My Photo customer's info

Erik OlsenErik Olsen manemanPosts: 65Registered Users Big grins
edited May 21, 2004 in SmugMug Support
I was using dotPhoto.com and photoRelflect in the past, and I love smugmug. smugmug looks and feels GREAT! no ads, and other clutter, just a clean, simple.

However I'm a pro, and sell quite a few photos on line. It would help my photo biz, and could increase my sales, if I knew who my photo customers are. I can use this information for quality and service checks, and other follow ups. I understand smugmug wants to protect their customers' privacy, but they (the customers) are mine too.

Any thoughts out there...

Thanx, Erik
Thank you,


Comments

  • scrooksscrooks Pixel Nitpicker Kansas City, MOPosts: 61Registered Users Big grins
    edited March 30, 2004
    I agree
    Erik Olsen wrote:
    I understand smugmug wants to protect their customers' privacy, but they (the customers) are mine too.

    I agree completely. Ultimately, I really believe they are my customers, and Smugmug is just doing a third-party service for the two main parties. I should have all information about to whom I'm selling. What pro photographer doesn't want to know about the people buying their photos?
    --
    Steve Crooks
    Steve.Crooks.net
  • BaldyBaldy SmugMug co-founder Posts: 2,853Administrators moderator
    edited March 30, 2004
    Hi Erik and Scrook,

    We've been getting this feedback quite a bit and I can certainly understand your point of view. Don wanted to err on the side of caution and protecting customer's privacy but I will circle back with him and let you know his latest thinking.

    All the best,
    Baldy
  • pecheneypecheney Big grins Posts: 50Registered Users Big grins
    edited May 9, 2004
    Pro Users?
    First off SM rocks. This is my third fulfillment company and best by far so far! BUT, I am EXTREMELY frutrated by the lack of tool for pro users. I use Oracle Small business software. I would like for each time a sale si made that an email be sent to me with ALL their info. They are MY customer and not sumgmug's ultimately. I want...or would like...to be able to enter all my customers into my database, and then be able to send them an email enticing them to buy another photo, or photo gift before i take theri cgallery down... Hope this makes sense... It is very beneficial to SM< too...

    Another problem is that I cannot figure how to order photos at COST for myself. I shoot a lot of musiciians and friends, and I would like to be able to buy photos for my friends and also for some noteworthy folks at cost and not have to pay my marked up price for photos... IN other words, sometimes I give away my photos and rightnow I am either emailing them to them or dropping them on a dics and putting them in teh mail. I would LOVE to be able to buy some photos at cost, and then have EZP rints ship thm to my customer, or even me.

    Lastly, i would like to offer marketing incentives. Like buy 20 dollar worth and free shipping, buy tow copies and get a third free, or even "free" coupons I can give to people. LIek offer em one free photo, that I pay for and they pay for teh shipping. THis is all a little hashed, but basically i want a TON more control as aprofessional in regards to marketing, and CRM functionality. I am sure y'all are swamped, but please give me my customer's ordering information.

    One more thing... I am a UI engineer. I have worked on some of teh biggest web based applications out there...not tooting my own horn, but one thing I have heard is that some customers don't realize this is for sale, and MANY have no clue you can get these "photo products." To fix the first, simply at a second "Order Prints" button on teh TOP of each photo. Obviously, to pro users, we want to sell, sell, sell. The second issue fix woudl be to simply "suggest" to teh client on there checkout process if they are interested in adding THIS photo to a coffee mug, a tshirt, mouse pad, PENDANT, etc. Again, it may seem trivial, but just adrop down box with verbiage for ordering does not work too well. I get teh feeling tat SMugMug is all about sharing, and now is realizing the potential use for pro users and is playing catch up... right?

    Well, that is very hashed... as a UI engineer, I would like to say that the SM UI is by far the cleanest, best out there. Good lord, Candid, dotPhoto, and a couple others out there are in teh dark ages comparativley. I offered to fix dotPhotos' MANY problems and then I found SmugMug! Now I have lost a few bits of functionailty, but teh ease-of-use and QUICKNESS do not even compare... I am excited to see what SM comes up with. Help us market our photos, help us manage our customer relationships, and give us more, more, more detailed reporting!! ANd...keep up teh good work! THe fact you even have a forum like this speaks volumes of your dedication!

    PEC
  • BaldyBaldy SmugMug co-founder Posts: 2,853Administrators moderator
    edited May 10, 2004
    Hey PEC,

    Great suggestions. Many thanks for giving us a try and for taking the time to compose such clear guidance.

