Product personalization is becoming increasingly popular – and it’s getting easier and easier for providers to access this segment. So that is a good reason for taking a look at the online print software out there in the market supplied by non-European providers.
Photo print has a strong appeal – in all its facets and on different types of products (I reported on the evolution of online photo print in this blog). Every year more and more photos are taken and even processed using mobile end devices. Smartphones account for around 85 % of the estimated 1.2 trillion photos taken worldwide in 2017 (source: Bitkom). So there is enough image data out there – and these photos are being printed more and more frequently for the simple reason that product personalization is in demand and print makes it faster, better and cheaper. After being established in 2005, a Canadian software specialist focused on precisely this segment and since then it has developed solutions for incorporating design software in online stores, the editors themselves and links to external or internal fulfilment providers. And since Mediaclip, which has a headcount of 25 and is based in Montreal, has been putting out its feelers in the direction of the European photo print market for some time now, I have taken a closer look at this particular software provider.
With installations in more than 30 countries around the world, Mediaclip is definitely not an unknown quantity in the industry and it has a client base including major retailers, who are growing their online presence, as well as purely online players. Basically this Canadian software developer is reaching out to B2C customers as well as to B2B2C providers of personalizable (photo) products that do business without using “their own” personalization software. The tools required to do this are all included in the MPCCS – the acronym stands for Mediaclip Photo Product Creator Suite, which comprises four core components – the Product Designer, Photoshop Extensions, which are directly linked with the Designer, the Clip Producer and the eCommerce Bridge.
The Product Designer certainly has several positive properties to offer store providers and consumers – an intuitive-to-operate UI with simple access to the controls, a limitable or rather customizable range of functions for each user group as well as an autofill option for photobooks, freeform layouts as well as warnings about potential losses in quality caused by low resolution. But what I really like is the fact that the Designer is entirely HTML5-based – therefore responsive and mobile-compatible – and that a context-related or photorealistic illustration is provided in addition to 2D and 3D previews of designed products.
The Photoshop Extensions section provides a plugin as an extra component to enable PS templates to be integrated into the design tool, e.g. to specify the editable areas of a product. Once the product has been designed, the Clip Producer functions as a backend engine to ensure that the data is rendered for fulfilment purposes in order to complete the workflow. The “rest” is handled by the specially developed eCommerce Bridge, which provides the interfaces with common eCommerce systems and also with the Fulfillment function – even if that takes place in-house.
That also brings me to what is of particular interest to store operators, online print providers and potential providers of photo print products – what software procurement models does Mediaclip offer? For those businesses that want to host the software themselves, the Canadian provider offers ‘Mediaclip On Premise’, which according to the company is the most flexible version and like the Mediaclip HUB model can be integrated into any eCommerce system. The last-mentioned SaaS model is the cloud-based W2P platform and features interfaces with the eCommerce system and the in-house or external Fulfillment function. According to Mediaclip, the HUB can be integrated in just a few hours and is therefore the fastest option for getting to market.
Mediaclip partners with companies like MageMontreal, a software service provider specializing in Magento websites that integrates Mediaclip’s personalization software into stores.
“Mediaclip is offering a mature personalization software solution with all the necessary interfaces that provides a wide range of options. This Canadian company is therefore delivering functions that you look for in vain in the specs of some other online print software suppliers.” – Bernd Zipper
Other solutions that Mediaclip provides include k-Pix, a dedicated online personalization solution for k-eCommerce platforms created for Microsoft Dynamics or SAP. Although these eCommerce platforms are less familiar in these parts than they are in America, k-Pix makes them fully scalable and just as responsive as the other two solutions.
Overall, Mediaclip provides solutions that enable you to design a wide range of personalizable products and that feature thoroughly open and flexible architectures. But Marion Duchesne and her team know how to harness these technical strengths to boost sales even more. That’s because cloud services and social media channels can be used in addition to local memories to source image files. And what’s more – to promote cross- and upselling and to reduce bounce rates, the Canadian firm has included a product preview function at the end of the design process, which can photorealistically model the same layout on other available products. Smart thinking.
Mediaclip’s software developers also started offering packaging and labeling in 2017 to add customizable boxes to the portfolio alongside existing product personalization options – either to complement other photo products or as a separate category.
My take: with its HUB and On Premise versions, including integrated editing and interface options, Mediaclip is providing a solid foundation for all entrants to the personalized print market and to store operators that want to expand their portfolios quickly and presentably. Merchandising opportunities, the link to social media channels, the cross-device functionality of the software and the wide range of WYSIWYG illustrations of specially designed products make Mediaclip’s overall package a solution that onliners should definitely be taking a closer look at.