Huge Benefit to user experience

Kevin PaulKevin Paul Big grinsPosts: 54Registered Users Big grins

Imagine a world where my clients can go to my smug mug website, open their gallery, and like or favorite their images. Then, I hope you are seated beause this is huge. Be able to, are you ready.... sort by their favorites!

OMG

DID YOU FALL OVER?

OK, catch your breath.

So They go through their family portraits, their wedding, the pictures of their painted big toe. They favorite their top 5. Then they can press another button and the top 5 are all next to each other in the gallery.

They can show their friends their favorites. Makes it easier for them to under and Smug Mug to take that ridiculous cut for being the middle man.

Ya I know, it kinda works in the event thing. If you want to go and make an event etc etc. But why not just a button in the gallery settings. Allow people to favorite? Little box, click yes. Damm that would be slick.

How much cooler would that be then what is there now. It's not hard, the tech already exists because you have it in the event folder. Just make a little button. DAMM! How cool would that be. I know right. AMAZING

Comments

  • leftquarkleftquark SmugMug Product Team Posts: 2,972Administrators, Vanilla Admin, SmugMug Product Team SmugMug Employee

    Hi Kevin,
    This is one of the more requested features (along with some other items related). I know you've found the Feature Request forum but for those who read this post in the future, feel free to vote here: http://feedback.smugmug.com/forums/17723-smugmug/suggestions/6460649-client-login-create-account-link-favorite-any

    SmugMug Director of Product / dGrin Afficionado
    aaron AT aaronmphotography DOT com
    Website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com
    My SmugMug CSS Customizations website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com/Customizations
  • Lille UlvenLille Ulven Lille Ulven ScandinaviaPosts: 469Registered Users Major grins

    @leftquark I just tested the link you provided in that feature request for my own page and am ending up with an error message:
    The Graphic http://www.lilleulven.com/cookiemonster.mg?SessionID=2950ad16d5ea1af4fe87f2a7a30008e7&skey=2167bae7281fd3b978fc4227683aa27b cannot be displayed because it contains errors.

    http://www.lilleulven.com - The Photos of my travels
    http://blog.lilleulven.com - The Stories of my travels
  • Cygnus StudiosCygnus Studios Commercial Photographer San Francisco's North BayPosts: 2,285Registered Users Major grins

    @leftquark said:
    This is one of the more requested features (along with some other items related).

    This requested feature is mostly nice, requiring a sign in is going to be a major deal breaker for a ton of people. I get that so many photographers love to get names/emails, but you have balance that desire with what most users want.

    Now if it were limited to the fourth part "When browsing the site but not logged in, have a "favorite" button on every photo. " without forcing people to sign in/create account that would be better in my opinion.

    Steve

    Website
  • leftquarkleftquark SmugMug Product Team Posts: 2,972Administrators, Vanilla Admin, SmugMug Product Team SmugMug Employee

    It would sorta defeat the purpose of being able to save your favorites and do something with them later if you didn't have them saved behind a login.

    SmugMug Director of Product / dGrin Afficionado
    aaron AT aaronmphotography DOT com
    Website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com
    My SmugMug CSS Customizations website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com/Customizations
  • Cygnus StudiosCygnus Studios Commercial Photographer San Francisco's North BayPosts: 2,285Registered Users Major grins

    @leftquark said:
    It would sorta defeat the purpose of being able to save your favorites and do something with them later if you didn't have them saved behind a login.

    In my thinking it would encourage people to buy the images instead of simply coming back time and time again to simply see their favorites all grouped together.

    Maybe I'm the odd man out, but as more and more sites are requiring people to create usernames and passwords it becomes more and more of a pain in the butt. Especially for sites that I'm only going to view occasionally.

    Think about it like this, if people are coming to your site time and time again without buying, the problem isn't grouping favorites for an extended period of time.

