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Dennis Hissink : June 25th 2004 - 00:15 CET

Fujifilm UK launches LablinkPro Print Service

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FujifilmPreviewed at this year's Focus 2004, Fuji Photo Film (UK) Ltd has officially launched LablinkPro, its eagerly awaited advanced internet print service. Unlike existing internet print services that focus on general consumer retail business, LablinkPro has been specifically designed for pro-labs and professional photographers, linking the two together. For pro-labs this approach represents the perfect way to tap into the growing professional internet print market, increasing processing levels and making Frontier minilab equipment work harder. Similarly for the LablinkPro photographer the system is designed to reduce processing time and streamline business practices, allowing them to obtain the best possible print quality and speed of service.
With over 25 pro-labs already operating the system across the UK, Fujifilm is undertaking a major marketing campaign to supporting the official launch, which will include distribution of over 50,000 CD's to potential users via cover mounts and direct mail. Professional photographers looking to obtain the free software can call Fujifilm on 01234 217724 or visit www.lablinkpro.com to download the trial version or place a request for a CD. Fujifilm are also looking to increase the number of pro-labs operating the system, to get closer still to photographers all over the UK.

Using a simple stage by stage process, all a photographer needs to do to start using the trial version of LablinkPro is insert the CD Rom into a PC. At this point the user will be given the opportunity to select a pro-lab of their choice, whose details will appear once connected to the LablinkPro server.

Having selected a pro-lab an individual will then be able to order prints using a credit card via a secure internet link. Once registered the photographer can access the range of basic services offered by the trial version of LablinkPro, which include the ability to upload images, place orders and manipulate digital images using the in-built software and tools. The ordering process is simple and based on a user friendly screen-by-screen operation with a variety of order and delivery options.

From the pro-labs perspective LablinkPro encourages photographers to order prints from one source, eliminating the use of high street processing. In addition to the trial version, Fujifilm have designed a full, advanced version of LablinkPro aimed at photographers that want to make more of their relationship with pro-labs and the revenue-generating opportunities offered by internet print sales. In order to upgrade to the full version, the photographer is required to pay a one-off £35 license fee to 'unlock' the advanced software. This contains all of the information required to allow the individual, or business, to upgrade from the 'pay-as-you-go' credit card trial version of LablinkPro to a monthly, invoice based payment account with the pro-lab.

Operating through the internet has major advantages for both the photographer and pro-lab, as images can be uploaded 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For the pro-lab this means that more orders can be generated, with equipment working harder. For the photographer once an order has been placed with the pro-lab, they can access the in-built order tracking function to keep up-to-date with various jobs. As an added service, by registering their mobile phone number on the system, the photographer can request an SMS message to be sent to their mobile when an order is completed, an option that brings processing and communications even closer.

With almost all photographers more interested in image taking than administration, LablinkPro streamlines both print ordering and paperwork, as once the photographer has registered with a participating pro-lab and set up an account, the process is very simple. The system also has benefits for the pro-lab as it is an opportunity to secure business and offer a flexible on-line service to existing and new customers.

By encouraging photographers to upgrade to the full version of LablinkPro, pro-labs can unlock additional revenue by offering the individual access to on-line print sales via a personalised website, hosted by Fujifilm. This added service allows the photographer to upload images through LablinkPro posting entire proof albums on-line, making it easier for their customers to place more orders through the link between photographer and pro-lab. Available to the photographer for a monthly fee, based on usage, this approach can be an almost instant revenue generator for both photographers and pro-labs.

As the first integrated package of its kind, designed to increase revenue for Frontier minilab operating pro-labs, whilst building solid relationships with professional photographers both in and outside a pro-labs catchment's area, the launch of LablinkPro represents just part of Fujifilm's ongoing commitment to supporting the professional market, helping pro-labs to protect and increase print revenue.

For more information on LablinkPro call Fujifilm on 01234 217724 or visit www.lablinkpro.com

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