A company from regional Australia (called Winkiwoo) has experienced tremendous success with their innovative Facebook photo books product. Surprisingly, the new-to-the-world product, which was only launched five months ago, has already reached 80,000 in sales to customers in over 80 countries.
The product allows consumers to utilize the photos they have put on Facebook to produce a tailored and attractive physical book.
Customers using the service simply install the Winkiwoo Facebook application and then select which of their Facebook photos they want to include in the book and place the order online. The book is then printed and sent back to the customer.
The firm saw an unmet market need and developed a new-to-the-world product solution. According to the general manager of its innovation division, Brendon Watson, “with digital photos, more photos are being taken than ever but (in ratio) less photos are being printed than ever … until now there wasn’t a way to take your memories from Facebook and put them in a nicely presented photo product. It allows the customer to create and physically touch their memories rather than just having them sitting on the Facebook servers forever.”
The product would have great appeal to regular Facebook users and in the gift market.
Winkiwoo, is a division of Eastmon, which is a company used to run a chain of stores specializing in developing film photographs – an industry that has all but died out along with analog film technology. Over the last several years, it has shut down all of these stores and the company is now the largest printer of digital photos in Australia.
When a consumer orders a digital print or photo book from a leading retailer in Australia (such as, Harvey Norman, Bing Lee, Dick Smith, Big W, Camera House or Snapfish), it is likely that it is printed by Eastmon.
- This is an example of a firm finding an opportunity in a changing environment. Do you think that most established firms look at environmental change as an opportunity or a threat?
- How could this firm protect itself against ‘copy-cat’ competitors?
- Do you see this business venture as having long-term viability or do you think it is probably a fad? Why?
- Explain where this venture is on the product life cycle (PLC), as compared to where their traditional printing business would be on the PLC.
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