Picturing the “Wow” Factor
Apple Industries Has Its Eye on a Ground-Breaking Deluxe Booth
Apart from making passport pictures, the major reason people use photo booths is to goof around and have fun. Yes, some folks who’ve gotten all dressed up for a heavy date will pop into a booth to immortalize their magnificence. But generally speaking, photos of buddies giving each other the horns and giggling girls all squished together are what pop out of the machine’s slot.
With that in mind, Apple Industries began shipping a truly inventive photo machine designed to ratchet the fun factor up and over the bar. Called Face Place Photo Studio Deluxe, this attraction, occupying a roughly 6’ x 6’ footprint, comes with more bells and whistles than usually seen in this genre of coin machine.
The machine’s size is big (think group photos) and so is its suggested play-pricing ($5 to $10 a pop). And players just don’t stand there making faces at the camera: they react to the machine’s video monitor where “movie directors” tell players how to pose according to one of the 20-plus backgrounds selected (e.g. the pirate scene, spy thriller backdrop, rap music setting, birthday party, etc.).
Players can also select their 6 x 9” prints as one single picture, or with two 4 x 6 picturess, one 4 x 6 with two strips next to it, or four strips. Extras are available, and not only that, images can be transported to social media. Combining visual appeal (black cabinet with 5,000 lights!), showbiz video direction, audio and sheer size of the shooting area, this item is one commanding photo studio that lives up to its name.
The machine was previewed to the trade at both IAAPA and London’s EAG. The first production machines started shipping in February, and began moving into some FECs and other public places soon after. According to Apple’s CEO Alan Weisberg: “Preliminary earnings have been living up to its promise, booking hundreds of dollars a day, even thousands per week.” Added the company’s COO Scott Avery: “We’ve moved very quickly into a backorder situation with our distributors due in part to some heavy purchase orders. We’re building them as fast as we can.”
Constructed from steel, the Photo Studio Deluxe stands 90” in height and can accommodate six to eight customers at a time. The sizzle on the steak is the movie-style “direction” asking you to interact with the interior video monitor where actors show and tell players how to pose in accord with the selected scene (e.g. a pirate will tell the players to grimace in the “ahoy, matey!” spirit). In the future, it may not be unusual to seen some groups show up at the location with props and even costumes on.
Biggie Machine, Biggie Bucks
Apple projects that a Photo Studio Deluxe in a high-traffic location like a busy FEC, sports arena, mall or tourist destination could earn humongous earnings. They say it needs just 75 to 150 customer uses a week or from 10 to 25 transactions a day to generate the kind of super earnings Apple expects. “This machine will not only make money on-location but all year long through the player’s favorite media channels…from their mobile devices to emails to computers…and now even from purchases of merchandise,” Weisberg declared.
This is an interesting new income stream. The idea is not only to sell additional prints but products like cups with the photos on them. As Weisberg explained: “Once our touchscreen captures a customer’s email address and social media handle, we have a permanent channel of communication to them. We have a way to remind them of that special moment spent in the Studio with friends and loved ones, to resell those images, whether on paper or on merchandise like a t-shirt, as well as a way to help them keep reaching out to their own social networks with pictures and videos which are the coin of the realm in this digital communications age.
“In short,” he advised, “those permanent customer relationships translate into ongoing, permanent upsell income streams for operators.” (The company hopes to have this merchandise function up and running by spring, maybe even as early as the Las Vegas Expo.)
Products can be ordered from the Studio’s touchscreen interface and Apple says all photo-customized products will be created and shipped on the same day they’re ordered. Suggested prices will be in the $20 and up range, giving operators a nice profit on items with a $5-7 wholesale cost. “If just 10% of Face Place customers order a photo-customized product, it can double the profitability of each customer visit,” Weisberg declared. (Products can be purchased right at the machine with cash or card swipe and entering the buyer’s phone number.)
There are no curtains on the Photo Studio Deluxe. It’s a sleek, sparkly black cabinet with a lighted logo and glowing trim on the sides and bottom of the booth. A lightshow of 5,000 LEDs inside the booth shoot out of the entry and the machine’s name in huge green letters on the back of the cabinet tells folks this looks like a movie studio in a box. Clearly, it makes for a great gameroom centerpiece.
Speaking of gamerooms, besides generic scenarios, Apple can customize scenes according to the location’s needs (put in logos, characters, celebrities unique to the location, for example). Namco had a Pac-Man theme on the Studio during the London show, and trade folks got a kick out of it.
But typically, customers will want to see themselves on the Great Wall of China or smooching with their babes in front of the Eiffle Tower.
The Photo Studio Deluxe will be on display at the Amusement Expo in Las Vegas. Apple believes this product will help operators crack an estimated 350,000 locations that should have pay-for-play amusement equipment but don’t. Check it out at the show or contact Apple Industries at www.faceplacephoto.com for more information.