Zooming in on Bay Photo Lab
Photographer Larry Abitbol founded Bay Photo Lab in Soquel, California, in 1976 with one mission in mind: provide professional photographers with the best possible photo printing and finishing services.
As the new millennium unfolded, digital imagery began to make its mark in the photography industry. At first, professional photographers struggled with getting their photos to labs. They would have to load their images onto memory cards or CDs or use FTP to deliver these to their lab of choice. Noticing the inefficiencies in this process, Larry sought a solution to help photographers simply create an order and upload the files to the lab for printing. Bay Photo’s team worked with SoftWorks Systems to create the Remote Order Entry System (ROES).
ROES brought printing and finishing services into the online age, leading to nationwide recognition and fueling significant growth for Bay Photo Lab. As order counts began to grow, the company needed a streamlined shipping solution that would simplify the fulfillment process and scale to support the company’s needs with ease.
Endicia and V-Technologies Provide the Perfect Shot
George Rentschler, Bay Photo Lab executive assistant, helped implement V-Technologies StarShip shipping software to handle the growing volume of orders and shipments. When StarShip integrated with Endicia, Bay Photo signed up with Endicia in order to purchase United States Postal Service® postage directly through their StarShip account.
As orders come in from Bay Photo Lab or third-party partners of Bay Photo Lab, StarShip takes the information and translates it into the appropriate shipping methods.
“Our team prints out an invoice for each order with a shipping barcode on top,” explained George. “From there, the shipping department scans the barcode, and if the USPS® is the appropriate method, populates and prints an Endicia label and finalizes the package fulfillment.”
Since Bay Photo Lab offers free shipping for prints 11x14 or smaller, the company needed to find an economical shipping method to save costs. That’s where the USPS comes in. Sixty percent of Bay Photo Lab packages go through USPS and Endicia. Bay Photo Lab relies heavily on Endicia to ensure that all labels and forms are prepared correctly and all reporting and billing information is accurate.
As Bay Photo’s services and offerings evolved, the company grew from shipping hundreds of items per day to thousands of orders per day via USPS, UPS, FedEx and DHL. And thanks to its outstanding quality of printing and shipping, Bay Photo Lab was chosen as the first pro lab partner by SmugMug, a photo-sharing website and image hosting service.
Bay Photo Lab also recently began working with Endicia to expand its business internationally.
“International shipping has become critical. One of our biggest new customers was printing overseas and wanted the ability to print in the U.S., so they came to Bay Photo Lab,” said George. “This customer, along with many other partners of Bay Photo, has resulted in the company designing a vast array of products for international customers, and we use Endicia to ship our orders.”
Together, Endicia and V-Technologies StarShip provide Bay Photo Lab with the support and cost-effective shipping options needed to grow its global integration lab.
Picture This: Endicia and V-Technologies Partnership
V-Technologies was founded in 1989 when it released its first product, StarShip — providing small to medium-sized businesses the ability to connect their shipping with order entry, accounts receivable and customer service, in order to streamline the order fulfillment process.
Endicia and V-Technologies have been working together for nearly a decade, and have evolved to develop a blended customer base.
Endicia’s relationship with the USPS and its innovative postage solutions give merchants the ability to get orders out the door in a flash, while V-Technologies provides integration into enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems and allows customers to customize their interface and solution mapping.
“Bay Photo Lab uses a developer interface and has multiple accounts. With StarShip and Endicia, the company can automate all of its company and third-party billing through these customized mappings and solutions,” said Caroline Walsh, V-Technologies’ vice president of sales and marketing.
V-Technologies provides the latest Endicia services to its customers, offering options like Pay-on-Use Returns™. Even if the order is shipped outbound via UPS, the StarShip customer still has the ability to print an Endicia Pay-on-Use Returns label. Then, the company can send the label as a PDF to the end customer to attach it to the package and put it in the mailbox for return delivery by USPS.
“The relationship between Endicia and V-Technologies is a great one. That’s why we exclusively support Endicia as our USPS integration partner,” said Caroline. “We are always making sure we’re up-to-date with Endicia features, and they do the same so that together we can provide the best possible solution for our customers.”