ORLANDO, FLA. -Shutterfly has been selected by Best Buy to create, manage and market the chain's new Online Photo Center, both companies reported at the PMA trade show, here.
The service, which launched Feb. 19, allows customers to access the Photo Center online at http://photocenter.
bestbuy.com, as well as from links within Best Buy's website (www.bestbuy.com) and early this fall, in-store at Best Buy's retail locations.
The Photo Center will provide information for those interested in digital imaging along with a place to store, enhance and print digital pictures. This online service will be integrated with Best Buy's more than 400 retail locations through promotions and information provided in the stores.
Best Buy Photo Center customers will be able to upload their images from a digital camera or mail their 35mm film in a postage-paid envelope to the Photo Center.
"The Photo Center is part of Bestbuy.com's initiative to provide new and innovative digital services to its customers," said Scott Bauhofer, senior VP/general manager of Online Stores for Bestbuy.com.
"While we are a direct-to-consumer site, we also view ourselves as a retail service provider," said Brad Bramy, retail and e-tail development director for Shutterfly.
Bramy, a former Good Guys VP, said CE retailers are unique in the digital imaging market: "Most CE retailers sell cameras but not finishing, so a person walks away with a really good digital camera but no idea how to get prints from it. That's where Shutterfly comes in, we provide an end-to-end solution."
Bramy explained that Shutterfly's approach accommodates large and small retailers. For large chains, like the aforementioned Best Buy agreement, Shutterfly handles the entire back-end operations.
For smaller retailers, Bramy explained, the solution could be as simple as a starter CD given free to camera buyers, which would allow them to establish an account with Shutterfly. There is even a "photo-card" that functions like a prepaid phone card and gives customers a number of free prints when they sign up with Shutterfly.
Compensation comes in various forms, from a customer acquisition bounty or revenue from continued transactions, depending on the deal.
"For retailers, we're a selling tool," said Bramy. "We don't consider the customer ours. Best Buy Photo Center is a good example. If someone walks away with a digital camera from Best Buy, signs up with the Photo Center but then decides that they want to log in to Shutterfly directly, they'll be redirected back to the Photo Center [once they enter their log-in information]."