A Digital Restart – Just in Time

Albume, an online album service, has broken through with a hot product during corona times

By Terrance J. Mintner • July 16, 2020

Photo Credit: albume

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic businesses have been scrambling to rethink their strategies for a new era. Those who have quickly transitioned to better weather the COVID-19 storm are fortunate. Those who did so before it hit are even luckier.

Albume – one of Spectory’s clients – is one such company.

Albume is a subsidiary of Be’eri Printers. Headquartered on Kibbutz Be’eri in southern Israel not far from the Gaza Strip, the print company was established in 1950. With seven decades of experience under its belt, it has become Israel’s leading supplier of advanced mailing and printing services.

It’s well known for printing personal checks, as well as IDs and credit cards. This traditional foothold in the print industry helped Be’eri achieve steady growth over the years.

But the leadership knew the company needed to learn new tricks for the digital age. It needed an online presence with a high-end digital platform.

“Thinking about this transition started many years ago. E-commerce was a new game for us and we started slowly but surely, step by step,” says Erez Gati, who is charge of software integration at Be’eri Printers.

Albume, he explains, is an innovative direct-to-consumer service that came out of this rethinking process. As the name suggests, it is a digital photo album that consumers can easily create online, with the help of many personalized (“me”) themes, templates and designs.

Photo Credit: albume

Users don’t need to download special software and can access Albume anywhere, as the website and its album-building tools are all on the cloud.

The experiment turned out to be an instructive lesson for businesses in the Corona era. Because of its intuitive platform and easy access, Albume saw a spike in customers during COVID-19.

“Suddenly people had more time on their hands and wanted something for the family,” Gati says.

Photo Credit: albume

To meet this demand, Albume had to be on the cutting edge of tech. One of the big investments the company made was in high-end digital printers.

The company also added incentives for eager customers.

“After just three or four days into the lockdown, we came out with a product for this unique situation,” Gati adds. “It was an album about sharing family memories in the home. It was a big hit, and our inventory jumped through the roof.”

Yet Albume still faced big challenges. One was finding the right personnel with the required digital skills for the transition to succeed. The company’s team is all local, drawn from the kibbutz and surrounding area.

“To my delight, our staff is nothing less than a dream team,” says Haran Kislev, Be’eri’s E-commerce VP. “It’s not hard for us to find good people.”

Another potential roadblock was tough competition. Israel is home to household names in the printing business. When it comes to printing, Israelis often think of a company called Lupa.

“The album market is a competitive one with a leading and dominant player. We are required every day to try to think how we can renew and develop,” Kislev adds.

“We are in direct contact with our customers and we are attentive to them and try to offer them solutions they need.”

Albume prides itself on its caring touch as an edge over competitors.

“The products we sell go well beyond paper and printed materials. We see our collections of memories as the most important moments in our clients’ lives. This is a great responsibility for us, and it is important for us to invest in every album as if it were our own.”

Photo Credit: albume

But despite all these fast-paced changes in the world of photo albums, Kislev says that Albume’s products retain classic aromas. “The art of creating the album is entirely on the web, but it has a lot of the common elements from the old pre-digital albums.”

In building its digital platform, Albume wanted Spectory’s expertise on the front end of its website.

“If you log into Albume, you’ll see everything that Spectory did. And it’s a big job. Their work is visible when you browse the online store and peruse the album options, sizes, prices, and delivery details,” Gati says.

“When we decided to enter the world of online printing and establish our online album project a few years ago, we looked for a professional company with great people who were willing to walk alongside us for the long haul,” Kislev adds.

“I can say unequivocally that we’re happy about the decision to go with Spectory. We certainly feel we are growing together.”

 

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