Smugmug marketing department -- How to decide what to offer?

ruttrutt Cave canem!Registered Users Posts: 6,511 Major grins
edited November 8, 2005 in Mind Your Own Business
I thought I'd eat some of my own dog food and be a customer and walk through the process of ordering some prints from myself.

I found myself presented with a large number of options. Perhaps this has something to do with not selling as much as I think I should. If I were actually ordering these prints, I'd want much more guidance. In particular, I'd want the photographer to tell me whether to crop or buy the right size prints so it didn't need to be cropped. I'd want the photographer to suggest luster/gloss/matte. I'd want to be presented with fewer options and have them all make sense.

Has anyone put any thought into this issue? I'd like to hear.
If not now, when?

Comments

  • JimMJimM wannabee Registered Users Posts: 1,389 Major grins
    edited November 4, 2005
    I agree, the simpler for the customer, the better... at least for the pro accounts.
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  • Techman1Techman1 Major grins Registered Users Posts: 155 Major grins
    edited November 4, 2005
    Rutt,

    I responded to your other thread on a similar issue. I totally agree that there are so many options to our customers. I only select products (and print sizes) which I believe most people want. I also offer the lustre prints for the same price as the Glossy & Matte. In fact, I may get rid of the Matte offering all together.

    I only wish there was a way to put all of the products offered into one dropdown list. I'm confident that most customers don't even click on the "Product" dropdown list to see what else is offered.

    I asked a few people to try out my site initially to see if everything made sense. They were able to manage getting around fine. Since that time, I have been experiencing sales of my sports prints, so it must be working out okay. Although I haven't seen any sales in the Speciality Prints or Photo Gifts, I think people just don't see those options.

    Take care and good luck on your sales!

    Fred
  • mercphotomercphoto Bill Jurasz Registered Users Posts: 4,550 Major grins
    edited November 4, 2005
    Techman1 wrote:
    I responded to your other thread on a similar issue. I totally agree that there are so many options to our customers. I only select products (and print sizes) which I believe most people want. I also offer the lustre prints for the same price as the Glossy & Matte. In fact, I may get rid of the Matte offering all together.

    I only wish there was a way to put all of the products offered into one dropdown list. I'm confident that most customers don't even click on the "Product" dropdown list to see what else is offered.

    I think it would be interesting to know how many of the odd sized prints (such as square prints) that Smugmug actually sells. Is it worth providing all those options, for example? Dunno. I can only guess it is, otherwise they would have dropped it by now given the numerous improvements to the shopping cart the last year.

    But all these choices makes the cart a bit difficult. I too provide luster at the same price as glossy and matte. I also only provide print sizes I think people would actually want to buy. It would be nice to have one pull-down entry for paper size, and then a separate selection for paper type. But given the cost differences in paper types this is not an option Smugmug can actually implement.

    I have also thought of only offering prints in 2:3 aspect ratios, but this presents multiple problems. For starters, the standard print list would be reduced to 4x6, 5x7 (close enough) and 20x30. Would the user scan through "custom prints" to find the 8x12, the 16x24? Doubtful (note, I have sold some 8x12s, but substantially more 8x10s). And what about the ever popular 11x14?

    As per cropping I've only had one customer complain that they got an 8x10 that had the wrong section cropped out. I fixed this by simply sending him an 8x12 that I made myself. It was obvious to me that he didn't check how he had cropped it when ordering (the part of the photo he wanted in the print was at the far left, and the default crop is to exclude the far left and far right, rightly so). But I've had others tell me the cropping feature is easy to understand.
    Bill Jurasz - Mercury Photography - Cedar Park, TX
    A former sports shooter
    Follow me at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bjurasz/
    My Etsy store: https://www.etsy.com/shop/mercphoto?ref=hdr_shop_menu
  • lynnesitelynnesite Horses of Courses Registered Users Posts: 747 Major grins
    edited November 4, 2005
    I just leave at 0.00 anything I don't want my customer to be able to see. I do offer square prints for certain galleries or images. I would welcome the ability to put a little more verbiage about how to order on the shopping pages.
  • ruttrutt Cave canem! Registered Users Posts: 6,511 Major grins
    edited November 4, 2005
    Techman1 wrote:
    I only wish there was a way to put all of the products offered into one dropdown list. I'm confident that most customers don't even click on the "Product" dropdown list to see what else is offered.

    Yeah, I think that's my only real wish, too.
    If not now, when?
  • AndyAndy Bicameral New YorkRegistered Users Posts: 50,154 Major grins
    edited November 4, 2005
    lynnesite wrote:
    I just leave at 0.00 anything I don't want my customer to be able to see. I do offer square prints for certain galleries or images. I would welcome the ability to put a little more verbiage about how to order on the shopping pages.

