Canon Australia has launched its own online photo printing business, Photo Pico (branded ‘photoPICO’) offering photo books, canvas prints and enlargements to its extensive consumer customer base.
Last week a bundle of Christmas offers was emailed to My Canon subscribers, including ‘HD Photo Books’ with 20 free pages and free shipping. Canon released a press release announcing the launch today. Access a PDF version of the Canon release here.
‘Powered by Canon, the new Photo Pico service extends the imaging experience from capture to output, allowing people to do more with their photos at a level of quality that does their images justice,’ said KC Lu, senior product manager, Canon Consumer Imaging, Canon Australia.
‘Distinct from the mass print market, Photo Pico uses Canon inkjet printer technology to offer a range of HD print options that bring people’s images to life like never before with incredible detail and a wider range of colours.’
The Photo Pico website (‘Powered by Canon’) states that photo books are being produced using the Canon Dreamlabo 5000 commercial inkjet printer, which prints at up to 2400dpi using a seven-colour dye-based ink system.
Canvas prints and enlargements are made on Canon wide-format inkjet printers.
Canon is currently using the Dreamlabo unit installed earlier this year at Pictureworks in Melbourne (along with Pictureworks’ wide-format printers). Pictureworks also handles photo book printing for Target and Officeworks, and operates its own direct-to-consumer website, Albumworks.
‘We are working with existing and potential new DreamLabo customers to cater to the strong demand for HD photo books and provide the best service for consumers across Australia,’ said Canon Australia’s Communications and PR manager, Andrew Giles. ‘This includes our Melbourne installation [Pictureworks] at this stage, but, in keeping with the nature of the platform itself, the the supplier mix is flexible and will change as new suppliers come on board and the product range evolves.’
He said that Canon has entered the market in response to dissatisfaction with low-quality printed product from professional customers:
‘For some time now, photographers have been asking for Canon’s help in sourcing high-quality commercial print options for their images,’ said Mr Giles. ‘Many have been unhappy with the quality of photo books they receive.
‘The market is saturated with low-quality products and Canon is now able to answer the need for a premium-quality option by offering prints from the DreamLabo – the photographer’s printer.
‘By establishing Photo Pico, Canon enables potential suppliers to build print fulfilment businesses.’
However, there are well-regarded established players in the high-end of the photo book market. For example, in the past two weeks Photo Counter has had notification from both Momento Pro and Nulab’s Picpress photo book business announcing major wins in national book printing awards. Both companies use Indigo ‘digital presses’ for their photo book production.
Canon indicated that there will be opportunities for photo retailers to get involved in its new foray into retail printing: ‘We’re in discussions with some retailers about opportunities for them to range high-end photo merchandise,’ said Mr Giles.
‘We welcome any Canon customer to take this opportunity to work with us. There are plenty of opportunities to grow the quality print market together and we’ve taken steps down this path with some of our retailers already.’
Canon has flagged new DreamLabo installations: ‘We’re working with a number of interested parties across Australia at the moment. Seeing is believing and consumers are now aware of the difference in image quality that the DreamLabo delivers, which is in turn creating interest from potential DreamLabo customers.
‘Like any major business investment, there’s considerable forward planning and we expect to announce the arrival of more machines into Australia in the near future.’
The software platforms for Photo Pico and Albumworks are dissimilar, indicating that Photo Pico is not simply a re-badged version of the Albumworks website and service.
Photo Pico prices range from $65 (15x15cm) to $132 (30x30cm) for photo books; $70 (30x30cm) to $400 (100x133cm) for canvas prints; and $40 (30x30cm) to $113 (100x133cm) for enlargements.