'Tis the Season to be Jolly!
Are you going crazy trying to fulfill all of your orders and trying to fit in all of those last-minute family sessions? To get us started in this month's newsletter, here are a few tips and pointers to help you make it through all of the Christmas craziness with as little stress and headaches as possible:
Christmas & Holiday Suggestions
- Put a note up on your storefront, facebook page, blog, and anywhere else that your clients may visit, to let them know when your Christmas order deadlines are. On your Instaproofs storefront, the note can be added to the event login page, to your event notes, on promotional emails, on your order receipts, or in any combination of these different areas.
- Be realistic in your order deadlines. Setting an unrealistic deadline (one that doesn't give you any wiggle-room for problems that may arise during printing & shipping) can cause more stress than almost anything else with your last-minute holiday orders. We suggest giving yourself a day or two more than you might otherwise need in a perfect world.
- 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 that you created.
- Include insurance and signature/delivery confirmation on ALL of your packages. This might cost you a little extra, but it will also save you from big headaches if problems should happen to arise.
- If you have a high-resolution subscription and don't want to bother with the hassle of the post office, consider using our fulfillment services. Orders are shipped the next business day, and all orders automatically receive tracking numbers when they are shipped. Our fulfillment deadlines can be found here: Fulfillment Deadlines
- Put on a sale to encourage additional orders. There are quite a few people still on the fence as to what they would like to purchase for their loved ones for Christmas; give them a reason to select prints as their gift!
Christmas tips aren't all we've got for you on this newsletter! Here's a list of some of the items we've added and been working on since our last newsletter:
• New Administrative Site
• Custom Mobile Apps
• Full-event Downloads
• Automated Sale Reminders
• Natural Sort & Sort by Time Captured
• ProDPI Fulfillment
• Upcoming Discount Days
• Storefront Redesign - Sneak Peek
So, on to the details!
New Administrative SiteWe announced the redesign of our administrative site earlier this year, and we are happy to announce that the new site is finally ready! This is the first redesign of the admin site since 2005, so it was definitely needed. :)
One of the biggest benefits to the new design is that it is now much more mobile-friendly. We know that many of you use your tablets and phones to manage your account on the go, and the redesign should help considerably with that.
The new design will be turned on for everyone starting in the beginning of January, but if you would like to start using it now, you can do that by clicking the “New Administrative Site” link found at the bottom of every page on the existing site.
Custom Mobile AppsWith the release of the new administrative site, we are also releasing a new Mobile Apps feature! This new feature allows you to send your clients a link to a gallery containing up to 50 of their images, that has been created specifically for their mobile devices.
Installing the app results in one of your client's own images being used as the app's homescreen icon. They can share the apps with their friends, and post links to it on Facebook, twitter, etc. This is a simple and effective way to get your clients excited about showing off your work, which can result in a large number of organic referrals!
More details about this new functionality can be found, here: Mobile Apps FAQ
Full-event DownloadsAll high-resolution subscribers can now offer full-event instant downloads through a direct link on their storefront! With the introduction of this new ability, you will no longer need to list your full-event downloads as a product on your storefront.
To enable the full-event download functionality, head into the edit screen for your event(s) on the new administrative site, click the “CLICK TO VIEW ADVANCED EVENT SETTINGS” heading, and then scroll to the bottom of those settings. At the bottom of the advanced settings area is an item labeled “PERMISSION TO DOWNLOAD FULL EVENT”; put in your clients' email addresses, and when they log into the event the download link will automatically be displayed for them.
And for those of you that still want to offer the full-download option as a product, that option continues to be available for you as well.
Automated Sale RemindersFrom the very first day that we began offering discount and sale-creation abilities we also offered the ability to setup automated sale reminder emails for the “Discount Days” discounts. However, there has never been a way to send out automated emails for the “Date Range” or “Print Size” discounts. Until now, that is. :)
So, why is this useful? Because it's convenient to pre-plan the sales that you are going to be putting on each year without having to remember to manually send out the sale notification emails before each one starts.
To use the new functionality, head into the new administrative site and do the following:
- Create a couple of email templates (through the “Bulk Email” page within the “Events” tab) for your sale-notification and sale-ending emails.
- After you have created your templates, head into the “discounts” page within the “Setup” tab and click on any of your existing date-range/print size discounts. (Or create a new one.)
- On the details page for your discounts you will see two new options: (1) Send notification emails one day before the discount starts, and (2) Send notification emails one day before the discount ends. Clicking either of these options will cause a droplist containing a list of your email templates to display.
- Select the template(s) that you would like to send out for the sale, and click the “Update” button to save your changes.
Natural Sort & Sort by Time CapturedWhen images are uploaded to your events, the default sorting method is based on the image names. However, sometimes you may not have your images named sequentially, and manually re-arranging the images can be a little bit of a pain. In order to help alleviate this particular pain, we have two sorting options that can be applied to your images.
The first option is called “Natural Sort”, and although it is also used as a way to sort the images by name, they are sorted slightly differently than the default sort. The default sorting method sorts the images alphanumerically, meaning that all image numbers starting with a “1” would come before all numbers starting with a “2”. For example, “Jon_121.jpg” would come before “Jon_27.jpg” because the “1” in “127” comes before the “2” in “27.” To make this sort properly, you are generally asked to pad your numbers with zeros, which causes these two images to become “Jon_0121.jpg” and “Jon_0027.jpg”, respectively. The “natural sort” method does away with the padding step, and the image sequence is attempted to be determined as you (as a human) might naturally sort the images if you were sorting them yourself.
In addition to the natural sort option, we've also added an option to sort by “Time Captured.” This option can be especially helpful in situations where multiple cameras were used or where multiple shooters are present at an event and the image names don't correlate with one another. Although this sorting method may be convenient, it is not fool-proof and it may not work for all of your events or images. Since the “Time Captured” option is dependent on meta data found within your individual images, images without internally recorded “time captured” data cannot be properly sorted using this method. This means all digital files created from film negatives, and digital files created on older or specialized digital cameras may not be able to take advantage of this option.
To use either of these sorting options, head into the “Manage Photos” area for your event, and then into the “Manage Photos” area for any of the categories found within the event. At the top of the image list you will see a “Sort Images” droplist; simply select the method you would like to sort by from the droplist.
ProDPI FulfillmentAlthough many of you may already be aware of this, since the option was added after our last newsletter went out we'd like to officially announce our integration with ProDPI! ProDPI is a very high-quality professional printing lab based out of Colorado, that offers one-day turnaround times on most orders and has a proven track record of high-quality results. To learn more about ProDPI, please take a moment to visit their website, here: http://www.prodpi.com/.
By offering fulfillment options through both ProDPI and Richard Photo Lab, there really isn't a reason not to try our fulfillment services on your next order!
Upcoming Discount DaysWe genuinely appreciate your business! And to better say “thank you”, we will be significantly discounting our fees during the following days in December:
• December 25 » Have a Very Merry Christmas!
• December 29 - 31 » And a Happy New Year!
During these discounted days all of the orders placed through your storefront will have their fees reduced from our standard 15% to just 6%. Thank you for your business! :)
Storefront Redesign - Sneak PeekWe are continually receiving questions and inquiries about our upcoming storefront redesign, so we'd like to give you all a little bit of a progress update on that. Please view the video below for a sneak peek of our current progress:
Wrapping it Up
And that's it for us this time around! We'll keep working on many of the items you have requested, and we hope you all have a very happy and successful holiday season!
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