    Steve

    Website
  • leftquarkleftquark SmugMug Product Team Posts: 2,972Administrators, Vanilla Admin, SmugMug Product Team SmugMug Employee

    My hypothesis is that someone who's sure about buying the photo, will buy the photo regardless if it's grouped behind a "favorite". Someone who is on the fence about buying a photo is not going to first favorite a photo, then come and decide to buy it -- that's just extra clicks and time. It sounds like, perhaps, you're asking more for them to have a way to compare images so they can decide which one(s) they want to purchase? The act of favoriting, though, has deeper implications and the purpose of it is to 1) save the photo for you to view later and 2) let the photographer know you've enjoyed the photo. The benefit is that it creates an incentive for visitors to come back.

    SmugMug Director of Product / dGrin Afficionado
    aaron AT aaronmphotography DOT com
    Website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com
    My SmugMug CSS Customizations website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com/Customizations
  • Kevin PaulKevin Paul Big grins Posts: 54Registered Users Big grins

    @leftquark said:
    My hypothesis is that someone who's sure about buying the photo, will buy the photo regardless if it's grouped behind a "favorite". Someone who is on the fence about buying a photo is not going to first favorite a photo, then come and decide to buy it -- that's just extra clicks and time.

    That is a fine hypothesis.

    In the real world though, that is not how it works IME. To be clear, my experience is photographing more than 30,000 sessions and being involved in the sales process and the sales techniques used to sell those sessions. I am not bragging, I just want to make the point that I have done this a couple of times. I was a photographer and a Regional manager for a volume portrait company. The method I'm asking for is something I have seen done hundreds of thousands of times. It is not a hypothesis for me.

    In portrait work people will often want to narrow down similar shots and then see their favorites of every grouping next to each other. When they see their selected 5, 10, 25 photo's they then want to narrow it down from there, or start making their selections.

    Showing the favorite photos on the screen next to each other led to a huge increase in our sales averages. Almost 30%.

    This is not a new method, it is a very popular method going back the 20 years that I have been in this industry. Back when we used to put the favorite 3x5 proofs on the table next to each other.

  • leftquarkleftquark SmugMug Product Team Posts: 2,972Administrators, Vanilla Admin, SmugMug Product Team SmugMug Employee
    edited June 4, 2017

    Sorry @Kevin Paul , I was unclear. I was responding to Cygnus, who thought favoriting would encourage people to buy the photo immediately, instead of coming back to the photos over and over. I 100% concur that favoriting will facilitate purchasing as you described it, and we see that with Event Favorites today. One of the main reasons behind building out a better favoriting would be to facilitate purchasing just the photos your visitors love ... but I don't believe it will encourage someone to buy a photo instead of coming back over and over like he implied. Rather, it will make someone who wanted to purchase photos have an easier time doing so, and encourage them to buy more.

    SmugMug Director of Product / dGrin Afficionado
    aaron AT aaronmphotography DOT com
    Website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com
    My SmugMug CSS Customizations website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com/Customizations
  • Cygnus StudiosCygnus Studios Commercial Photographer San Francisco's North BayPosts: 2,285Registered Users Major grins

    Going back over my responses, it looks as if I were unclear also.

    My response was directed at the link to the requested feature specifically.

    Grouping favorites is a great thing and does in fact encourage buying, we all know this.

    However, the suggested feature request that is linked to this discussion does not address buying as the main goal, it is about gathering potential client information.

    The last line in the request says it all. "If implemented in this way, a client login ability would vastly improve our ability to communicate, market, and ultimately sell to our clients. "

    This entire request is all about forcing viewers to "sign up", it is not about sales. This is my problem with this request in particular, not the idea of grouping favorites.

    While gathering information (name/email/etc) is all fine and dandy, that in and of itself doesn't encourage one time potential customers to make purchases. (portraits/weddings/specific events/etc.) This type of customer is not coming back to the site over and over again looking to make random purchases. They only want to buy their favorite shots and move on.

    The point that I was trying to make in my early replies goes directly to that fact.

    A. Forcing people to create usernames and passwords will discourage a certain number of people. This does not help sales. There are far better ways to gather potential client information than to backdoor them with a forced sign up.