    Excellent advice, Lynne - and that's what I have been doing for nearly three years. I also provide some guidance in my print gallery -- with links to the help section on the cart, and links to the satisfaction guarantee. With the ability to make single html-only pages with your co-branding and even without your co-branding there's really no excuse not to help your customers out and go the extra mile - in your own personal way. In fact, I'm going to eat my own dog food and make such a page of personalized help....soon.
  • AndyAndy Bicameral New YorkRegistered Users Posts: 50,154 Major grins
    edited November 4, 2005
    Many pros who offer the whole product line, or nearly all of it, will prominently feature this page on their site.
  • DodgeV83DodgeV83 Major grins Registered Users Posts: 379 Major grins
    edited November 4, 2005
    andy wrote:
    Many pros who offer the whole product line, or nearly all of it, will prominently feature this page on their site.
    Good idea!
  • awfulsaraawfulsara Big grins Registered Users Posts: 13 Big grins
    edited November 7, 2005
    Are there plans in the works to simplify the drop down list? That's one of my biggest problem areas, really, that I know people don't know where to look to to find what they need. Having three drop-down menus with non-intuitive ("speciality" "small camera") categories really doesn't work too well.

    In my recent experience, people didn't realize there were other sizes available, other than the "standard" sizes, that is. Since I think of a 20x24 as a standard size (same ratio as 8x10, pretty much), the "specialty" designation doesn't really make sense to me.

    Even splitting them up into "full frame" (2:3 ratio), "standard crop" (4:5), and "square" would seem to make more sense than the current set-up, where no one knows what they'll find under "specialty."

    Even better would be the ability to customize our own drop-downs - add whatever we want to the things. That way we could set it up to show different drop-down menus for different events. Include only very standard sizes for wedding reprints, very specific sizes for fine art prints, or add one or two gifts to the regular drop down rather than having a whole separate menu for one or two offerings.

    Whatcha think?
  • AndyAndy Bicameral New YorkRegistered Users Posts: 50,154 Major grins
    edited November 7, 2005
    awfulsara wrote:

    Whatcha think?

    wave.gif Hi Sara, thanks for posting this - it's incredibly valuable to us, to hear what our pros want. We're constantly looking at the cart, and ways to improve it. Stay tuned!

    All the best,
  • mercphotomercphoto Bill Jurasz Registered Users Posts: 4,550 Major grins
    edited November 7, 2005
    awfulsara wrote:
    Are there plans in the works to simplify the drop down list? That's one of my biggest problem areas, really, that I know people don't know where to look to to find what they need. Having three drop-down menus with non-intuitive ("speciality" "small camera") categories really doesn't work too well.

    [snip for brevity]

    Whatcha think?
    Good ideas that might be difficult to implement. The shopping cart has been much improved over the last 12+ months. More could be done, but its not quite as easy as it appears. I think SM has all the low-hanging fruit taken care of already.

    The standard prints list basically has print sizes that match off-the-shelf frames. This is why you have 8x10 and 11x14, for example, but not the 20x24 you mention. While it is close to an 8x10 aspect ratio it is not a print you can easily find a ready-made frame for. It is unfortunate that the print and frame market is not standardized on a single aspect ratio.

    Smugmug offers a really big selection of print sizes, and that is part of the problem or part of the beauty, depending on your view and your needs. It does make drop-down lists large and is why its split in two lists. Another part of the problem is the list contains each print size three times (one for each paper type). But since the paper types have different costs it is hard to make paper choice separate from size choice. The only solution there is to drop luster (poor idea) or have all papers priced the same (another poor idea). While I think separating paper size from paper type would help immensely I'm not sure how to actually do it.

    I personally don't allow my customer to purchase a print in all available paper sizes. I have many sizes zero'd out. For me it would be possible to put all sizes in a single drop-down list and I don't think it would overwhelm the customer. For those who don't do this, however, that single list would get huge.

    I think the solution is how to divert the customer's attention to the fact there is a speciality prints list, a gift item list, etc.

    The only shopping carts I've found easy to navigate are those that offer very limited choices in size and paper types.
    Bill Jurasz - Mercury Photography - Cedar Park, TX
    A former sports shooter
    Follow me at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bjurasz/
    My Etsy store: https://www.etsy.com/shop/mercphoto?ref=hdr_shop_menu
  • awfulsaraawfulsara Big grins Registered Users Posts: 13 Big grins
    edited November 7, 2005
    [The standard prints list basically has print sizes that match off-the-shelf frames. ... It is unfortunate that the print and frame market is not standardized on a single aspect ratio.]

    Amen to that. I've thought of doing all my prints so they match something standard, just using digital mats (borders, really) to standardize. The biggest frustration for me is the larger full frame sizes having such gaps in the mid-range.

    [While I think separating paper size from paper type would help immensely I'm not sure how to actually do it.]

    That too would be sooo wonderful. Choose print size as step 1, choose "finish" as step 2. I'm not a developer, so I haven't a clue how that sort of thing would work, but it would greatly simplify the order pages.

    [For me it would be possible to put all sizes in a single drop-down list and I don't think it would overwhelm the customer. For those who don't do this, however, that single list would get huge.]

    Likewise. For me, however, that means that having only one or two in the specialty menu makes it largely overlooked. Ditto the gift stuff.
  • ruttrutt Cave canem! Registered Users Posts: 6,511 Major grins
    edited November 8, 2005
    I made a very simple simple suggestion in a different thread. Just get the word "size" somewhere so that people have a clue what this is about. "Common Sized Prints", "Prints Sized for Digital Cameras", and "Specialty Sized Prints" wouldn't be perfect, but would be a vast improvement, IMHO. It confused me, so I can just imagnine what happens to our customers.
    If not now, when?
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