Boft had its first machines in Chile installed in 2017. Erico Porchat, our Chilean franchise partner, has always been interested in the photo printing business.
While looking for existing solutions capable of printing photos, Erico spotted Boft. He loved our product immediately. His passion for photo printing coupled with high-quality Boft machines proved to be a strong alliance: Chilean retail revenues are the highest among the 28 markets in the Boft network.
Within one year, Erico increased the number of machines in Chile from 2 to 16. In this interview he shares his insights from operating with Boft and doing business in Latin America.
Why did you decide to work with Boft?
I have been working in the photo printing business for four years in Chile. To be honest, I planned to design photo printing kiosks myself. Though, there’s one important question that any company should ask itself before entering a new field — to build or to buy? We did extensive research on solutions that already existed on the market.
I came upon a video on Instagram. There was a lady printing photos from a fashionable kiosk named “Boft”. I really loved it for its elegant design and immediately started looking for more information about the company.
Do you remember your first impression about Boft?
Design! I loved it as soon as I saw it: it was elegant, beautiful, sober and different from others on the market. All other machines are too brightly coloured, making them eyesores.
How did the launch process go?
After I spotted Boft on Instagram, I started to exchange emails with the Boft team. I have to admit that my decision was not only based on the quality; the concept of Boft itself really appealed to me.
Negotiations started around November and we signed the contract in December. I received two machines in January and installed the first one in Arauco Park. Customers liked the machine at once. Truly, it was a success.
How did you promote the launch of your kiosks?
For my first launch, I had sales assistants who gave small gifts such as diaries, stickers, pictures or promotional codes to people who approached the kiosk. They also demonstrated how to use the kiosk.
Tell us about your experience with landlords. Was it a tricky challenge for you?
In Chile all malls are owned by 3–4 companies. For instance, the proprietor of Mall Plaza owns around 17 malls in Chile. So, when we managed to establish a connection with one company, we immediately received approval for a number of malls. One person can unlock many doors for you.
Obviously, in the very beginning it was difficult for me because I did not know how to reach out to decision makers. I remember that I tried contacting the biggest mall in Chile (The Costanera Center) but I did not manage to convince the person in charge. Later I realized that the person was just not open to new ideas. Key takeaway: never give up!
When did you realize that you wanted more machines?
I have always wanted to have several machines in operation. So, when this business started to take off and showed good results, I decided to buy more Boft machines.
My second machine in the Marina Arauco shopping center became one of the most profitable kiosks across the entire Boft network. Its results pushed me to search for new places, new ways to get investments and grow.
What kind of difficulties have you faced so far?
Financially, only one machine did not live up to my expectations. We later transferred it to another spot. As for technical difficulties, I must admit that I have not had any so far. Boft technical support works really well; they are always here to fix your problem or give some useful tips.
The only real issue is bureaucracy taking a lot of time in Chile. We had to submit many applications and sign tons of papers to install our machines.
How do you organize your work? How big is your team?
Five people work for me. Everyone has his own responsibilities and everyday tasks; no one does the same thing. We have three maintenance employees: in the South of the country, in La Serena and in Santiago.
How much time do you spend to deal with one machine?
It depends. Usually I spend between one and two hours daily to take care of the administrative tasks. Nevertheless, I know that my maintenance employees need around 20 minutes per one machine: cleaning the kiosk, taking out the money and refilling paper.
Is there anything special about Chilean market?
Chileans are avid consumerists, which makes the Boft business extremely profitable here. People in Chile enjoy driving fancy cars or wearing branded clothes. Boft perfectly fits into this premium product consumption pattern as its functions and design mean that it’s considered to be top quality.
How do you deal with the security issues related to placing your machines in public places?
Well, that is why I place my machines in shopping malls only. In Chile you need to take the risk of vandalism into account. My plan is to put Boft machines in every possible shopping center. Afterwards, I will consider installing machines in the street and at touristic spots.
The security provided by the shopping center is still my best option. No one is going to kick the machine or steal it because there are people around. Moreover, contracts signed with malls make them responsible for the security of our machines.