'Tis the Season to be Jolly! And with the Christmas holiday season fully under way, there is quite a bit to be jolly about! Orders are up, people are loosening their wallets, and sentimentality is running high... it's the perfect time to be selling photographs. For those of you that threw Black Friday or Cyber Monday sales (and for those of you that attended a Black Friday event!), I think that you can probably attest to the fact that people are in a shopping mood. Print sales for this past weekend (including Black Friday and Cyber Monday) were more than double what they generally are over a weekend, and this morning things don't seem to be slowing down either. Christmas season is always the busiest season of the year for selling photographs, and so far this year, that trend seems to be continuing.
So are you prepared for the holiday rush? If not, here are a few pointers to help you make it through the all of the Christmas craziness with a minimal number of problems:
Christmas & Holiday Suggestions
- Put a note up on your storefront letting your clients know when the Christmas order deadline is. This can be done on your storefront homepage, on the event login page, on your event notes, through promotional emails, or even in all four of those areas.
- When you change the status of an order, be sure to check the “Email this Customer a Status Update” checkbox before saving the change. Putting a checkmark in that box will cause an email to be sent to your customers that will inform them of the new order status. Keeping your clients well informed of the status of their orders will go a long way in easing their worried minds, and it may even save you from the hassle of receiving panicked/frantic calls demanding to know where specific orders are.
- Create a new shipping option called “Christmas Delivery” or “Delivery by Christmas”. This option should be created in addition to your standard pricing options, and as Christmas grows closer you can increase the cost of this option to help cover any priority shipping fees that you may incur in sending out the orders.
- Quickly fulfill your orders! Even if you don't follow any of the other suggestions that we are offering, follow this one. Quickly fulfilling your orders is always very important, but during this time of year it is even more so. Waiting a few weeks to send out your orders might be convenient for you, but it will make your clients very nervous and will result in more fuss than is necessary.
- Once your deadline for Christmas delivery has passed, change all of your notes (from our first suggestion) to let everyone know that it is too late to expect the orders before Christmas. Also remove the new “Christmas Delivery” shipping option.
- Include insurance and signature/delivery confirmation on your packages. This might cost you a little extra when you are sending out your orders, but it will also save you from a big headache if problems should happen to arise.
You may not have noticed a lot of changes on the site since October, but I promise that we haven't been sitting on our hands over here. Here's some of what's been going on:
- Print Details Page Launch - As announced in our previous newsletter, the new print details page has now been officially launched. The launch went very smoothly, and people seem to be extremely comfortable with the new page layout. Thank you for all of the suggestions that were given throughout the redesign process!
- New Customized Email Settings - In the past, all of the emails that were sent to your clients could be modified, with the exception of the order status emails. When you selected a new order status and chose to have your client notified of the change, they received a fairly generic email telling them that the status had been updated. But this has now been changed... you can now modify and customize your order status emails just like you can with all of the other emails coming from our system. To modify the content of these emails, go into the “preferences” page within the “Setup” tab and find the “Event Email Templates” preference. All of the email templates can now be modified from this single location, and the dynamic content options have been made clearer.
- Instant Download Count - When a person purchases a print set that is setup as an “Instant Image Download”, they are given a specific number of download attempts, and a specific number of days in which they can download the image. Some of you have been curious to know whether or not an image has been downloaded, so we have added that information to the order details screen. When you are viewing the details of an order that contains one or more instant downloads, you will now see a column labeled “# Downloads”, and in that column you will see how many times the image has been downloaded.
- Color Selection on Favorites - A few years ago there was only a single option for adding an image to your favorites; either you added it to your favorites, or you did not. A little while after we added favorites to our system, we started to receive requests to allow people to also select coloring options (original, sepia, and b&w) to go along with their favorites, and so we added that in. Now it seems that the thoughts on this have come full circle, and some photographers have started to request that the coloring options be disabled. In order to satisfy the largest portion of people as possible, the coloring options on the favorites are now optional. If you would rather not allow your customers to choose coloring options to go along with their favorites, you can disable that option by deselecting the “Select Color Type With Favorites” checkbox within the “preferences” page.
- Twitter Added to Social Bookmarks Banner - Twitter has undoubtedly become a social networking giant this year, and in order to take advantage of this popular social medium, we have added a twitter link to the social bookmarks banner found on your storefronts. Through this new option, your clients can quickly post a link to their events on twitter, and your viewing audience can be dramatically increased.
- Longer Support Hours - Our support hours are currently 8AM to 4PM (MST), Monday through Friday, and we realize that for some of you, those hours aren't quite enough. In order to better fit your needs, starting December 15th we will have support available for an additional 2.5 hours, and the new hours will be 8AM to 6:30PM (MST).
Although the finished product is at least a couple of months out, this is something that we are fairly excited about, and we would like to share some of the details about it with you. Over the last couple of months we have been designing an iPhone application that will allow you to easily keep up on your orders while on the go. Here are some of the tentative screens showing our current progress (click for larger version):
We expect the application to be ready sometime in the first quarter of 2010.
And that's it for us! Thank you for all of your continued support and suggestions. We hope you all have a very happy and successful holiday season!
If you have any questions about anything from this newsletter, please feel free to email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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