Kodak seeks growth in new Places

This week, Photo Counter interviewed David Santer, Kodak Alaris regional director, Marketing, Services and Growth Initiatives. (Good to see the new company keeping the old Kodak tradition of elaborate titles!).

The interview touched on a new dye transfer printer/print growth initiative, ‘Kodak Print Place’, and Kodak’s plans for the Kodak Express group in Australia and New Zealand. But mainly Kodak Print Place…

David-Santer

David Santer, regional director, Marketing, Services and Growth Initiative, Kodak Alaris Personalized Imaging, Asia Pacific Region.. (Source: LinkedIn)

First, could you elaborate a bit on the Kodak Print Place concept?
We’ve been working through a lot of value discovery to understand exactly what consumers want to do and how they want to do it and we are continuing to…adapt our products and services to them. We were first to market with Wi-Fi printing through kiosks and we were first to market with Facebook connectivity and Instagram connectivity which was rolled out last year to many accounts…

Whilst we understand that behavioural trend, we also noticed in many markets there’s a new trend where consumers felt it was unnecessary to use a kiosk at all. So as part of this process we launched the concept around Kodak Print Place. It’s similar to when you walk into a Starbucks or a Gloria Jeans or an airport and they may have free Wi-Fi. We’ve developed a logo and a symbol that symbolises that people will be able to connect to a Wi-Fi router called Kodak PrintPlacee and be able to get prints easily from their tablet or from theirsmartphone and print them wirelessly without the need to touch a kiosk.

So really removing a hybrid model and moving to a consumer interface – my personal tablet, my personal phone – for printed output products that they desire.

This has been communicated this week to Kodak Express stores in Australia and New Zealand. Is this exclusive to Kodak Express?

Kodak Alaris hopes the new Kodak Print Place logo will be seen in reatil outlets beyond traditional photo stores and mass merchants.

Kodak Alaris hopes the new Kodak Print Place logo will be seen in retail outlets beyond traditional photo stores and mass merchants.

No it won’t be. Kodak Express will be absolutely key to launching this program but as we’ve seen consumer behaviours change – consumers want their products in places they are. So whilst Kodak Express stores will probably operate a highly valued and serviced solution, and certainly offer additional products, the aim is to have this where consumers wish to print. And so people get back to having a tangible print or product output via the Kodak Print Place.

Is it compatible with wet labs?
Currently it is not.

That’s a bit of a problem for Kodak Express stores, isn’t it?
No it isn’t actually because many of them have thermal printers. And of the approximately 80 Kodak Express stores that are in the market in Australia and New Zealand most already have Wi-Fi printing and printing connectivity. IPS as our distributor partner for Kodak Express stores in Australia and New Zealand have done a very good job rolling out the software dongles for consumers to print via kiosks. So the option of printing via wetlabs via the kiosks is pretty much rolled out to all Kodak Express stores.

Is Kodak Print Place compatible with wide format inkjet?
Currently it isn’t because a lot of the quality of the cameras on mobile devices are limited. Although quality is increasing constantly we are finding that the majority of consumers are wanting smaller or at least no larger than 8×10-type images. When you get to 6×8 and 8×10 most people are looking at collages rather than a standard print.

With Print Place operating off your smartphone are you able to enhance photos and do all those kind of things you can do on a kiosk?
Kodak_kiosk
No. We have started at a very basic stage. Consumers have on average about 4.3 photo apps on their phone today, so based on our initial testing in the market, many people just wanted the ability to find a way to output easily. We do have template collages and some other basic editing functions in there, but what most people wanted was a very small light app which would download quickly and do what they wanted to do, which was print. Many people are using different apps to do the creation.

That’s not to say we won’t as well in the future. But we are very focussed on understanding consumer needs and adapting the products and solutions to deliver what consumers want and be able to deliver this where consumers want do it. This certainly will help the stores we have today and all future opportunities so that people have the ability to print more or do what they wish to do with their imaging products.

How will Print Place be promoted?
There is a B2B program which will be rolled out and we’ll be talking though IPS and other companies out into the marketplace. IPS will be the main contact for your readers. And we are looking at launching this within the next two months with the full details to go out to the stores very shortly. A lot of information to Kodak Express stores will be rolled out via emails like they received last week. You’ll be seeing a lot of those types of emails explaining these type of programs to Kodak Express stores directly.

