One of the feature requests we’ve been getting is adding a shopping cart or print fulfillment service. Although we are continuing to investigate the best way to provide this feature, we realize it’s no small task to develop a competitive ecommerce solution that matches all the bells and whistles of the shopping cart and print fulfillment services available for photographers out there today.
While creating a PayPal shopping cart option is the easiest route, this may not provide the integrated user experience professional photographers are searching for. So I thought I might suggest a few of the print fulfillment services I have come across. Before signing up with any print fulfillment partner, you’ll want to do your homework and talk to fellow photographers that use their services.
A few other tips:
- Find out what their commission structure is – will they be charging you a flat percentage? Do they charge set up fees or per event/gallery fees?
- Does their commission fee include credit card processing fees (typically 3%)?
- How often are you paid your profits? How is payment made?
- Will they be handling the printing? Ask for test prints to get a feel for their print quality.
- What size prints do they offer? What is the wholesale pricing per print? Do they offer other speciality products (cards, mugs, albums, etc.)
- How much is shipping & handling and who pays for it?
- How easy is the system to use? Ask for a demo and test uploading images and tools.
- What does the storefront look like? Can you customize the look and feel?
- Is the shopping cart user friendly? Can your clients easily navigate it and order prints?
For just a storefront, to handle ordering and payment processing, instaproofs charges a straight fee of 15% of the order, which includes credit card transaction fees, no monthly fees or per-event fees. They do not offer lab printing services, so you’ll have to do the print fulfillment and shipping on your own.
PhotoReflect partners with labs across the country to offer ordering, payment processing and fulfillment. There are no setup or monthly fees. PhotoReflect charges a straight commission of 15% of sales plus a 3% transaction fee. To fulfill your orders, you can send the order directly to one of their partner labs or fulfill the order yourself at the lab of your choice.
Pictage is another service I’ve heard about, but you have to sign up for their promo dvd to see anything on their website so I don’t have all the details on them. Pictage appears to primarily target wedding and portrait photographers and has a partnership with weddingchannel.com, which can help wedding photographers get more exposure.
Shutterfly Professional Photo Gallery
According to an InfoTrends survey, Shutterfly is the most widely used online photo service. Sell your photos online using a service already known to consumers for their digital prints. Host up to 5 GB of images for $99/year ($199/year for unlimited hosting space) and a 15% commission. The commission covers order processing, accounting, monthly reporting and credit card transaction fees. Set your own pricing and sell various sized prints and photo gifts like mugs and magnets. Receive your profits via direct deposit to your bank acccount, once the wholesale printing costs and 15% commission fee has been deducted.
SmugMug charges $149.95/year and has the same 15% commission structure but their wholesale printing prices appear to be lower and their storage is unlimited. Like clickbooq, they use amazon’s simple storage solution for image hosting, which helps explain how they can offer better prices. Prints are provided by EZ Prints. Another advantage to SmugMug is the ability to replace their logo, header, footer, and color scheme with your own logo and style so your shopping pages are more integrated with the design of your website.
There are a lot of providers in this field, and different ones cater to different types of photographers. You may find you would rather stay with your own local lab and handle ordering and fulfillment the old-fashioned way. Or, find a robust service that allows you to FTP all your high-res images and order complete photobooks. If you have suggestions for new features for clickbooq that will help with your marketing and/or workflow, start a discussion in our user forums. We’d love to hear from you.
EDIT: We’re pleased to announce we now offer online proofing and ecommerce for photographers through an exclusive partnership with RedCart, the popular and full-featured service for posting your galleries and processing orders and payment online from your clients. For more information, visit http://www.clickbooq.com/proofbooq