Walgreens Goes After the Mobile Print Market

David Haueter
Aug 17, 2012

With more consumers using smartphones as everyday cameras, vendors in the photo output market are striving to come up with easier ways to print photos captured on mobile devices. Walgreens is one of the leading retailers in the U.S. market, and has been proactive in going after the mobile photo market. Back in July, they introduced a developer portal that allows third-party software developers to integrate the Walgreens QuickPrints software development kit (SDK) into their apps, which will enable photo printing directly from iOS and Android mobile devices. The QuickPrints SDK is already implemented into seven partner apps, and is the first time that Walgreens has provided an open interface for developers to integrate their in-store services.

In order to encourage use of the QuickPrints SDK, Walgreens followed the announcement in July with a Mobile Hack Day contest at Walgreens headquarters in Chicago. The contest gave developers the opportunity to showcase the implementation of the QuickPrints SDK in their apps, with the winner getting $5,000 in cash prizes, as well as free support from TechNexus for six months (TechNexus is a Chicago-based technology collaboration center that partnered with Walgreen’s on the Mobile Hack Day). There were 30 people in attendance and 14 app demonstrations in the contest, which was won by Smilesback, an app that reminds people about important dates such as birthdays and anniversaries which photo prints or gifts are often ordered for. Other apps in the contest included Pic Cha, Print Dropbox, Passport Pix, DroidPhotoApp and Hallmark Personalized Cards.

InfoTrends research has shown that there is a high level of interest in printing photos from mobile devices, even among the younger 18-24 year old age group. While the interest level is there, getting prints made from a smartphone or tablet has never been an easy proposition; so many consumers who may be willing to print haven’t because it’s too hard to figure out. Walgreens, which still has “Photo” emblazoned in letters across the front of their stores, is making a bold move with the QuickPrints SDK and shows that they are committed to the success of the photo market. Now we just need to get consumers to actually start using the apps. We’re also hoping that more retailers will follow Walgreens lead by taking a similar path, though they may be taking a wait-and-see approach to see how things go with Walgreens. QuickPrints is the first SDK to come out of the Walgreen’s Developer Program, which has the potential to eventually include other products, such as pharmacy orders. Find out more information at Walgreen’s developer site: https://developer.walgreens.com/


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