"Customer response has been very favorable," says Kaykaty. "We have samples from other labs, side-by-side with what we can do. The response we've seen has been overwhelming. We'll give people 1-2 prints for free, and the following day, some people will come in with a couple hundred images on their card and ask for 4 x 6 prints of everything. They're relieved to find they can get high quality prints from digital cameras and don't have to spend hours printing them at home."
The DFX lab gives Photo Mission the ability to produce custom print packages, enlargements of any size up to 12 x 18 inches, calendars, greeting cards and CD-ROMs all onsite. The lab is connected to a self-service kiosk near the front of the store that accepts a variety of digital media. Customers can walk up with the media, view images, and order exactly the size and quantity they want from wallets to poster-size enlargements and pick them up in an hour.
Because the thermal inkjet printing process doesn't require chemistry, the lab can sit out in the store. "We're able to display it right on the selling floor, which helps to spark consumer interest," says Arcabascio. "Customers who have had a digital camera for a while are finding it's convenient to come here, and they can get their prints right away." He says the lab is so easy to use that customer service staff can operate it, without requiring a trained minilab operator. With the self-service kiosk, "customers can basically submit print orders themselves, though we often help them."
The lab features Kodak DLS System Management software, which gives the store's staff the flexibility to optimize each image quickly and easily. "We color correct and adjust the density on everything," says Kaykaty.
In evaluating the digital lab options, both Arcabascio and Kaykaty said their first concern was reliability, followed by quality control, ease of operation, and the cost per print. Commercial inkjet technology developed by HP and paper/laminate technology from Kodak combine for a dry, easy-to-use system with a low purchase price and overall operating cost.
"It's a good fit for us because we already have a fully
functional minilab that's doing a great job for film orders; and we
needed to be able to add digital capabilities. It's met all our
Arcabascio concludes, "Whether it's from film or digital, people want to get high-quality photos quickly and easily. We're here with a mission-to give people great photos. We feel as long as we do that, success will follow."