Unlimited Image Hosting?
If you are a photographer and you are looking for a website shopping cart… And you are thinking about going with a plan that has unlimited image hosting! You might want to think again!
This is the wrong decision 99% of the time! It actually encourages you to kill your sales! It is like shooting yourself in the foot. (Think about this part: If someone can simply use their SmartPhone to view the images from the website forever, what motivation do they have to buy anything?)
I would like to share with you some testing that Morephotos did and why unlimited image hosting ended up being a bad business move!
For our first test we worked with a photographer that shoots about 25,000 images a month. Originally, he was leaving the images posted for 60 days… so for the next six months we changed that up by posting every other event for only 30 days. Everything was the same, except for the additional 30 days of viewing on ½ of the events. The results surprised us both. He was averaging $4,000 in sales with the 60 day postings, and for the 30 day posting he was averaging $5,000 in sales. This was a 20% increase. He was on our Classic plan at $49.00 with tiered image count pricing, instead of a charge for a percentage of his sales. So his bill to us was $175.00 a month for 25,000 images. The bottom line is, he saved $175.00 in hosting fees and, the bigger number here, he made $1,000 more a month. The net loss to him for leaving them up for the extra month was $1,175.00 per month, now that is some real money!
Before (posting all images for 60 days)
Our bill: $300.00 a month – his sales: $4,000 a month – Percentage Cost: 7.5% of sales
After (posting all images for only 30 days)
Our bill: $175.00 a month – his sales: $5,000 a month – Percentage Cost: 3.5% of sales
The example above is using a large number of images – Let’s look at numbers using a smaller amount of images.
With MorePhotos current plans:
|Pro Plan $24 a month + 10% of sales – unlimited images
||Classic Plan $49 a month + tiered image charges – 2,500 peak images
|Monthly sales $300 – your total cost $54
||Monthly sales $300 – your total cost $49
|Monthly sales $500 – your total cost $74
||Monthly sales $500 – your total cost $49
|Monthly sales $1,200 – your total cost $144
||Monthly sales $1,200 – your total cost $49
Bottom line, the shorter time you leave the photos up the more sales you will have. At this point I recommend leaving the events online for two weeks or less. Our classic plan is based on 2,500 peak images per month. Example: If you had 2,500 images posted and took them down in the middle of the month and then posted 2,500 new ones your peak would still be 2,500. And I hear this excuse all the time, I’m not busy three months a year and do not want to pay the extra $25.00 dollars those months. Some of you pay more in your busiest month, with your percentage, than you would pay us all year for our classic plan. Do the math!
The next test we did with the same photographer was discount pricing. Remember, we are posting for only 30 days now, with an average of $5,000 per month. I talked him into raising his price 20% and giving a 20% discount if they ordered in the first week. We tried this for three months and I told him I would pay the difference if it was under the $5,000 per month. I crossed my fingers and toes on this one. After three months the average was now $6,400 dollars per month.
This test resulted in another benefit as well – Less people forgot to place their order before the events expired. This meant less calls to re-post them.
This gave us another learning idea….. Archiving events. This idea built on the shortened availability of the online viewing by adding the capability of getting paid up front to “reactivate” the event. Now after the allotted time, the system automatically puts the event in the archive status. When the customer comes to the expired event and they try to enter, they receive a message. This message says something like this “This event was on line for two weeks and is now archived, to retrieve your event there is a $10.00 fee. If you continue and pay the $10.00 fee, you will receive a credit for $10.00 to use towards your order”. In effect, you are saying “I’m not going to charge you extra, but you do have to buy something”.
Another test we ran used and idea from one of our photographer’s that I thought it would never work. I have to admit, I’m a little embarrassed at how wrong I was. The photographer called me and wanted the archive feature activated at the beginning of the event post. In other words he wanted to charge them to even look at the photos. Like I said, I thought it would never work. He used his cap and gowns event for this test. This meant that if your daughter was graduating from the university you would go to his site and have to pay $10.00 (up front) just to look at the images. Then he gives you a $20 certificate towards your purchase. Before this test, he averaged around $800.00 in sales for this event. After implementing his idea, the average went to $2,500.00 for the same job. He tripled his money with the same university. This is amazing, and could be a new idea to implement in your studio(s). Any job that is relying on sales after the shoot, or a job that you have decided to stop doing due to lack of sales, you might want to consider retrying, using the pay to enter scenario above.
So many little things can make a difference and that is why morephotos.com does this testing. Anyone can send you down the road with a website and shopping cart, but we’ve gone the extra mile and teach you how to use them in an effective way!
Another point I disagree on is photographers’ using their unlimited image posting as a secondary image back up system. The main reason this is not a sound business choice is if a website or shopping cart company has all of your images stored online, you are to a point, held hostage by them. If you want to stop using their service you have to scramble to figure out where to put all of those images, which can be extremely time consuming if you store a lot of images. One really sound choice to keep in mind is this: There are several reliable companies you can use for the online backup of your computer and images, Dropbox is one in particular that we recommend. For only $15 per month you can have worry free storage, that you can access whenever, from wherever… and the best part is, it gives you the freedom to switch up your online services if you desire. Have you ever had a hard drive fail… Peace of mind for $15 a month is pretty cheap when you consider you can backup all of your computer files and images! Check them out at dropbox.com.
Remember this – It does not matter what it costs you, it only matters how much it makes you!