Ursus exponentially grows business with Contex flatbed scanner

Vintage art and book retailer drives up sales of historic prints with Contex HD iFLEX

The challenge

For years, Ursus Books relied on a photographer to capture its selection of vintage art and historic prints for online sales. The process was painstaking and involved extensive retouching, significantly hindering Ursus’ ability to showcase its vast inventory in a timely fashion. This nearly sealed the fate of this store’s one-time lucrative print department.

The solution

The high-speed HD iFLEX flatbed scanner efficiently delivers high-quality scans of Ursus’ valuable inventory with ease. To accommodate originals of assorted conditions and dimensions, the scanner features an adjustable lid and the ability to double its scanning area from A2/C-size to A1/D-size.

Benefits & results

The HD iFLEX’s speed and image quality enables Ursus to capture 400% more prints weekly than previous methods, contributing to a dramatic uptick in sales. Each print typically sells for between $200 and $400, and online sales have generated tens of thousands in revenue for Ursus over the last two months, resulting in a one month return on investment of the Contex HD iFLEX flatbed scanner.

For decades, NYC-based Ursus Books was the destination for diverse finds -- original prints, rare books, new and out-of-print art books -- dating back to the 17th century. As times changed and online shopping became ubiquitous, the retail shop knew it had to make changes in order to profit from this new audience.

A time-consuming and costly process of capturing prints limited the inventory that Ursus could showcase online. Sales were virtually non-existent until a new partnership with digital marketplace One Kings Lane started to drive revenue. Inspired, staffers began the search for a better method of capturing inventory.

In 2014, Ursus purchased Contex’s HD iFLEX flatbed scanner, and the benefits were so immediate that it brought in additional staff to scan prints. The scanner’s industry-leading speed, color fidelity, and optical resolution streamlined the department’s workflow and enhanced the company’s online presence, which has led to higher sales. So much so that the scanner has resulted in a one-month return on investment.

Because of the amount of time the photographing process took, we couldn’t upload nearly as much as we can now with the HD iFLEX.

Christina Gruppuso
Assistant Manager, Ursus Books Ltd

In-house Scanning Delivers Quality, Efficiency and Increased Profits
Previously, photography was the only way to capture Ursus’ collection of historic prints. Its photographer, who was only available a few days each week, had to shoot and then retouch each image. In instances involving large prints, the photographer had a difficult time capturing the items due to size and space constraints. The images, while taken with professional equipment, would often have unavoidable distortion.

Now, with the HD iFLEX, Ursus staffers are able to scan 400% more originals a week than with previous methods. On average, the scanner is in use at least three hours a day. Since acquiring the HD iFLEX, staffers have captured approximately 15% of Ursus’ inventory.

One-Month ROI
Through its profitable partnership with One Kings Lane, Ursus has gone from selling three to five prints per day to twelve to fifteen. In the last two months, Ursus has generated tens of thousands in revenue. The company’s uptick in sales has led to a swift, one-month return on investment on the HD iFLEX. Additionally, Ursus staffers have been able to use the HD iFLEX to upload print scans to the company website, where more print sales are taking place.

In addition to making it easier for Ursus to showcase its print collection, the HD iFLEX’s image quality also highlights even the slightest of details in the originals.

"The nice thing about scanning prints is sometimes you can actually see the texture of the paper," states Gruppuso. "Seeing the texture of something that was hand rendered, like a watercolor, is really nice. You can lose some of that in photography."

The most important things are color accuracy and speed. Just the number of prints we can get up on our website or on One Kings Lane in one day is a huge change.

Christina Gruppuso
Assistant Manager, Ursus Books Ltd

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