing service?

“In reality for us e-commerce is much more effective than immediate printing. If you sell photos at the time, you create a line of people who must choose them and lose more time. With e-commerce instead, customers can choose in peace all the photos they prefer.

Another context in which online sales is preferable to face-to-face sales is that of horse races. Our customers can buy photos from their smartphone in real time, without having to leave the location where they are following the races. ”

Are there other innovations that have allowed you to increase sales?

“In addition to OCR, of which we are really excited, we are taking a big advantage of the introduction of banner ads before the free download of photos of some events. In this case, instead of selling through e-commerce, we make an agreement with the event organizer and we provide all the photos for free download on our MomaPIX website. Before being able to download the file, the user sees a pop up with advertising banners.”

What benefits are advertising banners bringing you?

“This mechanism allows event organizers to find sponsors more easily and we do not take the risk to cover an event and sell a few photos. In short, everyone is happy: the organizer of the event is paid by the sponsor, we by the organizer of the event and the end user downloads his photos for free.”

In conclusion, the use of technologies in step with the times is fundamental for have a long-lasting and successful business and make your customers satisfied.

For Foto Garbani, a technological partner who was up to speed proved to be the extra weapon to increase sales.