RocketLife.com's product builder interface
RocketLife.com is an up and coming online printing service targeted to one-off and occasional printers rather than professional volume ordering. Recently I was invited to take a test drive of the service and this is what I experienced…
After clicking the green “LAUNCH” button at the main website, the RocketLife application is installed on your machine as opposed to straight web solution. However, this method allows for a “cool” user interface with animated descriptions of products as well as making the design of a product easy and fun. The shop is divided into sections (enlargements, books, posters, etc.) with suggested products by occasion (holidays, anniversaries, birthdays, etc.).
Overall the product design experience and print quality of RocketLife.com are top notch.
Once you pick the product you’re designing, you simply upload photos and it attempts to create several automatic layouts for you based on the design selected. This will be suitable for most users – especially those who are not as computer savvy, but then everything is available to change: add more photos to the layout, resize and crop photos, upload new images, create backgrounds, and more.
When you upload photos, smaller versions are initially uploaded to speed up the layout experience. However, when you’re ready to order, the final versions are sent. I was on a high speed connection, so it seemed very fast to upload.
Because everything is done in a downloaded browser application there is no concept of an "account". Therefore when you revisit the site later, your uploaded photos are gone, your created items are gone, and your orders are no longer visible to you. In other words, you get to create everything again from scratch. Admittedly there is a “save project” and “open project” option, but these simply store your settings locally on the computer you’re currently using. This can save you some time, but a project cannot then be shared with friends and family or accessed from a different computer.
After your order is placed, you receive an email confirmation with order number, but there is no clear means of checking on the order status. After two days I had not heard whether my item had shipped so I emailed for a status update and how I could check the status online. The next day I received a reply that it was in process and would ship when done. That’s it. One day later the order shipped. Three days from the time the order was placed until it was shipped. Not bad, considering the size of the items ordered, but some indication of this time should be provided.
My order consisted of two items: a 24x36" poster and a 20x30 photo enlargement. The shipment arrived well packaged in a large tube. The print quality was very good and there are no complaints there. However there was another customer service issue after the order arrived. Initially, I thought the 20x30 had been cropped from my original design. I want to be clear upfront that this turned out to be my mistake, not RocketLife’s. However, I mention this because of the response of customer service to my inquiry. I contacted them regarding my concern and received no reply for several days, in spite of the email address being the same one I’d written about order status previously. I made contact with them through a third party and RocketLife support indicated the email address I’d written to was an older, unmonitored account. However, this is the address they sent in the confirmation of shipping email and one I’d received reply from the previous week. I note that there is a different contact email address within the site application so those ambiguities need to be corrected.
Again, the original concern was my own mistake and once I finally made contact with customer service, it was resolved very quickly, professionally, and pleasantly.
Overall the product design experience and print quality of RocketLife.com are top notch. Their prices are in line with other non-volume online print shops and did not appear to be any better or worse a value than other such sites. Saving designs for reorder and order tracking leave a lot to be desired in addition to the inconsistencies with contacting customer service.
As always, your mileage may vary. But the next time you’re in the market for a specialty print job of your favorite photos, you should at least give RocketLife.com a try.