John Lennon wrote the lyric, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans,” almost 30 years ago and the message behind the line seems to only grow in both significance and relevance with every passing year.
Though Lennon was referring to the time he hoped to spend with his newly born son, Sean, in the song Beautiful Boy, the words surely resonate with all of us today with regard to the time crunch everyone seems subjected to. And you know what – in many instances, technology is at the root of the problem.
While technology is generally supposed to make life easier, it has, in many instances today, only added layers of work on to everyone’s lives. Much of a typical week is now spent e-mailing, uploading and downloading various content, surfing the Net, text messaging/chatting on cells, attempting to manage the aforementioned content, etc. It clearly has many folks singing a different song, “Stop the world, I want to get off!”
I touch upon all this due to a report I recently eyed from InfoTrends that suggested consumers, “are moving away from printing and more toward online storage and sharing.” In the report, InfoTrends Associate Director of Photo Printing David Haueter claims this trend might not affect the retail print market in the immediate future much, but he says that this sector could be hit hard by this emerging consumer behavior pattern in the next 2-3 years.
In the report, Haueter throws this question out to the imaging industry, “What can we do to make printing more appealing to users?” It is my belief that this aforementioned “time crunch” is becoming a big part of the answer to this question.
It’s becoming increasingly important to note that the DIFM (Do It For Me) people far out number the DIY (Do It Yourself) crowd as most consumers simply don’t have the time. Within the walls of this industry, look no further than the dramatic slowdown in the home printing market the last few years. We can all recall when home printing enjoyed dominant numbers in the overall print market – that dominance is now gone.
In the last few years, online imaging companies like iMemories and Pictureal are emerging and offering consumers a true DIFM service with regard to their video clips, stills and music. It’s pretty simple, send them your favorite memories and they send you back a DVD “movie” that artfully recounts these moments – condensed to an hour if you’d prefer (after all, who has more time than that anyway?). They charge a premium for this service and people are paying it. Why? I think it’s because they love to be reminded that they have indeed had some great times in their lives but they have absolutely no time to even consider organizing this content themselves into something manageable, enjoyable and easy to view.
I understand offering a service such as this requires a certain amount of time, man-power and commitment on the part of the imaging retailer, but I bet you’d be surprised to learn of the method to the madness behind these efforts. I can tell you that “simplicity” is the key and that theme definitely comes through, with amazing effectiveness, when you watch the final products these guys (Pictureal, iMemories) produce.
In closing, I’ll relay a short personal story that I think captures the point to all this perfectly. I recently purchased a shed for my backyard at a cost of $579. Home Depot charges another $180 to have the shed delivered and set up in your yard. That’s over 30% of the total cost of the shed. Crazy, right?
Two days after the purchase, that shed was together and resting snugly against the side of my house and there wasn’t a spec of dirt under my fingernails. Okay, my wife isn’t speaking to me, but it’s the best $180 I ever spent. Viva la DIFM!