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Printing & Photo Brands Earn Space In Consumer’s Hearts And Phones

July 30, 2020 Melissa Ledesma

Shutterstock_531501235 Three happy best girlfriends in glasses making selfie on smartphone.

Say, “Cheese!” From family photos to #nofilter selfies, throughout the digital revolution, consumers have not waned in their affection for printed and framed photos. According to global research firm Technavio, the photo printing and merchandising market was expected to grow 5% from 2019 to 2020 and continue expanding to reach a valuation of $4.68 billion by 2024. While societal shifts from COVID-19 may be preventing consumers from taking photos of travel, gatherings and celebrations, the pandemic may have heightened feelings of nostalgia and the need for connection, thereby adding new value to printed photos and related items. 

With more consumers spending a greater number of hours per day and week on mobile devices, major printing brands like Shutterfly, Snapfish, Keepsake and Vistaprint have positioned their mobile apps as solutions for consumers seeking the permanency of print products for personal and professional needs. 

Shutterfly Attracts Users With Storage Capabilities & Easy Mobile Ordering

Today, Shutterfly serves more than 10 million active customers, processing some 26 million orders per year. Mobile innovation has remained a primary goal for Shutterfly. Acquired in 2019 by Apollo Global Management LLC, the company merged with Snapfish and expanded its product offerings and tech capabilities. Enhanced options and functionality for photo preservation and sharing has kept Shutterfly at the forefront of the industry. President and CEO Hilary Schneider stresses how customer-engagement and personalization have been critical to Shutterfly's ongoing success in a competitive market.

Shutterfly employs its app to draw in new customers and re-engage users with attractive offers. Although Shutterfly allows members to purchase photo prints and related items directly through its website, the digital photo brand encourages users to download the app, incentivizing them with exclusive app-only discounts and products. To ensure a seamless customer experience, Shutterfly promotes a variety of payment options including Paypal and Apple Pay. 

Shutterfly also engages its customers through social media, with relevant live classes and how-to sessions hosted on its Facebook page. With 1.3 million Facebook followers and nearly 200,000 Instagram followers, Shutterfly has united the interest of its customers by sharing #MyShutterfly user generated content (UGC) along with special sweepstakes opportunities, promo codes and photo hacks. With a community of 109,000 Pinterest followers, Shutterfly uses pinboards focused on life's special moments, from wedding to baby, the nostalgia of seasonal activities and lifestyle tips, like gifting and home decor. Across it’s brand channels, Shutterfly reminds consumers to “Let your camera roll shine” and “Relive your favorite moments.” 

SnapFish Members Can Create Photobooks On The App

With more than 100 million members, Snapfish is one of the largest digital photo brands in the market. Going one step beyond photo printing services, the Snapfish app and website helps consumers turn photos into a wide array of personalized products. According to Snapfish, the photo brand gains nearly 1 million new members each month. As of 2019, Snapfish is under the same ownership umbrella as Shutterfly. And, similar to Shutterfly, Snapfish allows users to customize a variety of products through personalized photos, easily ordered photo prints stored on mobile devices and unique photo books featuring collages of consumer memories. Unlike Shutterfly, consumers can use Snapfish’s mobile app to create coveted photo books. With the tagline, “Snap.Print.Save,” SnapFish reminds consumers that it is as cost effective as it is efficient for ordering photo products. In 2020, SnapFish was recognized by PCMag for the best digital photo app in the low-cost category. 

Snapfish seems to be targeting a slightly younger audience, with much of its social content aimed toward the needs of Gen Z, featuring content such as dorm decor, travel and DIY gifting tips. SnapFish’s latest campaign launched this month with clear inspiration from recent societal shifts that have more consumers spending time at home and embracing the stay-cation. The SnapFish summer photo scavenger hunt is a UGC campaign that encourages families to complete a list of photos together. After capturing the moments on the list, consumers are encouraged to share their photos tagging @snapfishus. 

Keepsake

Keepsake

Founded in 2015, Keepsake is an online framing company that empowers consumers to have the photos on their phones professionally printed, framed and shipped right to their doors. According to Keepsake’s company fact sheet, its framing app - free and available in the Apple and Google Play stores - has more than 100,000 users. With 48,000 followers on Facebook and 29,000 followers on Instagram, Keepsake engages its community of customers with content that inspires them to take photos off their phones and give them life beyond the screen. Keepsake’s Instagram profile emotes the feelings of a young, fresh and positive friend. From graphic posts to blog articles, Keepsake’s content encourages consumers to turn the photos that would typically get lost on social media into art for their homes or the ideal personal gift. 

Vistaprint Pivots To Make Business Cards Relevant During Virtual Networking

Vistaprint is not a photo brand, but it is synonymous with printing needs. Vistaprint markets its services as an essential and cost effective solution for small business owners looking to expand their footprints and grow awareness among local consumers. The Vistaprint website features “Ideas and Advice” where users can find an array of articles offering business tips, basic marketing best practices, guides and templates useful for small business owners. 

While the list of products Vistaprint offers seems never ending, one of its staple products has been its customized business cards. With COVID-19 drastically changing the way people interact with strangers and aiding in the rise of virtual business meetings, the business card might seem irrelevant in a post COVID-19 world. Vistaprint, however, disagreed. Instead, the brand began increasing its promotion of its mobile app, My Vista, as an innovative way to share business cards virtually. The app currently has more than 100,000 downloads and helps users share fully customized, professional business cards without the traditional exchange of printed items. 

Securing Real Estate On Mobile Devices Is Key To the Growth Of Printing & Photo Businesses

Although taking photos, framing art and passing out business cards are familiar practices to many consumers, all three of these actions relate to pastimes that could feel old-fashioned and obsolete in the current environment. Photos and printed items are unique because they are inherently aligned with sentiments related to the idea of preservation and permanency. To remain relevant and sustain growth in an evolving digital age, photo and print brands must continue to connect with the changing needs of their audiences. Driving traffic to a brand’s website is not enough when the product lives on mobile devices. For digital marketers looking to reach new audiences and scale customer acquisition, a mobile-first marketing approach is essential. Consumers want to give new life to products that ignite feelings of togetherness, nostalgia and connection, but they want to do it by remaining where they are – on mobile. The experience of ordering photo and print products must feel as native as checking email or opening social media apps. Creating mobile apps that promote positive, simple, effective and enjoyable photo and print product experiences is vital to the sustainability of success for brands like Shutterfly, SnapFish, Keepsake and Vistaprint. 

Looking For Innovative Ways To Engage With Your Consumers?

Digital Media Solutions® builds people-based marketing strategies that connect with tightly defined audiences across the digital media universe to build brand awareness, boost engagement and drive conversions.

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About the Author

Melissa Ledesma

An innovative problem solver by nature, Melissa Ledesma is both experienced and passionate about the digital marketing industry. She has held a number of high-level positions within the real estate, mortgage, entertainment and digital advertising industries, including Director of PR and Business Development at NJ Lenders Corp. and Director of Communications & Government Affairs at Eastern Bergen County Board of Realtors. As Director of Content & Communications at Digital Media Solutions (DMS), Melissa demonstrates a strategic, creative and tactical approach when handling the thought leadership programs and marketing and communications efforts for DMS and its family of brands. She manages all conferences, sponsorships and event execution and plays a pivotal role in the creation of written, digital and video content for all campaigns. Melissa has consistently positioned the team at DMS as experts in performance marketing across multiple industries.

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