Fuji has entered the photo-postage stamp market with a program that provides for orders to be placed by the consumer on the Internet through one of the dealers listed on its website, yourstamps.com.
Putting a personal photo onto a real U.S. post office stamp is not new, having been authorized by the postal service in 2005. However, such programs have been solely web-based and the Fuji plan differentiates itself by tying retail photo dealers into the activity.
Joellyn Gray, Fujiís director of marketing, consumer digital solutions, said the stamp program has been in development for over a year and on test for the last 2-3 months. Yourstamps.com went live January 30.
So far, three dealers are listed on the site: Concord Camera, Concord, N.H., Cord Camera, with 39 stores in the Midwest, and Lakeside Camera, Metairie, LA.
Asked if he had yet received any orders in the first 24 hours of the program, Michael St. Germain, Concord Camera, said, ďOh my gosh. Iíve already received 22 orders.Ē He feels that he benefited since he was the first-listed dealer of the three shown because of the alphabetical sequence. With other dealers soon to be added he said, ďI wish my name started with the letter ĎAí.Ē
St. Germain said that the orders averaged $40-50 each and that they were so far coming in mostly from the mid-west. He said that as of today there will be a link to the stamp program on Concordís own website as he is more interested in getting local customers who are more likely come into the store for pickup, than mail order customers who he will never see.
He said that his margins were running between 10-12% but, since he had no investment in labor or capital, it was fine with him. He has already started his own promotion of the program with a mailing to his top 100 customers, and sees the market with business clients, for weddings, graduations, babies, children, and pets.
Fujiís Gray said that Fuji has partnered with Pitney Bowes, one of only three firms licensed by the postal service to print the personalized stamps, for order fulfillment at its Shelton, Conn. facility. Pitney Bowes performs a personal inspection of each incoming image to make certain that it complies with the postal serviceís regulations for acceptable images.
A single sheet of 20, 39-cent stamps with the image is being sold for $17.99; two sheets, $16.99 each; a quantity of 3-9 sheets $15.99, each; 10-24 sheets, $14.99. These prices are competitive with other online stamp offerings. Postcards and a variety of other stamp values are also available
Customers will be able to pick up the completed order at the retail store selected or can opt for mail delivery for an additional $2.99. Tunaround time is 2-4 business days, plus shipping.
The yourstamps.com website allows customers to import an image (.jpg, .jpeg, .tiff and .gif files are supported) which can be color enhanced, positioned and have multiple lines of text added with a selection of type styles and font sizes. The customer selects the dealer to process the order and pays with a credit card. St. Germain said to process any online credit card order a dealer must have an account through an online authorizing service which costs him about $20 a month plus a transaction fee.
Gray said that consumer awareness of personalized post stamps is about 3% and sees the program as an important addition to a dealerís product selection. She said Fuji has merchandising material for in-store promotion: counter cards, stuffers, shelf talkers, and stickers.
She added that dealers have to be signed up for a listing on the yourstamps.com website and that the program will be made available to non-Fuji dealers, as well. Contact can be made through a Fuji sales person or directly to her at email@example.com. Arrangements can be made for store branding of yourstamps.com, according to Gray.