    B. Allowing the saved favorites for extended periods of time will discourage some people from buying. They can simply come back over and over again to see their favorite images. Why buy images if they can just see them forever?

    C. A limited time frame for potential customers to save favorites would be a better option. 5 days / 10 days / 30 days or set by the photographer would satisfy the desire to group favorites while not allowing them to return over and over again forever.

    D. Anonymous grouping of favorites based on cookies or whatever would also encourage potential customers who don't like to sign up at every website that they visit should be an option. Give the potential customer the option of signing up or not.

    Steve

    Website
  • leftquarkleftquark SmugMug Product Team Posts: 2,972Administrators, Vanilla Admin, SmugMug Product Team SmugMug Employee

    That seems like a very shortsighted view of favoriting, does it not? That assumes that everyone who comes to your site doesn't want to save a record of those photos -- it assumes that every one of your clients goals' is to purchase prints (which we've seen is not always the case). Yes, favoriting certainly can help the case of "Client Proofing" but it can do so much more. Favoriting is different from "liking" and "bookmarking". A bookmark is something that the visitor does so they can view the photo again in the future. Liking tells the photographer "I liked this ... but I don't care to come back to it in the future." Favoriting ties the two together, it's the act of both liking it to let the photographer know, as well as creating a bookmark so you can come back in the future. Being able to come back in the future requires a login. From a Pro business perspective, there's tons of benefits of gathering the client data as well. Perhaps a year from now you want to remind them that they can cherish their favorite photos in another way (for example, now that you can print on iPhone cases, you could suggest they purchase an iPhone case of their photos).

    The biggest issue seems around "having to create a new account." If we were able to take advantage of an account they already had (say a Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc account), and made it easy to login, would that work?

    I also believe, Cygnus, that your use-case may be solved by something that isn't favoriting. The ability to multi-select a number of photos, for example, from a gallery and then take some action (favorite, download, purchase, share, etc) would certainly fit the bill!

    SmugMug Director of Product / dGrin Afficionado
    aaron AT aaronmphotography DOT com
    Website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com
    My SmugMug CSS Customizations website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com/Customizations
  • jasonscottphotojasonscottphoto (I'm not Jason...) Posts: 694Registered Users Major grins

    @leftquark said:

    The biggest issue seems around "having to create a new account." If we were able to take advantage of an account they already had (say a Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc account), and made it easy to login, would that work?

    YES YES YES!!!

    Posts by Allyson, the wife/assistant...

    Jason Scott Photography | Blog | FB | Twitter | Google+ | Tumblr | Instagram
  • jasonscottphotojasonscottphoto (I'm not Jason...) Posts: 694Registered Users Major grins

    Just to add to this... here's the problem with the current set up... (See what happened to Tiffany??)

    This happens all the time where I see clients registering and re-registering and then they are confused about how to find "their" link...

    Posts by Allyson, the wife/assistant...

    Jason Scott Photography | Blog | FB | Twitter | Google+ | Tumblr | Instagram
  • dstacy_scpdstacy_scp OklahomaPosts: 2Registered Users Beginner grinner
    I'm ready for this feature to be added! I shoot season's of games for particular teams and it is common for players parents to wait until the end of the season to look through 8-16 galleries trying to select 6 to 10 images to purchase. I often receive calls right around high school graduation time from parents desperately trying to find images of their sports superstar, by tonight ! When that happens I refer them to another sales platform that I use that indexes each player by jersey number, thus making finding your player a snap.
  • Ed Lloyd OwenEd Lloyd Owen Beginner grinner Posts: 5Registered Users Big grins
    @leftquark -

    I've read this thread in its entirety (and others) and I was one of the first people to comment on the feature request when it appeared... This is BY FAR my biggest problem with Smugmug and causes me untold dramas, not to mention the lost opportunities I've had in marketing my photography. And it has been my biggest problem for literally years now!

