With Fotobar, Polaroid Takes the Photo App Trend into Real Life

Polaroid Fotobar new image

And we thought Polaroid was near death.  Instead, everyone’s favorite real-life precursor to Instagram and Hipstamatic is re-entering retail with the Fotobar, an experimental store that lets would-be photographers stop by and print photos from their phones.  The first store, in Delray Beach, is set to open this month, with locations in New York and Boston coming soon.

Photos can be transmitted wirelessly to editing workstations, where users can also connect to Facebook, Picasa, and Instagram to find pictures to print.  (And of course, you can also bring in hard drives and actual cameras from which to download, edit, and print photographs.)  Polaroid prints and frames everything at a central location and ships out the finished work within 72 hours.

The physical stores are an extension of Polaroid’s existing online Fotobar brand, which lets users upload work online to order edited, framed copies.  The forthcoming outposts are a great example of omni-channel brand integration — as more e-commerce enters the real world, it makes sense that the trend is extending to previously online-only, smartphone-based business.