Polaroid is expected to unveil one more step in its comeback strategy with an Android-powered, interchangeable-lens camera this year at the CES show, and to complement that, it plans to launch “at least” 10 new Fotobar retail stores this year to help people print pictures from any device. The first of these will be in Delray Beach, Florida, opening in February.
Putting to one side that this will represent a significant capital investment for a company that has already been through more than one bankruptcy process, Polaroid is possibly tapping into a couple of interesting trends. The first is the fact that more companies are hoping to benefit from the Apple effect: increasing brand awareness, and sales, with a vertically-integrated, physical/online marketing approach.
And the second is that, through the rise of camera-enabled mobile handsets, and the huge popularity of photo apps like Instagram, we have become a society of photographers: collectively, Polaroid estimates that 1.5 billion pictures are taken every day. But at the same time, most of those don’t leave our handsets — and if they do it’s to be posted online somewhere like Facebook, Flickr, Instagram or Twitter.
Offering a way to get those pictures printed is certainly not new: in addition to the many existing retailers that help people print out pictures from their digital devices, there are online companies providing the same services, often for more competitive prices.
What Polaroid is promising, though, is something extra. “A patent-pending proprietary technology will allow in-store customers to select their favorite pictures on their camera phones and wirelessly transmit them to one of the store’s bar-top workstations for quick and hassle-free ordering within seconds,” the company writes in its news announcement today. It also promises better integration with people’s existing online photo repositories, such as — yes — Facebook, Instagram, Picasa “and several others.”
And there is more: the in-store experience also lets people play artiste/photography professional: at workstations you can touch up the images and apply filters to the finished products.
Then, after you do that, you can choose how to print those pictures. Yes, ordinary photo paper is an option, but so too are canvas, metal, acrylic, wood and bamboo. For now, it doesn’t look like Polaroid are giving us the option of adding velvet or fluorescent detailing but we seem well and truly on our way to more Christmas presents like these:
Polaroid Announces Plans to Launch at Least Ten Polaroid Fotobar Experiential Retail Stores in 2013
First Ever Polaroid Fotobar Store Slated for February Opening in Delray Beach, Florida
2013 International CES
LAS VEGAS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Polaroid will use the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) as a platform to announce its plans for a series of experiential retail stores where consumers can quickly and easily liberate their favorite images from the confines of their digital devices and turn them into museum-quality art. Polaroid Fotobar stores will be the first of their kind retail destinations designed to capitalize on the meteoric rise in people taking pictures. These cool, hip, experiential stores will make the process of turning peoples’ best pictures into cherished pieces of art both rewarding and fun.
“There are currently around 1.5 billion pictures taken every single day, and that number continues to grow in tandem with the popularity and quality of camera phones,” said Warren Struhl, founder and CEO of Fotobar, LLC. “Unfortunately, even the very best of those pictures rarely ever escape the camera phone with which they were taken to be put on display around our homes and offices. Why? Because turning those pictures into something tangible, creative and permanent is neither easy nor fun. Polaroid Fotobar stores are going to change all of that.”
The company plans to open at least ten Polaroid Fotobar locations in 2013, the first of which will be a 2,000 SF store in Delray Beach, Florida. That store, which is slated to open in February of 2013 and will serve as a model for all Polaroid Fotobar locations, has been in design and development for the past 12 months. Every Polaroid Fotobar store will be explicitly designed around the consumer experience, with the goal of helping people release their “trapped” photos and display their cherished memories in the form of premium quality art. Future store locations in 2013 include New York, Las Vegas and Boston among others.
“Polaroid has always been about much more than just taking pictures,” said Polaroid President and CEO Scott W. Hardy. “Polaroid is about sharing life’s most precious and memorable moments. We have been, and continue to be, about self-expression, creativity and fun. Polaroid Fotobar retail stores represent a perfect modern expression of the values for which we have stood for 75 years. We are very excited about the opening of these stores, and the opportunities they will create for millions of consumers to have classic Polaroid experiences.”
A patent-pending proprietary technology will allow in-store customers to select their favorite pictures on their camera phones and wirelessly transmit them to one of the store’s bar-top workstations for quick and hassle-free ordering within seconds. This platform also allows customers to locate their favorite photos and instantly upload them from popular social platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Picasa and several others. Uploaded photos can be enhanced on the bar-top workstations using photo-effect technologies such as contrast, red-eye correction, brightness and filters showing users the outcome as they work.
Once the images are uploaded, customers will be able to choose from a wide variety of materials, substrates and framing options for their individual works of art – all of which are handcrafted and shipped worldwide to the consumer in just a few days. Images can be framed, matted, and/or printed directly onto a variety of unique substrates including canvas, metal, acrylic, wood and bamboo. The ability to see, touch and feel examples of artworks produced using all of these unique materials is a critical aspect of the customer experience. As such, each Polaroid Fotobar store will be a gallery of its own, with creative, museum-quality pieces on display all around.
The stores will also be staffed by experienced “Phototenders”, each of whom will be a passionate photo enthusiast trained to help guide customers through the process from start to finish. The Delray Beach location will also feature a “The Studio” multi-purpose room that will host photo classes, private parties and include a studio location for portrait photos.Polaroid Fotobar store creators envision the stores becoming a recreational and entertainment destination in addition to a place to shop.
All products created by consumers at Polaroid Fotobar retail stores (with the exception of certain poster products made on-site) are handcrafted and shipped from the company’s state-of-the-art manufacturing facility within 72 hours. Customers may then return to the stores to make additional products for their personal use or as gifts, or use the same service online at www.polaroidfotobar.com
The Polaroid Brand
Across several generations, people regard Polaroid as one of the most trusted, well-respected and recognizable brands when it comes to technology. The history of Polaroid began 75 years ago, with its roots stemming back to Polaroid instant film, cameras and camera accessories – thus was the introduction of the famous Polaroid Classic Border Logo which is still recognized today as a true landmark of photography.
In recent years, Polaroid has expanded its range of products in consumer electronics and photography, such as instant and digital cameras, high-definition camcorders, mobile printers, tablets, flat-screen TVs and more. People can expect to see new Polaroid products that will deliver the fun, instant gratification and value that the brand has long stood. For more information, visit http://www.polaroid.com or http://www.polaroidstore.com.
Polaroid, Polaroid & Pixel, Polaroid Color Spectrum and Polaroid Classic Border Logo are trademarks of PLR IP Holdings, LLC.
Fotobar, LLC trademarks and service marks include, but are not limited to “Fotobar” and “Fotomail”