    Giving you customer information is definitely high on our list of things to do. I won't speak for JT and Don, who control the UI, but my guess is we can make the order prints button more obvious. As far as marketing incentives and more control, you're right about us being swamped. We do plan to offer a lot more customization, but what's on our radar now mainly has to do with page layout and customization of objects on the page.

    Thanks,
    Chris
  • lynnesitelynnesite Horses of Courses Posts: 747Registered Users Major grins
    edited May 11, 2004
    Me too/buying items at cost, not portfolio-retail
    Is there a mechanism to buy at regular prices, not my custom prices?

    Yikes. If not, I'll have to use Another Service for that element.

    I need this for print portfolio purposes as well as short fuse requests that I'm hand-delivering.

    TIA
    Lynne
  • tmlphototmlphoto Looking for sweet light! Posts: 1,444Registered Users Major grins
    edited May 11, 2004
    lynnesite wrote:
    Is there a mechanism to buy at regular prices, not my custom prices?

    Yikes. If not, I'll have to use Another Service for that element. <shudder>

    I need this for print portfolio purposes as well as short fuse requests that I'm hand-delivering.

    TIA
    Lynne
    You can change the prices of any particular gallery you choose (go to custom pro prices and select gallery), but as far as I know, you have to set the prices to something different than the default smugmug prices. I have found that if you set the price to 1 cent above the default price it will work. This is a software bug that they are aware of. The solution actually only costs 15% of the one cent, as you are credited the other 85% of the penny for your commission. I hope this makes sense. See the "Trouble Changing Prices thread" for more info.
    Thomas :D

    TML Photography
    tmlphoto.com
  • pecheneypecheney Big grins Posts: 50Registered Users Big grins
    edited May 11, 2004
    Thanks for listening!
    I am truly humbled by such a great company. They actually listen and reply to crazy folks comments...like mine!

    I can only imagine how much "flack" you have to take compared to how many "thank you's" you receive. Y'all's efforts are greatly appreciated. My post off the cuff, and slightly unprofessional, but in a nutshell: nobody is perfect. Y'all are the closest thing out there right now. As a web developer I am seeing how I can implement your backend to MANY of my client's websites. I have a couple already contemplating it and I have only been a SmugMug member a couple weeks! Wow. I am normally Johnny Skeptical. I am pitching vBulletin and SmugMug to one and he is so overwhelmed right now it is funny!

    The thing that is hardest to do when assessing UI is to remove yourself as an engineer and realize how COMPLETELY moronic most visitors are.... Not IQ, but more so their inability to explore and figure things out. UI's HAVE to be idiot proof. That is why my first true SmugMug UI comment was regarding what I consider the severe misplacement of the "order"button. My sales have REALLY dropped from dotPhoto and i would ay 20% or MORE of my old customers could not even log onto dotPhoto for various reasons... dotPhoto's order button is at the TOP with prices on the side. I liked that. I think it should be at both top AND bottom. Prices for ALL products should be listed ON the same page... Use DHTML, and "suggest" to my viewers that they can not only buy this photo for x amount of dollars, BUT they can also have it imprinted on a coffee mug. And then maybe a "see more" photo items with a DHTML expanding box (if space is an issue). Just make it a fairly straightforward PHP include, and it will save server time.... Additionally, if smugmug is all about sharing... then how come the email this to a friend only emails a link and not the photo? :-) I can nitpick all day... but as I said, as a professionally trained UI engineer, web developer, and photographer, I see UI's different than most folks. At SmugMug, y'all have looked at this thing SO many times and tried to "grandpa" test it (i love that term!) so much that it is nearly impossible for you to assess what needs to be fixed and what is holding you back. Unsolicitedly, I would recommend "blind usability testing." This simply means you bring ion folks, give them all computers, and give them 10-20 tasks to complete. Do it as one time visitor, as a SmugMug user, etc. You will BE very surprised... I did this with some of the smartest folks in the
    USA at a couple different jobs and was blown away each time... Super smart folks not being able to find an order button, a "Save" button, how to get help, how to go navigate sub nav items, etc etc. Blind usability testing... yep! After doing so much of that kind of testing on web based applications I learned a ton. After seeing my sales drop dramatically, but at the same time the majority of our "i can't view your pictures" customer support emails disappeared, I realized something was off kilter! It is teh order button. If folks saw that this photo was for sale, how much, and also that it could be printed on cool items, i sincerely think sales would go up!

