Today, CVS launched its CVS Express Photo App through a tab on its Page. It allows users to choose photos from their Facebook albums and have them printed and available for pickup at their local CVS in an hour. The app creates the fastest and easiest way to get professional prints of Facebook photos, and automatically prevents users from printing when a photo’s resolution is too low.
Facebook users upload more than 3 billion photos a month, many from powerful digital cameras. Only recently, though, did the site add the ability to upload high-resolution photos which are suitable for printing in larger sizes. Several apps and services, such as Gifted, offer to turn a user’s photos in posters, mugs, and mouse pads.
Kodak has installed kiosks in Target and CVS stores which allow users to log in and print their Facebook photos. However, standing at a kiosk and waiting for printing to finish is a much less enjoyable experience than this new applications which lets users choose photo packages from the comfort of their homes.
When users visit the CVS Page, they’ll see a Print Photos tab with a “Get Started button”. Once they’ve allowed the app to access their photos, they’ll see a overview of the necessary steps. A sidebar panel explains that the app will show a red exclamation mark next to sizes that wouldn’t produce quality prints because of the selected photo’s low resolution. This takes much of the guess work and worry out of sending away for prints, and the lack of this information is a major issue among photo printing apps.
Users can select from their photo albums or tagged photos, choose sizes that aren’t marked as too large, and use a store locator to find a local CVS to pick up the photos from. Each 4×6 inch print is $0.19, cheaper than $0.25 single prints available from the Kodak kiosks, though Kodak does offer discounts on large purchases which aren’t available here.
In a financially risky move, CVS does not require a user’s credit card information to place an order. Users are expected to pay upon pickup, but this could lead users to forget or abandon their photos, leaving CVS with the bill.
Now that most people have switched from film to increasingly high-resolution digital photos which Facebook accepts, Facebook photo printing apps could become an important revenue stream for businesses like CVS. The question will be whether users in fact become nostalgic for physical copies of their photos, or if they’ll be satisfied viewing them on sharp mobile devices and digital photo frames.