OK that’s to the stores, but to the consumers are you looking at print, or broadcast, or online…?
There’s going to be a lot of different ways we will communicate the app. First we must get a foothold of enough locations for consumers to find the application or find the availability of the Kodak Print Place. In some markets we are using solutions through social network sites and some solutions we are using are linked to in-store promotions for local area marketing to drive people to actually download the app. Downloading and Liking the app is key for us getting additional downloads. We are looking at a variety of different programs and in Australia once we have a foothold of a group of stores in a geographical area we’ll do exactly the same – local area promotions or social network promotions to drive it. The choice of how we do it will depend on the marketplace, the location…

What’s your target for number of locations before you feel you are ready to go out and promote?
In Australia – I’d love to give you a definitive number but I can’t. If we got a mass in Melbourne, say, we would be able to do local promotions and drive it around the Melbourne area even if the rest of Australia didn’t take it up as quickly.

The advantage of social media and targeted advertising is that you don’t need to wait for all of Australia, and that’s the way we will do this – tactically in the right locations.

How many locations would you need in the Melbourne metropolitan area before you felt confident to push the button on promotion?
I would aim for somewhere between 15 and 20 locations in the Melbourne area. And from my understanding from IPS the aim is to roll a lot of these out into the marketplace quite quickly into the Kodak Express market…The sites that we will be putting this into is Kodak Express stores; is coffee shops…is locations we find in Australia where consumers want to linger and share and print their images. We will be continuing to learn about those places and opportunities.

In places like Singapore we will be placing them into locations where children have birthday parties. That’s where people talk, share. They are there for a few hours and they are able to get their printed images and leave that site. We are looking at different opportunities outside the traditional Kodak stores – which are a destination for more than just prints. We are looking for places where people can just get prints and share.

Is there any cost associated with being a Kodak Print Place?

T

To participate in the Kodak Print Place initiative, Kodak Express outlets will need to purchase a new Kodak Tablet Kiosk (above) so they can accept storage cards. This seems to be an optional extra for ‘non-traditional’ outlets.

There is some hardware and either a software or a print hub for purchase. Outside of that there’s a tablet kiosk. Excluding that there’s nothing. So the POS comes with the tablet kiosk, a print hub and a thermal printer. If they don’t have a thermal printer they will need to purchase one as part of the program.

What’s a tablet kiosk?
At the show in Melbourne last year Kodak showed a prototype of the tablet kiosk. It’s a very small kiosk in weight. It fits on a counter and can do basic products – printing, ID prints, collage prints. The product will be launched in Australia within the next two months.

So in fact the Kodak Print Place is not entirely direct from smartphone or device to printer?
No. It’s printing from your mobile phone directly to the printer…To the consumer it’s from their phone directly. The tablet kiosk is part of the solution because in many locations the tablet kiosk accepts SD cards and smart cards and USBs for people who wish to print with media. It also has the ability to do ID photos. That was the other thing that stores wanted – a simple device to accept storage media and do ID photos and some collages. So we built this tablet kiosk as part of the kit. The reason why they are sold together to a Kodak Express store is the workflow manager for W-iFi printing is managed through the tablet.

Anything more you’d like to add?
There have been some changes to Kodak Express so it could be brought in house…This information about Kodak Express and the Kodak Print Place and the next steps is something that will continue over the foreseeable future.

But our focus at Kodak Alaris is about listening to the consumer and though some very clean processes actually making sure that we are delivering products and solutions which delight consumers and help them do what they wish to do – so much so that they tell their friends about it.

By doing this and increasing share of voice we want to drive this business to a growth phase. As consumers are capturing more and more images every day we want people to be able to print their Kodak Moments in a new way.

 

 


12 thoughts on “Kodak seeks growth in new Places

  1. Yet another Dave that really doesn’t understand the industry from the other side of the counter.

    I can see ones and two’s printed at non photo but even at Officeworks customers give up because no matter how easy you think the process is, people want service and customer care.

    We trialled a system last year, well not quite, after it was delivered we discovered that Kodak still only talks to Kodak, i.e. Kodak printers and in the case of wet labs Noritsu only. Maybe the new Kodak might be thinking outside of the yellow box?

  2. Amazing how these companies still manage to produce executives that are proficient in ‘Corporate Marketing Gobbledygook’. I’m sure he could have said all he needed to say in less than half the words and in a way that would be easier to understand. I know the great IPS sales reps will be able to convey the message to their customers in a much simpler way!

