Online Storage the Rage

Online Storage the Rage

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We are starting to see more and more online-only companies popping up offering consumers the opportunity to organize and store their images online. Earthlink recently launched WebLife, a solution that offers consumers personal Web space for images and video. The service is free to Earthlink subscribers (up to 1GB) and comes with a $3 fee for that same 1GB for non-subscribers. Premium packages are available for larger amounts of space and so on.

Calif.-based Pictureal is yet another relatively new entry that takes the concept a step further by offering, not only store customers’ memories, but customize them into personalized slideshows and movies. The site (www.pictureal.com) also allows their customers the chance to create the movies themselves, turning hours of video and thousands of digital images into a slick 45 minute or 1 hour long movie/slideshow complete with music and a few effects.

We mention these sites, because we continue to be perplexed over the fact very few brick-and-mortar retailers are offering similar services. Perhaps it’s a staffing issue or maybe it’s the continued struggle over exactly what to do within the e-commerce world. Whatever the reason, image storage and organization is perhaps the single biggest issue within the digital imaging world right now, and solutions are worth their weight in gold.

“One day, the hype that now surrounds digital cameras will get muted to an essential but comfortable part of life,” Liz Cutting, senior digital imaging analyst for The NPD Group told Picture Business Magazine recently. “The specialty dealer who remains committed to helping people grow their love of photography will succeed by adapting to image capture, sharing and output, no matter what the mechanics.”

Ed Lee, director of consumer services and digital photography trends at InfoTrends says, “Look beyond cameras and even printers to see what opportunities there are for viewing, sharing, management and storage solutions. Whatever retailers can do to meet these needs will help them grow their businesses in the future.”

Lyra’s Steven Hoffenberg was even more blunt, stating, “If someone is going to cannibalize your business, it might as well be you. If the specialty retailer doesn’t become the expert in new areas like the camera phones and storage/organization, someone else will, and they will get the business.”

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