    The bottom line is this:

    The current system of creating 'an Event' is cumbersome, awkward, old fashioned and time consuming. Not only:
    - does it result (every time I do it) in the same situation as poor old Tiffany in @jasonscottphoto's post above;
    - it prevents me from easily obtaining email information for further marketing purposes (more on that in a minute);
    - does not have a customisable layout;
    - is complicated for my clients to understand and navigate; and,
    - most importantly, it takes me a huge amount of time to set up for each event.

    Simply, I'm afraid, it is not fit for purpose, no matter how much you try and defend it. I think we are all now agreed on this (your customers).

    So, what's the solution?

    Well, regardless of any of the many valid reasons to have the ability to 'favourite' a group of photos, it seems to me that the only solution is to have the ability to allow a viewer/client/potential customer should be able to favourite a photograph directly from any gallery without having to go through a sign up process - an option to be set in the gallery settings determined by the photographer on creation of said gallery (they either can, or they can't).

    Once that has happened, the viewer immediately is given a choice in a pop-up - either continue as a 'guest' in which case their favourites will be kept for a pre-determined period of time and then forgotten, or to create an account using either a simple email/password system, or as was suggested above with a Facebook/Google authorisation/login. Either would work.

    If they sign in as guest, their favourites will be available to buy through the cart, still without them having to create an account. Of course, if they are buying photos, email address, postal addresses, contact details are all going to be transferred across anyway, so it seems sensible to have them create account if they've got that far.

    If they create an account from the off (i.e. as soon as they favourite an image), they should be able to go back to their account as any point in the future through that gallery and see what they've favourited, and then continue to do so, or buy prints/other items as they wish. It's a pretty clear process - view, favourite, create account, add prints/items to their cart, check out.

    I simply fail to see why this is not achievable or sensible system to implement, especially in the face of such an overwhelming customer response to this problem - you even admitted that this was your most requested feature in the first post in this thread!

    I'm sure you do check anyway, but as an example of how it is successfully done, please have a look at one of your main competitors... I don't need to mention their name, but it starts with 'Shoot' and end with 'Proof'!

    Two more observations which may or may not be of relevance...

    1. The primary purpose for me, as a photographer, of clients favouriting images is so that I can see which 200 images or so in a set of 700 wedding photographs they want in their wedding album. The only other alternative is that they send me a list of file numbers which they have laboriously written down and I have then laboriously filtered out from the full-set manually... You can see the issues surround not just the time taken to do that but also the potential for human error!

    2. The secondary purpose, but really no less important is data collection for further email communication and marketing. Currently, as you rightly point out, I can go into each event I create and pick out each email address singly (time consuming), and that assumes that the client has entered their email correctly in the first place (human error). There is no option for me to download that information as a CSV (saving time), or to check that the information they have entered is correct (negating the human error).

    You probably aren't aware but legislation in the EU is radically changing in May 2018. The implementation of the GDPR across the EU will severely restrict our ability to simply harvest email addresses from our Events, laborious as that is. Instead, the burden of proof will lie with us, the communicator, to prove not only where we got the email address but also that the receiver OPTED-IN to receiving our emails. In other words, SM will need to have a double-opt in system as the current Event system will simply not sufficient to satisfy those laws when they are enforced next year.

    Now, I appreciate that you are an American company, and that EU legislation isn't high on your list of priorities, and I'm guessing your primary market are US-based photographers, but given that Loxley is one of your labs, I'm also assuming that your EU-based clientele is not insignificant. So, whatever other reasons you may have for not bowing to this feature request that we have repeatedly and consistently been asking for before now, please at least consider that legislation may simply render your current system obsolete for the purposes of email collection for direct marketing... And they ask, "What has the EU ever done for us?!"

    All that being said, thank you for the good work that you have done and continue to do - Smugmug remains the only choice as far as I'm concerned. But, if you do have plans in the pipeline to overhaul this, please do just give us an indication that is the case and set all our minds at ease...!