  3. This article made me smile…I thought great interesting then I read not for wet labs only dye sub….and at the end of the article it said ” our focus at Kodak Alaris is about listening to the consumer ”
    Well guys put silver halide against dye sub any day and the consumer will choose silver halide for quality/longevity/feel any time !
    I like the idea about Print Place (its a good idea) but not a good move to limit it to dye sub only !
    I would recommend Kodak Alaris management spend some time at the ‘coal face’ to understand what the consumer wants – today.

  4. Agree Steve, what a joke. This is all about selling more thermal paper to new customers and nothing about Kodak Express. It would be great if they just settled down and promoted the Kiosk Connect app for example. It is fabulous!
    Interesting that the email to KEX dealers about this Print Place concept just talks about rolling it out to KEX and nowhere else!

  5. I just like the fact that as a Kodak Express Store owner, I read all of this information (which was emailed to Kodak Express stores, last week) for the first time. Brand new name same old story…
    My suggestion to Kodak is to engage in conversation with the people who take the financial risk… store owners..
    Have to agree about the Dry.. my customers hate it…
    Here we go again……..

  6. As has been said, does anyone at Alaris listen or talk to KEX store owners? Anyone at alaris actually WORKED in a photolab? Anyone actually listened to customers at the counter? The idea seems OK, but there is more to a photolab than dyesub prints and photobooks. What about everything else we do – how about including canvas, gifts, poster prints………………… All seems half cocked to me.

  7. Garrett there is nobody there at Kodak who has time to communicate with the stores. They made bad decisions on distribution a year or two ago and slashed their representation before that. So they tread their own path and pretend we might follow. And to talk about promoting with social media, well we can all do that, its not something they have invented!

  8. Don’t I know it Peter, I sat in Dreamworld (an I think they were in it)
    and listened to Kodak tell me all about no marketing budget .. think that was 2009 ish.. I suggested Facebook to them then..
    nothing like being in time with trends.. seriously I mean “Nothing Like” being in time with trends.
    It seems the promise of a new beer with a new taste was too much for this little Irishman to hope for.. new label.. same taste.. so it’s back to paddling my own canoe.. here is hoping we all paddle in the right direction.

  9. We’ve had Wifi connectivity for some time now. We have no problems printing to our Noritsu drylab.

    What we’re finding is that some people need a lot of “assistance” and that we get rewarded with small print jobs. In other words the cost/benefit is high (high cost, low benefit). Also file types from the app-enhanced files, especially from Apple devices can screw up in translation, necessitating a lot of back-office work (pre-print image file interception and conversion).

    Finally, no doubt the big chains will cut the guts out of the market, further reducing our GP margin.

    In short though, if we’re not in this space, we’re going to miss out big time due to the proliferation of smart devices.

    Oh for the simplicity of point-and-shoots and SD cards!

    Cheers

  10. Dye thermal technology has been resoundingly rejected by photo specialist stores whether they are Kodak Express or other. Kodak is fully committed to it so will continue to push it into the mass retailers such as Office Works and Kmart for all its worth. Now they sense an opportunity (like Brands Biometric system) in pushing solutions to small non specialised operators such as chemists/newsagents/coffee shops/Tom Dick or Harry so can do passport photos and print from phones. Kodak Express stores and independents can now most likely soon enjoy being further squeezed on margin by the big boys and market share from anyone with a couple of grand and the mobile phone camera phenomenon stardust in their eyes.

  11. I’ve had a pretty good look at the Kodak Print Place POS, logos and signage guidelines and I think is is something my store should embrace.

    As KEXDS dealers we have it first, it is simple and slick and we should try to own it before it gets rolled out to every small shop. In fact we have to own it before it gets rolled out!

    For me its going to be a great way to freshen up the storefront and the kiosk area. And to create further interest and volume in printing from phones.

    I agree with just about every viewpoint above, although not with some of Davids points, and will be 100% printing through the wet lab. Now I have seen what the concept is, will grab it and go with it!

    Will send Keith some shots, waiting on some posters bigger than I can print.

  12. Thank you for all your feed back,

    Kodak Print Place is a location to enable mobile printing for consumers. Today it includes the Kodak Create app, as well as Kodak Connect app. which works via a Kodak Picture Kiosk to print on thermal and silver halide papers

    Kodak Alaris will continue working on solutions delighting the consumer especially with their mobile behavior today. These will be on many different printing platforms including silver halide, we at Kodak Alaris understand all new products need to be profitable to the Kodak Express stores

    At the same time, we will continue to share with Kodak Express members more often. To date we have sent 4 updates to the Kodak Express dealers in Australia in the last 2 months, including the Mothers day promotion

    Thank you for your continued support, wishing you good trading on the lead up to Mothers Day.

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