The tools available to professional photographers for online sales have matured dramatically in the last 3 years. Each type of photography – weddings, portraits, commercial, stock, historical, corporate, event, school, sports – all have different tools needed to provide positive sales results online for that type of photography.
While the market is crowded with options for wedding and portrait online sales, and stock and historical image web sales are dominated by a few large players, the school and sports photography online sales market has been a largely underserved niche. In order to do this volume business well, the online sales system has to be able to:
- Organize large amounts of images so they can be easily retrieved by your customer
- Be Secure – with individual student passwords to view only their individual image and their team image
- Be Integrated – because there are so many images and so much data, the system must be seamlessly tied into your image and data management system
- Minimize multiple uploads – once again, with this many images being handled, you don’t want to have to upload the same images multiple times between the lab and online sales system
- Be economical – minimal upfront costs to post thousands of images from hundreds of events and minimize the amount of money you have to share with the online provider when you make a sale
- Present products visually – there are so many specialty products from graphic templates, to notepads to jewelry and ornaments. As a photo sage once said, “The heart cannot desire what the eye has not seen!”
- Handle green screen to allow mom and grandma to view their child’s images on different background choices and see the image and background in the products they wish to buy
- Reduce labor – whether the online sales system reduces the labor for you to accept credit cards or it auto fulfills the orders for you, or provides the convenience of online prepayment, online sales should always decrease studio labor.
- Be simple to market – photographers have to wear too many hats these days and have limited time to do it.
- Be simple to use – learning and implementing your online sales should not require a PhD!
There are two primary ways to use online sales for school and sports photography that result in good business results: (1) Online prepay and (2) a second sale opportunity.
We don’t recommend using online sales as a replacement for your initial school and sports photography sale. Studios who do this are typically disappointed with their results since while the parents intend to go online, they typically don’t without a physical reminder.
Be sure to come back to our photo lab’s blog on Friday, when we’ll discuss these two photography sales methods in more detail.