Polaroid DMP Camera Offers Document Photography Solution
by Elizabeth Friszell
Polaroid Corporation (www.polaroid.com/passport) has introduced an imaging solution for the document photography market. "Polaroid has been the market leader in passport photography for more than 30 years," says Pam Mayer, group marketing manager, Polaroid Corporation. "With the all new Polaroid Digital MiniPortrait Camera (DMP), we have developed an all in-one, low-cost digital passport system that features new advanced technology, but still offers retailers an easy-to-use and instant solution."
Featuring an integrated, compact design, the new Polaroid Digital MiniPortrait Camera is an all-in-one digital camera and thermal printing system designed to meet the passport photography needs of today's retailers.
"Retailers using the DMP can market this to consumers as, 'This is something we offer for you, so that you don't have to go out of your way to some other place. We, the camera retailer, minilab, grocery store, or Kinko's, can offer it to you as a service,'" Mayer explains.
It's all in sync with the retailers' desire for one-stop shopping. But the important thing is for consumers to know that you offer this service. After all, she says, it's not like passport photography is an impulse buy. "Consumers don't go into the store and say, 'Gee, I'm going to get my passport picture done today.'" Therefore, it's important for consumers to know where to get this service when they need it. Many successful DMP users place ads in newspapers on a regular basis and put it on their circulars or fliers.
And Polaroid offers two marketing kits for retailers to purchase for in-store displays, both under $40. One features just the passport application, but includes a window sign, a double-sided door decal and a counter card. The other is a big sign showing the portrait options that you can get.
And those options are extensive. "The DMP gives retailers add-on value to generate addition revenue. The system produces two-up images required for passport and INS purposes, one-up for single portrait and four-to-six-up configurations for wallet-sized or identification-sized photo options, so that retailers have the opportunity to say, 'This is such a great picture of you. Why don't you let me sell you four wallets that you can give to your kids?'"
Changing the Biz
The world has definitely had some security issues over the past few years. The passports of today's travelers are subject to intense scrutiny at airports and bus depots and anything that minimizes confusion is welcome. That's why the government has mandated scanned images on new passports nowadays, as they crack down on forgers who take a razor blade, cut out the photo, and insert someone else's image. A digital system helps retailers to reach government standards more easily. "We're certainly not making any claims that the DMP assists with security," Mayer says. "But, the system comes pre-loaded with framing templates for U.S. Passports and INS photos to help make it easier for the operator to take images within those government specifications."
Other things have had hands in changing the business, too-namely, digital. According to Mayer, digital has not changed the business for manufacturers; rather, the customer's need for features offered in digital is the culprit. "What you get from digital that you don't get from film is the ability to preview an image," Mayer explains. "I can look at you through the viewfinder, freeze the image, show it to you, and either print it or throw it away. As a retailer, I have done two very important things: I eliminated waste and I provided great customer service because the customer was able to say, 'Yeah, I like that image.'"
And there was a definitive need for this type of service. "The marketplace started demanding that we as manufacturers help to reduce waste," she says. A print preview is the ultimate benefit of that. And the DMP is a further supporter of this need. With a four-inch LCD screen, you can't get a better preview. "The system's oversized LCD viewfinder allows the system operator to preview the image with the customer to ensure the portrait is acceptable, then print the image on thermal media once the ideal photo is selected," Polaroid says. The built-in printer works with Polaroid proprietary thermal media and produces high-quality 300 dpi images at a 80-90 second print time.
The Digital MiniPortrait Camera has a small footprint: it can fit under a counter when not in use and can be hand-held or tripod mounted, depending on user preference. However, the biggest selling point is the price. The Polaroid Digital MiniPortrait Camera is targeted at major retailers, minilabs and professional dealers for a suggested U.S. list price of $1,199. Mayer says, though, that most retailers can find it for under $1,000. And at the industry average price of $9.99 per photo, the camera can be paid off in no time. "If you are a AAA in the DC area, doing about 100 passport photos a week, you can have that system paid off immediately and the rest would be gravy," Mayer concludes.
Gravy is good.