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Slow roll-out of new kiosk software from Fujifilm

November 25, 2010: Fujifilm has informed Photo Counter its independent retailer customers will be upgraded to the latest Whitech kiosk software some time within the next 12 months.

…Following on from our story on the release of Whitech’s new Imagine photo kiosk software in time for Christmas (it’s worth reviewing the original story as Whitech has added further detail since it was posted), we noted with interest a reader comment under a totally unrelated story we ran on the print pricing issue:

‘Agree with you 100 percent, Al, 100 percent. Fujifilm Australia don’t (sic) care about its independents. They cant even get version 9 Photo Teller software out in time for Xmas, even when its was offered almost 5 months ago. Their friends Harveys and Big W have it.’

Now, given retail customers dealing direct with Whitech seem to have been assured the software would be available for this Christmas, we asked Fujifilm via email if it were true that its customers from the specialist segment would miss out.

And hey, given that the lines of communication into Fujifilm are slim and seldom used, we thought we should make the most of the exercise by posing a couple more cogent questions and offering Fujifilm an opportunity to speak direct to the industry.

The response from Fujifilm was prompt but perhaps a tad contemptuous of the Photo Counter readership, a significant wedge of which are Fujifilm customers.

Here’s the exchange in full:

Photo Counter: We had a comment this morning on the website claiming Fujifilm was not supplying the latest version of Whitech software to independent retailers in time for Christmas. The particular question is:

Q: Will Fujifilm be supplying its independent retailer customers with the new Whitech software in time for Christmas?

This was Fujifilm’s answer (to another question, it would seem!):

Fujifilm is in the process of conducting final testing in a few evaluation stores in preparation for its full commercial roll-out of Imagine software over the next 12 months.

With 7500 kiosks in the marketplace and many different configurations of Imagine, the process is extensive.

(- So that would be a ‘No’? )

Photo Counter: More broadly (we continued) there has been massive and consistent negative sentiment about Fujifilm from Fujifilm customers (and ex-Fujifilm customers) on the Photo Counter website, as evidenced by the Comment above. Fujifilm presents the perception of being oblivious to this strong current of disappointment from a significant group of its customers.

In the interests of balance, if Fujifilm would like a forum to address the various grievances from your independent specialist customer base, we would be happy to run an uneditorialised and unedited Opinion piece from an appropriate marketing executive.

(- That one went straight through to the ‘keeper!)

Alternatively, if we could get a response to these questions:

Q: What plans does Fujifilm have to support its independent customer base over the next 12 months?

Fujifilm: Fujifilm will be discussing software upgrade plans and requirements with each customer directly and will support them accordingly.

Fujifilm values every one of its customers and makes every effort to acknowledge and provide for their varying needs.

Q: Does Fujifilm see the current print price war as a positive development for the Australian imaging retailing sector?

Fujifilm: Fujifilm does not comment on retail pricing or individual retailer business models.

– So there you go. You can’t say we haven’t tried!

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