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Living Up to its Image
by Priya Nigam“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” Who else could have said this but Apple CEO Steve Jobs? And I couldn’t agree more. Innovation, which has helped companies like Apple thrive, has now become critical for survival amidst the backdrop of a slowing economy.
myPhotopipe.com Inc (MPPC.PK) also seems to be committed to exploring new ideas with the changing times. This commitment is what drove the company to transition from a traditional bricks-and-mortar film lab into a provider of online digital photo processing and related services around four years back. MPPC has a host of offerings that target both amateur and professional photographers. Customers can have their photographs processed or printed as well as shared or stored online. They can even host and sell their photographs through this platform. As part of its efforts to continuously enhance its product offerings, the company has now introduced a program allowing local greeting card, gift and stationery stores to offer photo greeting cards to their customers.
This does not mean that the retailer has to set up any expense infrastructure. In fact, all he needs is a computer with an Internet connection. MPPC’s website offers more than 600 customizable cards. Customers can take their photographs to the retail store, select a greeting card, put down their own sentiment and send their order via the Internet. The company’s national lab in Atlanta, Georgia is responsible for sending the finished product, with envelopes, to the retailers. An integral part of the program is MPPC’s tie-up with Portal, which is a manufacturer of printed greeting cards that distributes to more than 15,000 retailers across the US.
With this offering, MPPC is targeting the $7.5 billion greeting card market. While it’s only the photo greeting card segment of this market that the company is addressing, this segment offers the highest margins.
Revenues jumped 32% in the fourth quarter of 2007 and surged 51% in the 12 months to December 31, 2007 to an all-time high of around $1.5 million. Net loss shrunk significantly in the year to $76,241, from $561,197 in 2006.
MPPC distinguishes itself by being industry leaders in terms of quality, having a user-friendly site and services as well as offering a plethora of choices. Moreover, the company regularly launches new products. Its marketing strategies are sound and MPPC believes in forming strategic partnerships to gain competitive advantage. For instance, its partnership with iStockphoto, albeit at a nascent stage, offers significant brand visibility. The company has indicated that about 12,000 visitors bookmark its website every month, 3,500 visitors download its Remote Order Entry Software, and 400-600 customers are added each month.
MPPC has some renowned clients in its portfolio, such as Coca-Cola, Lions Gate Entertainment, UPS, the Dallas Cowboys, the Dallas Mavericks, the New York Giants.
The writer does not own shares in the above stocks.
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