    I know SmugMug is about sharing, and I sound like I am about $$, but I am really just trying to help SM help me via a long-winded, unsolicited nitpicking post!! yep...


    thumb.gif

    clap.gif
  • GibberGibber Beginner grinner Posts: 3Registered Users Beginner grinner
    edited May 12, 2004
    I totally agree with you pecheney. I've experienced the very same feedback and have conducted similar customer tests myself. Smugmug has the makings of a great product if they can address the issues with ordering.

    My sales have really dropped since switching (from photoreflect) which I equate to the UI not being intuitive to make purchases. In addition to the changes that pecheney listed I would also recommend making it easy to select and order multiple images at once (check box next to the thumbnail like most services use-maybe it could be a style).

    For the type of shooting i do (kids sports) most customers want to scan a large selection of images and easily choose the 10 or 15 that interest them.

    The good news is that Smugmug seems to really listen to feedback and has told me they are working on a better ordering UI to be released in the near future.

    Again, this is a fantastic service that is coming really close to meeting my needs as a photographer. I look forward to seeing the rollout of some of the proposed changes.
  • BaldyBaldy SmugMug co-founder Posts: 2,853Administrators moderator
    edited May 12, 2004
    Great posts, pecheney and Gibber, and no worries about protecting our feelings. We just want to know the brutal facts so we can make things right.

    I think what you're seeing is the legacy of our founding mantra, that it's about sharing. We focused all our initial efforts on getting sharing right and only later added print ordering. The sharing user interface has been evolving and under customer testing for 18 months, while the printing interface is much younger — and some improvements we normally would have made faster were delayed by switching print suppliers midstream to achieve higher quality (I wish we had started with them).

    Keep pushing us until we get it right. It's our #1 priority.
  • GibberGibber Beginner grinner Posts: 3Registered Users Beginner grinner
    edited May 12, 2004
    Thanks for being so responsive Baldy! Let me know if I can provide any help with feedback or testing the new features you are looking to implement down the road.
  • BaldyBaldy SmugMug co-founder Posts: 2,853Administrators moderator
    edited May 12, 2004
    Hey, after thinking about this today, I have an idea to float.

    There are really two problems to solve and one is some pros feel that enabling their customers to see the large size image we offer is costing them sales as well because 800 pixels may be enough for some people to print and be happy enough without buying.

    So what about this: we come up with another gallery style that you can choose called commerce, just like you can choose journal or elegant. Commerce could use the 400 px image size like journal uses rather than the 600 px images elegant uses, which would leave more pixels to promote the sale of the pic and also serve as a natural protection against image theft.

    Also, it could do away with the link to a large image.

    We'd have to think about the specifics of what to use the extra pixels for and suggestions are welcome.

    Or, we could stick with medium size as we have now but do away with the link to large and supply a more obvious buy button.

    Your thoughts.
  • Erik OlsenErik Olsen maneman Posts: 65Registered Users Big grins
    edited May 12, 2004
    Baldy wrote:
    Hey, after thinking about this today, I have an idea to float.

    There are really two problems to solve and one is some pros feel that enabling their customers to see the large size image we offer is costing them sales as well because 800 pixels may be enough for some people to print and be happy enough without buying.

    So what about this: we come up with another gallery style that you can choose called commerce, just like you can choose journal or elegant. Commerce could use the 400 px image size like journal uses rather than the 600 px images elegant uses, which would leave more pixels to promote the sale of the pic and also serve as a natural protection against image theft.

    Also, it could do away with the link to a large image.

    We'd have to think about the specifics of what to use the extra pixels for and suggestions are welcome.

    Or, we could stick with medium size as we have now but do away with the link to large and supply a more obvious buy button.

    Your thoughts.
    Hi...

    With Watermark PROOF all over the print who wants to steal it anyway... plus if one wants to steal one they are going to, no matter what you may do to protect yourself...

    Erik
    Thank you,


  • scrooksscrooks Pixel Nitpicker Kansas City, MOPosts: 61Registered Users Big grins
    edited May 12, 2004
    Baldy wrote:
    Hey, after thinking about this today, I have an idea to float.

    [...]

    Or, we could stick with medium size as we have now but do away with the link to large and supply a more obvious buy button.

    First: Three cheers for the idea of a more obvious buy button.

    As has been alluded to in some other recent posts, most of my users have absolutely no idea how to get around right-click-turned-off. Sure, you and I probably think it's easy, but most people are actually quite stymied by that. So that solves a good portion of the problem.

