Photo Counter believes that Fujifilm and Kodak are both engaged in trials of their printing technology in KMart stores in response to the pending exit of HP RPS from the national mass market chain.
Photo Counter understands there are four Melbourne suburban stores, including Ringwood and Greensborough trialing with Fujifilm, using Fujifilm dry labs, and six stores in the Kodak trial of Kodak dry transfer printing, including Richmond, Fountaingate and Brandon Park.
Unfortunately we are unable to confirm these details nor provide more, as neither Fujifilm nor Kodak Alaris have responded to repeated enquiries.
KMart’s direct competitor, BigW, is a long-standing Fujifilm partner, and is currently in the process of ‘upgrading’ to Fujifilm DL650 dry labs and reducing the installed base of kiosks per store.
The Fujfilm kiosks used in the trial are, we understand, different to those used in Big W stores. They feature 24-inch screens and are dressed with neon-like LED lights.
Officeworks, also part of the Coles group along with KMart, has Kodak printers and kiosks installed.
There appear to be three alternatives for KMart to follow: Fujifilm; Kodak; or dropping in-store photo printing altogether if the trials don’t deliver the hoped-for revenue per square metre. Unfortunately for dedicated photo specialists, the ‘loss-leader’/ant trail appeal of photo printing probably leaves the last alternative unlikely.
If Kodak wins the contract, the hoped-for re-engagement of Kodak Alaris with its Kodak Express customers will likely be delivered less resources, given the lack of personnel and a finite budget.
Kodak Alaris has held off revealing its 2014 marketing plans for Kodak Express and it’s not beyond the realms of credibility that the new company is waiting on the outcome of the trial to decide where to allocate its limited resources. That is, ‘if we lose out with KMart, then Kodak Express members are our new best friends and if not…’
For Fujifilm-supporting photo specialists it’s business as usual whatever the outcome.
Comment: Saying nothing is an odd communications strategy to adopt when you apparently have a bunch of KMart stores, their staff and customers and half the industry aware that you are conducting a market trial. Just really hard to keep that sort of thing a secret. Whoever thought it possible was having a lend of themselves. We have made every effort over the last two day to gain input from both Kodak and Fujifilm but they never write, they never call…*
If this isn’t a valid, newsworthy story, I don’t know what is, but it seems that Kodak Alaris and Fujifilm are happy to treat their photo specialist customers as mushrooms, as the old saying goes. If anyone out there lives or works close by a Melbourne KMart store, do pop in and have a look. Otherwise – looks like a long and circuitous car trip for Photo Counter next Monday!
*Correction – Stephen Nichols, business director, Kodak Alaris, phoned just as the weekly newsletter was being prepared.