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EXCLUSIVE: Ted’s opts for online/in-store Lifepics solution

May 31, 2010: Ted’s Cameras has become the first photo specialist client for Lifepics online photo services in Australia.

In doing so it has distinguished itself from competing chains Big W and Harvey Norman, which have opted for the combination of Whitech Imagine software operating off a Fujifilm-administered website, with orders fulfilled at the Photo Create wholesale photofinishing operation in Glenn Innes.

Fujifilm also competes with a website using this model, as does Photo Create itself, offering a B2B service outside of the traditional photo retailing customer base.

Ted’s will not use an outsourced fulfilment centre, but handle production of all orders in its chain of stores, which are all now equipped with a suite of HP inkjet and colour laser printing equipment.

Ted’s new online photo site will launch this winter, enabling Ted’s customers to order digital photo prints and hundreds of other creative photo products online to pick up at either of the 22 Ted’s Camera locations across eastern Australia, or have the orders delivered in the mail.

All 22 in-store pick up locations will fulfil orders in-house, allowing for 1-hour service on photo prints, and a wide assortment of personalised creative products like photo books, photo cards, and photo calendars offered on a next-day basis. By comparison, turnaround time on the Big W Photos site for Photo Create products is quoted as 7 – 10 working days, which gives Ted’s a considerable advantage against it’s Fujifilm-backed competitor.

‘Once the new service is bedded down we hope to be able to offer same day turnaround for creative products as well,’ said Jason Robertson, Photo Finishing and Online executive at Ted’s Cameras (pictured above right).

He said that Ted’s had been searching for an online/in-house solution for some time. Ted’s has been using the Whitech Imagine platform on the assurance that Whitech would provide a route for orders back to Ted’s stores for fulfilment (rather than having everything go to Glenn Innes).

The prospects for this capability ever being delivered waned after Ted’s opted to install HP dry photofinishing equipment. Whitech is 35 percent owned by Fujifilm.

Robertson said the new relationships with HP and now Lifepics were about creating a point of difference to its competitors. Fast, in-house production delivers that point of difference.

The new online photo service also allows customers to store an unlimited number of full resolution photos online for free, and share their digital photos online with friends and family in a variety of ways.

‘LifePics is the most open and flexible solution in the photo industry, and allowed us to easily connect our new online photo site to our customised workflow and in-store printers,’ he said.

‘We wanted to launch an online photo service to complement our new in-store equipment. LifePics has worked with us as a partner the entire way; they customised our workflow to include bandwidth management, which allows us to control the speed at which our orders are downloaded, maximising download speed when there is free bandwidth, and limiting bandwidth at other times so the photo order downloads do not interrupt other in-store activities.

‘No other company could provide customised workflow solutions like that. LifePics also has a number of programs and relationships in place to drive us orders from a variety of sources, including mobile phones and apps, software integrations, and strategic partnerships with Google, Microsoft, and others.

‘They are also a great bunch of guys to work with,’ he added.

Robertson said that Lifepics commission scales were the same or better than Whitech, ‘and we are making the products, rather than taking whatever percentage Glenn Innes passes on.’

He said Ted’s would have a soft launch of Lifepics towards the end of June.

The LifePics online solution for retailers currently integrates seamlessly with 17 major types of labs from a variety of manufacturers including Fujifilm and Noritsu. Lifepics says it is able to tailor the online order workflow to integrate with any existing retail workflow already in place at a retail store or chain.

‘We designed our online photo services platform so that we can work with retailers of all shapes and sizes, including large drug stores, grocery chains, photofinishers, office superstores, and smaller retailers,’ said Vahe Christianian, vice president of Sales and Business Development at LifePics.

‘We are thrilled to be launching the online photo services website for Ted’s Cameras this winter in Australia and breaking into the Australian market with such a reputable and popular retail partner. We look forward to adding value to every one of Ted’s Cameras customers.’

Vahe Christianian will be visiting Australia for the Digital Life Expo in Melbourne this week.

Agent for Lifepics in Australia is Photo Direct.

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