    Cheers!
  • leftquarkleftquark SmugMug Product Team Posts: 2,972Administrators, Vanilla Admin, SmugMug Product Team SmugMug Employee

    @Ed Lloyd Owen: These are all great points and things that we've considered for some time now. As photographer's ourselves, we share your thoughts. To make a long story short, we want to make sure that Favoriting is a great experience and there's been some complexities that meant we've focused our energies on some other features that many of you will love for us to release. We'd love to add Favoriting and we'll do it in a way that satisfies many of what you say.

    Most of the reasons you've listed above are strong supporters of why we shouldn't allow guests to favorite without a way to get back to them. We'll make it simple enough to create the account that anyone can do it, and it will eliminate all the issues if a visitors information isn't saved to maximize the experience for both your visitors and for you.

    SmugMug Director of Product / dGrin Afficionado
    aaron AT aaronmphotography DOT com
    Website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com
    My SmugMug CSS Customizations website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com/Customizations
  • Ed Lloyd OwenEd Lloyd Owen Beginner grinner Posts: 5Registered Users Big grins
    @leftquark - thank you for your reply and I hear what you are saying re complexities.

    I also hear what you are about some of SM's customers NOT wanting favouriting... I get that also but as a argument to not doing it at all, I think that it's a weak one. Like much of SM, it should be an optional setting determined on creation of each gallery - much like putting a password on it. That way you are satisfying those that don't want it as well as those that do... Just a thought.

    I wasn't entirely clear from your response, however, whether the ability to favourite in a manner I outlined above - i.e. without us having to create special events in order for it to happen - IS or IS NOT something that you are planning to implement. I get that your energies are diverted onto other projects, but having created SM I sincerely hope that you aren't ignoring the 'elephant in the room' which I would surmise I'm not the only person thinking is actually SM's biggest weakness as a photo e-commerce platform.

    Whilst I obviously wouldn't expect you to put a timeline on it if you are, please will you categorically state whether or not you are currently working to overhaul the favouriting system and that it will be improved at some point in the future?
  • leftquarkleftquark SmugMug Product Team Posts: 2,972Administrators, Vanilla Admin, SmugMug Product Team SmugMug Employee
    edited August 29, 2017

    @Ed Lloyd Owen said:
    @leftquark - thank you for your reply and I hear what you are saying re complexities.

    I also hear what you are about some of SM's customers NOT wanting favouriting... I get that also but as a argument to not doing it at all, I think that it's a weak one. Like much of SM, it should be an optional setting determined on creation of each gallery - much like putting a password on it. That way you are satisfying those that don't want it as well as those that do... Just a thought.

    I wasn't entirely clear from your response, however, whether the ability to favourite in a manner I outlined above - i.e. without us having to create special events in order for it to happen - IS or IS NOT something that you are planning to implement. I get that your energies are diverted onto other projects, but having created SM I sincerely hope that you aren't ignoring the 'elephant in the room' which I would surmise I'm not the only person thinking is actually SM's biggest weakness as a photo e-commerce platform.

    Whilst I obviously wouldn't expect you to put a timeline on it if you are, please will you categorically state whether or not you are currently working to overhaul the favouriting system and that it will be improved at some point in the future?

    Adding an option to enable or disable favoriting is certainly an option. We've had some discussions about whether it should be always on, or be an option, but we've never dismissed the idea just because a few people might not want it.

    It remains one of the items we're most excited to work on some day. And when we do work on it, it will be separate from the Events system.

    SmugMug Director of Product / dGrin Afficionado
    aaron AT aaronmphotography DOT com
    Website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com
    My SmugMug CSS Customizations website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com/Customizations
  • MarcigMarcig Big grins Posts: 21Registered Users Big grins

    As a headshot photographer, the inability for clients to simply tag their "top 10" as we narrow down favorites in a gallery of 50-150 proofs is the biggest thorn in my side. The whole "client area" and "event" option/thing is a non-starter really. I provide a client only link, and then they email me which file numbers are their favorites. It's 1990's archaic, but is the simplest way. PLEASE provide some update on how this will be addressed! Thanks.

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