Kodak Moments, the consumer-focused brand from Kodak Alaris, recently introduced the smaller footprint M1 photo kiosk. In spite of the rather snarky media writeups, the photo kiosk business is still viable for retailers looking to offer a low-cost, self-service option.
Despite all the changes since the 2012 bankruptcy of Eastman Kodak Co. and subsequent spin-off of Kodak Alaris as the “face” of the Kodak retail photo printing brand, there are still more than 100,000 kiosk units in place around the world.
“Kodak Moments, from a brand perspective, really resonates with consumers worldwide,” says Michael Graham, Kodak Moments senior product owner. “From a high-level, the heart of the business is retail-focused.; despite the fact we are in a digital age, people still want to print and they like to go to retail for that.
“Even if the consumer is sending their order via phone or website, retail is still a strong print pathway,” he adds. “[Kodak] has always been in that market, and we continue to produce products services and systems that will support that.”
“Given the reality of retail as a pathway for consumers, we looked at the opportunity for an affordable, smaller footprint kiosk that can go into alternative channels, like coffee shops,” says Graham. Given the decline in standard print volumes, existing retailers are also looking for lower-cost kiosks that may not be as productive as full-featured G20s and take up less room.
“Retail is changing, from how orders are placed to where they are coming from,” says Graham. “Eight years ago, all print orders were placed in labs. Now print orders are coming from apps on phones, from websites and so on. [Kiosks] can have less of a footprint.”
From a software standpoint, the Kodak Moments M1 runs the same basic software suite, Kodak Moments Retail Software V9.0, as the larger units in the kiosk line.
“We consider that a strength,” says Graham, citing the considerable user testing and experience the company has with kiosk UI and workflow. The M1 interface has been slightly modified to accommodate the smaller screen.
Connectivity is still an important feature in photo kiosks and the M1 supports tethered service where consumers can directly plug in their phone and even old-school technologies like Bluetooth. Graham notes kiosks have to support the universe of mobile devices that are in the wild, not just the latest and greatest. Kodak Moments does have an app, too, where consumers can easily transfer images to a kiosk for printing, as well as adding support for Apple AirPrint. “We move with new technology, but consumers don’t always move with you,” he says.
The gifting/wall decor segment is the booming part of the output business; how does M1 fit in?
Graham says the kiosk allows connection to a retailer’s central lab, with the retailer having full control of the marketing message. Kodak Moments does offer marketing and social media resources for messaging which time-constrained category managers can use.