    Now, if we take Erik's suggestion:
    Erik wrote:
    With Watermark PROOF all over the print who wants to steal it anyway... plus if one wants to steal one they are going to, no matter what you may do to protect yourself...
    I'd have to agree with that, with the exception that I want the option to have, instead of a giant PROOF across the middle, a watermark at the bottom that says "Copyright Steve Crooks".

    That way my customers can actually see the picture without PROOF getting in the way, and if they figure their way past right-click being turned off they still have my copyright message on the picture which they'll have to figure out how to crop and hopefully at least feel guilty about.

    Those things together are enough to stop 99.9% of the people who might feel like swiping that crappy 800 pixel image. For the other .1%, as Erik says, there's no way to stop a determined thief anyway. That 99.9% is good enough for me. And I definitely want everyone to still be able to see a decent 800 pixel image -- I think that big view is crucial in selling to some people.

    But I deal in fairly cheap event photos while others might feel differently, I admit.
    --
    Steve Crooks
    Steve.Crooks.net
  • GibberGibber Beginner grinner Posts: 3Registered Users Beginner grinner
    edited May 13, 2004
    I like the thought of having a new gallery style for commerce. Making it easy to select multiple photos and putting the pricing and shopping cart where it is obvious, both on the thumbnail page as well as the page displying the enlarged image would be great.

    Also, having a selectable image size for display would be nice so the photographer could determine how much image they want to show to a customer. A new photo site just popped up a few days ago that allows the photographer to control both image and thumbnail size, which I thought was pretty cool.

    I do like scrooks idea for the option of displaying copyright info at the bottom of the photo instead of "proof" across the middle.
  • BaldyBaldy SmugMug co-founder Posts: 2,853Administrators moderator
    edited May 18, 2004
    Erik Olsen wrote:
    It would help my photo biz, and could increase my sales, if I knew who my photo customers are. I can use this information for quality and service checks, and other follow ups. I understand smugmug wants to protect their customers' privacy, but they (the customers) are mine too.
    drums.gif

    Okay, it's live. :D

    If you go to your reports, you'll see the orders broken down by smugmug order number. With each of those orders, you'll see a link across the upper right with the customer's name and email address. Does that help?
  • scrooksscrooks Pixel Nitpicker Kansas City, MOPosts: 61Registered Users Big grins
    edited May 18, 2004
    Baldy wrote:
    Okay, it's live.

    Well, I'm jazzed. clap.gif

    Even though Smugmug has some growth pains to go through still, particularly in the ordering arena, I stick with it because I see strong evidence that the company is trying pretty darn hard to improve things. Combine that with good communication from the employees and I have strong incentive to have patience and wait for problem areas to be fixed. thumb.gif

    Although name and email for my customers is enough for me, I imagine you'll have plenty of pro clients who will want the address also so they can send out mailings. It's always something.... rolleyes1.gif
    --
    Steve Crooks
    Steve.Crooks.net
  • pecheneypecheney Big grins Posts: 50Registered Users Big grins
    edited May 18, 2004
    Thanks!
    WOOOF! That is quite amazing. I agree. I am patient and loyal to a company who listens, repsonds, and then asks what we think of it. vBulletin, SmugMug, diggit.

    In regards to the new implementation, it is GREAT,. Very happy! I might humbly suggest one thing. The fact that you are now giving us the customer's info, it would be nice to have it displayed in a format that is more user friendly for us to copy and paste and to simply use. Currently it says, "Contact this customer, [email protected] , via email. " It would save me time harvesting my client's email and contact info if it had the name, email address, order information, and maybe even physical address (like dotphoto does), and also the picture they bought. Hell, I would LOVE to send them a coupon to give them an incentive to buy a mug, enlargement, postcard, etc. (That is why I was excited about LifePics.com's functionality.)Anyway, with each order, I like to dump my clients into a database to use later for this same reason essentially. Now that SmugMug is giving me the info to store I am back on track. As i said, though, a little more info would be great, and a better display would really round it out!

    Really hard to complain after y'all's efforts, though! Thanks for listening!

    PEC
  • tmlphototmlphoto Looking for sweet light! Posts: 1,444Registered Users Major grins
    edited May 21, 2004
    New Sales Paqe
    I just checked out the new sales info page. The new organization is much better and I really appreciate seeing the customer name & email address. Thanks for listening smugmug.
    Thomas :D

    TML Photography
    tmlphoto.com
Sign In or Register to comment.