In the US, Kodak Alaris (calling itself ‘Kodak Moments’ these days) has embarked on its ‘largest marketing campaign since 2013’ to launch a major reconfiguration of its Kodak Moments kiosk/online ordering app.
Meanwhile, in Australia, Kodak Alaris-aka-Moments’ marketing manager didn’t even bother to issue the (somewhat bewildering) press release!
There seem to be two key features in the upgrade. The first is that the app scours the photo collection on a customer’s cameraphone or computer (and social media pages) and attempts to identify images from which it ‘thinks’ they might like to make a print or other product. Because of algorithms.
The other is a greater focus on online marketing – encouraging customers to order their images via Kodak Alaris rather than Kodak-supporting retailers. (PMI in Melbourne handles wholesale fulfillment for Kodak Alaris.)
The on-screen promotions are for a full range of photo services from prints through to photo books, mugs, etc, direct from Kodak, and include pricing details. There are also regular special offers. This either forces retailers with Kodak kiosks to drop to the Kodak Alaris-set price points (eg, 15 cents for a 6×4 print!) or embark on an awkward conversation with their customers.
From a retailers’ point of view, the release of the app without the most basic marketing support is justification for ditching Kodak kiosk software and sourcing a more supportive supplier. In the US the new app at least incorporates a store locator. The store locator in Australia directs the customers to various outlets in the USA.
Fortunately, there are better options. Noritsu, Dakis, Storefront and Photo Finale have all recently released new-generation kiosk solutions which genuinely improve the user experience – while not attempting to poach the retailers’ customers!
The Kodak Moments app is reaping numerous extremely hostile or frustrated reviews from consumers. Some complain that they have been forced to ‘upgrade’ from an older Kodak app (Kodak Kiosk Connect) because Kodak kiosks will now only recognise the new app. The other complaint is that it’s simply a useless piece of software.
Bad implementations of enabling software by a still-trusted brand like Kodak hurts the entire industry. How many customers try and fail when they are confronted with unreliable or over-complex kiosk software, and simply assume that’s the only user experience available for people wanting to create photographs and photo gifts? Focussing the app on direct-to-Kodak online options broadens the offence.
Here’s a selection of reviews from just the last few days on the Google store:
-Terribly slow, didn’t upload pics;
– DELETED all my work twice;
-Tried to use the Kodak Kiosk app and have no choice but to use the new one and it is the worst thing I have ever used just took me 40 minutes to print 2 photos. Was just painful take it back to the old kiosk app ;
– If this is necessary to use a Kodak kiosk I’d rather print somewhere else my photos. Such a pain to use. What happened to Bluetooth?;
– Second year in a row the app doesn’t work – just freezes. As soon as I try to add photos it just stops. There is absolutely no reason why either the app or the kiosk you need to download EVERY single photo from every album on my phone before it will allow me to do anything. Other apps to print cards and pictures don’t do that. I am done with Kodak Moments unless it becomes A LOT more user-friendly if you have a lot of photos;
– Clumsy and difficult to use, even at Kodak kiosk;
– Keeps saying files are corrupt even though it accepted them in print minutes before. Each time it chooses different files to reject. Also couldn’t use Google Photos so needed to first download all 33 of my pics to my phone. Turned 5 minute print job into an all-day affair. I miss being able to just plug in and fast print. Never again; .
– App does not work… frustrating, useless and a waste of time;
– This Kodak Moment app for the kiosk is painfully frustrating to use. I wince when dealing with it. I’d rather endure a root canal.
There was also a sprinkling of short, positive comments as well, all remarkably similar and along the lines of ‘Convenient, Easy to use’. (Perhaps part of the Kodak Moments US big ad spend for the launch!)
What is a Kodak Moment in 2017?
It seems the definition of a ‘Kodak moment’ has changed from being a catchphrase for a good time to grab a snapshot – to describing a business or industry about to slip into deep decline.
The former executive director of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Christiana Figueres, last month used the term in reference to Adani and the future of coal: ‘You really do have to see that we are at the Kodak moment for coal,’ she said. Of course, she wasn’t suggesting coal was a great subject for photography, but rather making a comparison to ‘the decimation of the once dominant photographic company Kodak by digital change — in the same way that coal-fired power is being eclipsed by renewable energy.’
A quick Google of the term ‘Kodak moment’ sees it being increasingly used in the business press to describe a descent into obsolescence from a position of dominance: Kodak went from being the world’s fifth most valuable brand and employing 145,000 people globally in 1996 to bankruptcy in 2012, arguably due to its inability to respond to the development of digital photography.
Kodak Alaris has made what what Sir Humphrey Appleby of Yes Minister fame might have described as a ‘courageous decision’ in adopting Kodak Moments as its new ‘customer-facing’ brand.
Fortunately, there is so little of Kodak Alaris facing customers in Australia these days that with a little luck no one will notice.