Jun 13, 2014
Giving away free photo prints is very common in the photo industry. The top retailers and online sites typically offer free print promotions a few times during the year, and many give away free prints just for signing up to be a member of their respective sites. The goal of these promotions is to get consumers to print more, of course, but they also serve as a platform to promote higher-priced products like photo books, cards, calendars and canvas prints that have stronger profit margins.
One key trend that will dramatically affect the output market in general and the print in particular over the next few years is the growing use of smartphones as primary cameras. People are taking more photos than ever thanks to these devices, so the potential is there for the print market to get a much needed boost from their use. With the ease with which photos can be shared electronically from these devices, there is also the potential for print to decline because people may rely on viewing, sharing and archiving their photos electronically instead of with prints.
HP Snapfish has an aggressive new promotion that they’re certainly hoping will get consumers in the habit of printing from smartphones. Snapfish is giving away 100 free prints a month for a year to those who install the Snapfish mobile app (available for iPhone, iPad and Android) and order prints from their smartphone or tablet. Once the app is downloaded and user logs in, their Snapfish account will be credited with 100 free 4” x 6” prints, with an additional 100 added monthly for twelve months. Users can’t accumulate credits, as the unused credits expire at the end of each month, with 100 new print credits added to the account at the first of the next month. Credits are for mail delivery only, and users still have to pay for shipping and tax.
According to InfoTrends research, price is still the primary reason that consumers don’t print more photos. Our research has also shown that a growing number of consumers are printing photos from their mobile devices. In the InfoTrends 2013 U.S. Photo Printing Study, over 21% of respondents said they had ordered prints of photos taken with their smartphones, which was up from just under 15% in the 2011 survey. The key to the success of Snapfish’ promotion will be based on how easy the app is to use. Getting prints free for a year is certainly an attractive offer (especially to those who are already more inclined to print), but if the app doesn’t provide an easy and seamless ordering experience, consumers won’t use it beyond the first time they use the app to print. In any case, we applaud Snapfish for pursuing the mobile print market with such an aggressive promotion. We hope they succeed. We’ll try it out and let you know how it works in a future blog.
More blogs from David Haueter