There are so many different sales, pricing, and marketing strategies on the market. But which is the best for you? It is good to start the discussion of these with examining the benefits an online gallery can provide to your business. No matter if you do in-person ordering (which we will be talking about in coming weeks) or solely online, having the online gallery tool tucked away will help provide efficiency, organization, and balance to this circus act of business.
What should I look for in an online gallery?
There are so many online galleries for photographers on the market, but like everything else in business, the functions needed in an online gallery will depend upon business model, cost of doing business, and personal desires. There are a few key functions (including but not all inclusive) that every photographer should evaluate before committing to an online gallery site:
- Branding capabilities
- Storage backup
- Right click disabled
- Expiration date for galleries
- Optional print lab fulfillment
- Various displays for gallery
- Customers can tag favorites
How can I use it to my benefit?
Online galleries can be used as online storage backup, deliver galleries, allow clients to share their galleries with friends and families, and utilize various sales strategies. Busy owners can also use it for “in person” proofing. Read on to find out how!
What sales strategy will work for online gallery and proofing?
Any! You can balance between sending the link to client (with or without an ordering timeline) or you can do an online “in person” ordering via skype or phone.
First, sending a link to a client can be one of the easiest, but not alway beneficial, ways of securing orders. Remember, pricing is half the battle. So if you’ve set up your pricing appropriately, then you may be able to “give a little” and take this more passive sales route by letting the pricing work for you. It is extremely beneficial to have a deadline for clients to order. This deadline can be a hard deadline (X days open from delivery) or an incentive (if you order by X date, you will receive X).
However, if you want to follow it through with an enhanced customer experience but are limited by contraints (time, money, location, etc), you can take the route of online/inperson ordering via Skype or phone. Here is an example of a process of how to be actively selling your products and giving the customer experience with an online gallery:
- Have Session
- Load gallery (including any sample album designs or wall gallery displays)
- Once gallery is processed contact client for a phone/Skype based Product Ordering Consultation
- 15-30 minutes (Or earlier) prior to scheduled sessions send your Client Guide + gallery link
- Walk your clients through their online gallery and refer to client guide for collection pricing
- Insert any special upsells that you have – albums, wall galleries, etc.
- Take client order by phone
- Thank them with a follow up email
- Order and Deliver!
Tips to online consultation:
- Include product samples pictures in your client guide
- Send a reminder email 24-48 hours prior to session
- Inform clients of this option ahead of time
What are the drawbacks?
Drawbacks to using an online gallery all depend on whether you’re choosing the active or passive sales technique. Of course, an online experience will not always provide the best sales experience possible, but sometimes you may not have a choice due to constraints. Drawbacks can include:
- Inability to relay full product (unable to show examples)
- Potential for lowered concentration in consultation by clients
- Technical difficulties
Always do a benefit/detriment analysis to determine whether one trade off is worth the other.
What if I do in-person ordering?
If you do in person ordering then rock on! Online galleries are always an option to have on hand when you are unable to do in-person ordering due to circumstances such as scheduling conflicts, emergencies, or locations.
Recommended Online Gallery Options
- Shootproof* Recommended by Rachel
- Dropbox Major downfall is your clients can download it without permission. (Dropbox Professional and Dropbox Business accounts have the ability to disable downloads. This article from the Dropbox Help Center explains how.)
Don’t make a rash decision to do one strategy over the other. Evaluate your costs, business model, and target market. Does your brand accomodate for online or prefer in person? Does the medium strategy work for you? Write it down. Make a plan. Be flexible.