WAL-MART ADDS DUAL-INPUT KIOSKS

BENTONVILLE, Ark. - Wal-Mart Stores is installing 2,000 space-saving digital photo kiosks in 1,000 stores that allow two customers to use them at once.The G4 Picture Kiosks are part of a three-year deal with Kodak, Rochester, N.Y., said Lori Kumar, divisional merchandise manager photo/MEM support for Wal-Mart. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed."The new kiosks were brought to life

BENTONVILLE, Ark. - Wal-Mart Stores is installing 2,000 space-saving digital photo kiosks in 1,000 stores that allow two customers to use them at once.

The G4 Picture Kiosks are part of a three-year deal with Kodak, Rochester, N.Y., said Lori Kumar, divisional merchandise manager photo/MEM support for Wal-Mart. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

"The new kiosks were brought to life with input from Wal-Mart to Kodak," Kumar said.

"We needed more input facings and output printers for customers without taking up a great deal of additional space," she said.

The new unit, at 48 inches wide, is 1 foot wider than single units, "but has the power of two of the older style units," she said.

The decision to add more kiosks at Wal-Mart "was dictated by the customer demand we have for the product," Kumar said. Wal-Mart has seen steadily increasing numbers in the digital printing business and wants to reduce the wait time for customers, she said.

Customers can use the kiosk to print photos from memory cards, USB drives, CDs and DVDs, at a rate of one 4-by-6 print in four seconds, according to Kodak.

"People want real photographic prints and the No. 1 way to get them is at retail," Kodak spokesman David Kaffnoff said. "You need only look at the 50 million digital pictures people take per year, and that number grows every day, to realize that these kiosks are a great time saver and convenience."

The kiosks will be located in the photo or electronics departments of stores, Kumar said. "The associates in these areas are trained to assist the customers if needed. These are also the areas where the customer order is packaged, priced and rung up," she said.

The retailer also has digital photo equipment from Fuji Photo Film, Valhalla, N.Y., and Hewlett-Packard, Palo Alto, Calif.

The kiosk applies a coating to prints for extra protection, according to Kodak.

In a prepared statement, Nicki Zongrone, Kodak's worldwide kiosk general manager and vice president, Consumer Digital Imaging Group, said, "Wal-Mart recognized the benefit of Kodak's modular, upgradable and flexible kiosk platform to help their business grow and provide consumers with an easy way to get high-quality digital prints."