New Zealand-based software developer Autopilot Print has teamed up bricks & mortar retailers and some of the more popular print ordering apps such as Printicular and Local Prints Now, to provide a simple four-click ordering service from a computer, or smartphone or tablet app.
Autopilot Prints customers include Boots and Tesco (UK), CVS, Warehouse & Walgreens (USA) and more recently in Australia, Ted’s, Camera House and several independent stores.
Unlike more comprehensive photo print ordering systems such as Dakis, there is no opportunity to edit or adjust images (you can crop and rotate), and the range of services available is limited. On the other hand, the ease of ordering will be attractive to customers looking for the simplest possible way to order prints online.
Using the LocalPrintsNow app the process is:
1. Download or drag and drop image files from an online or stored image collection (compatible with Facebook, Instagram, etc);
2. The customer selects from a choice of nearest participating retailers;
3. Choose size and quantity;
4. The customer keys in their details and places the order.
The customer pays in-store. Retailers collect payment from customers when they arrive at the store. There is no credit card payment in the app or other means to collect payment for pickup orders.
Autopilot Print positions itself as a complement to, rather than a replacement for, more sophisticated and fully-featured systems such as Dakis.
‘Our goal is to send you additional orders, not replace any software or websites you currently have,’ the Local Prints Now retailer Q&A explains. The Autopilot commission is 10 percent. There are no sign-up, set-up or other fees.
‘We can usually get the store live within 48 hours,’ said Autopilot Print director, Rod Macfarlane. ‘There’s a web-based system to manage orders or stores can install our order manager software which integrates with major photo printers such as Fuji, Noritsu and DiLand. ‘
Camera & Photo (Ocean Grove and Torquay, Vic) is one independent who is trialling the system.
‘I put Camera & Photo on this system pre-Covid,’ said Camera & Photo’s owner, Brendan Waites. ‘Unfortunately one thing has lead to another and I haven’t yet pushed it out to my customers. Most of my onliners are happy to use the Dakis website supplied via link from cameraandphoto.com.au – even if on a phone.
‘The Autopilot system is pretty cool and easy to operate, provided your pics are good to print,’ he said. ‘The back end of the system is a bit fiddly though. I have to download and unzip a folder, then manually transfer it to my Noritsu software and create a new job sheet. A bit more autonomy there would be beneficial.’
We ‘test drove’ the service from both a desktop computer an a smartphone with no problems. We were notified via email when the order was received and, about an hour later, when it was ready to pick up.
Autopilot recently announced that it has updated its print ordering applications to operate on the new M1 Mac computer.