Following the recent closure of the Canon online store and the Canon Collective photo education initiative, Canon continues to withdraw from complementary ventures with the announcement this week that it is shutting its PhotoPico printing service.
PrintNow, an online document and photo printing service using the national CartridgeWorld chain of stores as collection points, was closed on September 9.
Canon attributes the decision to close PhotoPico and PrintNow to Covid, as it did the Canon Collective program.
In the announcement to PhotoPico subscribers it explains the move will ‘strengthen its business and drive greater efficiencies by streamlining focuses on core functions.’
PhotoPico itself was as much a vehicle to drive throughput for Canon’s Dreamlabo 5000 high res/high volume inket printer as it was a competitor in the online photo printing market. Although Dreamlabo is an impressive piece of technology, producing premium 7-colour 2400dpi prints and photo books, it also came with an eye-watering price tag.
As far as Inside Imaging is aware, only two ever made it into the market in Australia – one at Geelong-based schools photography lab Arthur Reed and the other with Melbourne photo book specialist Pictureworks – ‘Canon’s trusted manufacturing partner’ for PhotoPico orders.
The Canon announcement states that Pictureworks will fulfill PhotoPico orders though its Albumworks online business until June next year. In a statement to Inside Imaging Canon explained:
‘…Projects created via the photoPICO Desktop Editor will continue to be available to complete and order until 30 June 2021. Consumers will not lose any progress as projects made in the photoPICO Desktop Editor are saved locally on consumers’ computing devices. From 1 October, these orders will be fulfilled by Pictureworks Group through its service, albumworks and consumers will continue to receive the same reliable service and high-quality imaging photo projects that they are used to until 30 June 2021. Active projects being created via the photoPICO Online Editor program however will no longer be supported after 30 September 2020. Canon has notified affected consumers and ensured they have ample time to complete their project orders prior to 30 September.’
We published an article last month following the closure of the Canon Collective and Canon store, outlining the ‘non-core’ ventures Canon has embarked upon over the last decade or so, and pondering whether these recent closures reflected a change of direction – or were simply due to cost pressures. We wrote: ‘The Canon Store (direct retail) and the Canon Collective (education/workshops/photo tours, cross-selling to Canon Store) closures could mark a move back to a more conventional ‘go-to-market’ model, but could simply be down to those particular initiatives being unprofitable – or not sufficiently profitable given the resources invested.
‘Given Canon has at the same time reduced sales rep support to retailers, it probably stems from a head office directive to reduce costs. So probably not a new dawn for Canon and its supporting retailers!’
Canon still operates the SunStudios professional reseller/studio hire business in Sydney and Melbourne, along with an innovative equipment hire business, Kyoyu, and the bricks-and-mortar Canon Experience store in Melbourne.
We thank Canon for supplying our photo industry and professional photographer readers with the following extended statement on the current challenging trading conditions, and its future intentions:
‘The challenges of 2020 are not exclusive to the Canon business: the state of the global and local economy is in decline due to limited economic activity caused by the COVID-19 global pandemic; the impact of which has seen the contraction of the local camera market accelerate. Despite these challenges, Canon continues to persevere against the market challenges and is committed to delivering the best imaging products and services to Australians. The release of our flagship 1-Series DSLR and our new line-up of full-frame mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras has already made inroads to lessening the broader effects of the economy in these categories.
The culmination of these broader challenges has seen our organisation examine the role we play as an industry leader and make challenging yet necessary decisions to streamline our focus on core services. These decisions are not indicative of a “business in distress” but of a leader doing just that; leading the imaging industry forward.
The key changes include closing the online Canon Store and streamlining the efforts of our sales team to further support local retailers in driving value and competition for local consumers. The Canon Collective events program in its current format will end on 31 October. That said, new measures are in place to keep the closed Canon Collective Facebook community a space where all photographers regardless of photographic experience can collaborate, inspire and share knowledge with like-minded people. The photoPICO service will no longer be provided by Canon from 30 September however measures are in place to ensure minimal disruption to consumers with active projects and absolutely no change to the high-quality output delivered. Canon’s PrintNow service was also discontinued in September with no consumers negatively impacted by this change.
Globally, there are many uncertainties in the months to come however Canon Australia is certain that our recent decisions ensure the long-term sustainability of our business and will see our retail partners, consumers, employees, and the broader Canon community continue to prosper.’