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BOISE, Idaho -- Albertsons, Inc., based here, Chandler, Ariz.-based Bashas', and Walnut Creek, Calif.-based Longs Drugs Stores will install in-store photo kiosks from Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP), as part of the Palo Alto, Calif.-based computer and digital photo printer manufacturer's aggressive foray into the $35 billion-plus retail photo-printing market.
Through Snapfish, HP already offers home printing of digital photographs and online photo printing. The company's kiosks would be the first to introduce inkjet technology into the market, rather than the dye-sublimination printing process normally used.
The self-service HP Photosmart Express kiosk, which employs a touchscreen and produces four-by-six-inch prints in seconds, works with the Snapfish online digital photo service to allow users to upload photos at home, order online, and then use the kiosk to get the photos from Snapfish and print them out. The Photosmart Studio lets customers transform up to 200 photos into albums, calendars, CDs, greeting cards, or posters in under an hour, without having to crop or place the photos into individual templates.
476-store Longs, which already offers HP Photosmart Studio kiosks in the Bay Area and San Diego markets, says it will install the technology in 100 of its California locations between April and July. Albertsons is currently testing HP Photosmart Express kiosks at five stores in the San Diego area, HP spokeswoman Jennifer Pershall told Progressive Grocer. Bashas' has not yet disclosed how many of its stores will feature the Express kiosks, she added.
"We're leveraging our photo-printing leadership in the home to drive down the cost for retailers and to bring consumers more choice than they've ever had in stores," noted Vyomesh Joshi, HP's e.v.p., imaging and printing group, in a statement. "The breadth and innovation required here is what HP does best."
HP will team with retail partners to introduce thousands of its photo kiosks in a variety of locations, including supermarkets, mass merchandisers, club stores, drug stores, photo specialty stores, electronics stores, and office product stores.
As well as the kiosks, HP will offer paper, toner, binding supplies, and other materials. Retailers will set their own rates for the printing services, according to the company. Options for retailers include buying the kiosks outright, leasing them, or negotiating a profit-sharing deal with HP.