Her input with the Lucidiom software developers led to the introduction at PMA Orlando of “Luci,” a unique program that comes the closest to duplicating the activities of the true scrapbook hobbyist.
Luci’s success could result in a double benefit to the photo trade: it could bring into the photo retailer the serious scrapbooker who is used to taking photo prints home and mounting them on individual pages with decorations; or it could expand the horizons into scrapbooking for the photographer who has been content with just printing 4x6s and either pasting the prints into albums or just showing them off right out of the envelope. In either case, the photo retailer can reap new sales dollars.
For a hands-on experience I sat in front of a Luci system with Kesley at my side. I had an SD card with about 100 images from a birthday party. The program has special page templates for a variety of events: birthday, baby, new home, graduation, etc. I had a choice of about a dozen different templates for my birthday images, each with different decorative borders, different colors and anywhere from one print to three to four prints on a page in a variety of shapes (e.g., square, circle, triangle). For every page, I selected which images I wanted to insert in the space provided on the template. I added appropriate text on each page, choosing from different type styles and font sizes. As a page was finished, it was sent to a dye-sub printer for output. I used a different template for every page, and Kesley added some decorative embellishments, as her craft requires, to some of the pages.
When the pages were completed, she bound them into a highly styled cover. The whole process took about 45 minutes. After Kesley held my hand for the first page (a perk) I was able to go solo.
Maybe a “pure” scrapbook hobbyist might find the process somewhat limiting in that the choices are finite, but they would have to be impressed with how many choices they really have, to be creative and how fast the process is. A serious scrapbooker can take weeks on a project and spend big dollars on papers, embellishments, etc. I ended up with an album that represented a gift that, alone, I could never have created given my limited talents for such things. My 8x8 Luci album, with covers, six pages, and embellishments would retail at about $70. Thanks, Kesley.
Installed Luci APMs Keep Retailers Busy
Steve compared the economics of a 12x12 Luci page containing three 4x6 prints with the sale of just three 4x6 prints. Three plain-vanilla 4x6 prints would cost a lab operator about .15- to .18-cents in paper and chemicals, and at .29-cents each would yield .87-cents revenue. One 12x12 Luci sheet would cost about .25- to .30-cents and return about $10 revenue.
A good incentive for a retailer to want to get into the scrapbooking game. And some have. For about $4,750, according to Steve, a dealer can buy an APM 1100 kiosk with Luci software and get access to Lucidiom’s network data and upgrades of new templates for the first year. After that it’s $500 annually.
Among the brand new Luci features just released this month: “red letter” cards for thank you notes, new address, invites, etc., and wall art with borders matching the Luci templates. A new product from Luci, a poster with single or multiple prints, is planned for announcement at the PRO Group show in Minneapolis this month. Another new product, a photo album book, may be announced at photokina.
According to Steve, there are about 35 Luci systems now operating at retail, and he expects that by the fall there will be about 100. Among those in use are placements at three “bell cow” accounts: Dan’s Camera City, Allentown, PA; 30 Minute Photos Etc., Irvine, CA; and Moto Photo. Mike Woodland, owner of Dan’s, is a big supporter of Lucidiom, as well as of Luci. He has about 30 APM units in use, 18 of them in his store and 12 at local business sites such as the nearby UPS Store. In addition, he has had three Luci setups since April and is planning to add a fourth later this year.
Mike offers 8x8 Luci pages on a while-you-wait basis with printing done on a dye-sub unit. Eight-inch as well as 12x12 pages are output on a Noritsu 3200 digital lab. He charges $6.99 for a dye-sub 8x8, and $5.99 and $9.99, respectively, for the two sizes from the Noritsu.
Mike said he was “very pleased” with the Luci program so far, acknowledging that he is getting “a few dozen orders a week.” Surprises? Mike said he thought he would get mostly three-to-four-page orders but now finds that customers come in either for a single page, to be used for a given occasion, or for as many as 20 pages to memorialize an event. “They sometimes spend two to three hours on a project. That’s fine with me, as the longer they stay, the more they are buying.”
He noted that scrapbookers are “clubby” and often get together in groups to do their scrapbooking. So that they can have exclusive use of the Lucis without interfering with other customers, Mike will open Dan’s early just for them to come in and work on the kiosks.
Dan’s devotes 22 feet of display space for the embellishments that accompany the Luci program, including album covers, cutting tools, glues, scissors, and Prism-brand scrapbook pages that match the design on the Luci templates for those scrapbookers wishing to add their own pages. All of this is available from Lucidiom. “We don’t sell too much of the embellishment items, but it’s our way of letting our customers know we are serious about the scrapbook business,” said Mike.
Harry Loyle, president of the 150-store Moto Photo Franchise Corp., finds Luci “exciting.” He feels that the photo specialist looks to the mass merchant as the competition and that adding Luci “is a move in the right direction for the specialist.” In Harry’s opinion, “The mass merchant has not yet implemented the potential of the kiosk.”