How Your Non-Printer Business Can Develop Photo Products

June 7, 2017
Wedding pictures

Customisable products are a fantastic way to expand your business. Here, we explore how your company can introduce photo products to your audience in 4 quick and easy steps!

These days, a personalized gift says a lot, which is why they are increasingly more popular with women shoppers.

A survey by ecommerce club found that over 60 per cent of women choose customised gifts, compared to around 43 per cent of men. So, if you’re running a business that caters to women (the study also found those between 35-44 years of age are the most likely to purchase), why not expand your business?

60 per cent of women choose customised gifts

It’s quite easy to set-up your business to include customisable photo products. Even if you’re a non-printing company, this isn’t a problem, as there are editor programs and partner solutions that work very well.

There are no overhead costs, either, as custom products are made on an on-order basis and the entire process can be setup within days.

Just follow our 4 step program and, in no time at all, you’ll be offering your customers the chance to design personal photo books, calendars and more!

Step 1: Choosing What To Sell

When you look into it, you’ll find you have options to sell a wide range of products, from photobooks to custom t-shirts and mugs. However, it’s best to stick to the most popular items that will compliment your business:

1. Photobooks
2. Calendars
3. Canvas products

Photobooks are a must – they’re one of the most popular items available. In Western Europe, over 24 million photobooks were sold according to the Futuresource Consulting, with an estimated 24.9 million sold the following year. Over 93% of those transactions were made online! Some experts suggest there will be 53 million units of photobooks sold, in the United States, by 2019. In short: it’s a growing market.

Some experts suggest, there will be 53 million units of photobooks, in the United States, by 2019

Calendars are also very popular, however, they are very seasonal in nature. They sell the most during the New Year, in both January and December. Photo books remain popular for the most of the year.

These are the most popular options, but don’t be afraid to try new things later down the line. If your customers would appreciate mugs, stationary or t-shirts, you can use these steps to add them to your range.

Step 2: Finding A Specialized Software Provider

Once you know what to sell, you need to make it available. To start with, you will need an online store and a product editor. There are three ways to go:

Option 1
Doing the hard work, building everything from scratch on your own or outsourcing to freelance developers.

Option 2
Combining existing tools and frameworks, such as ecommerce platforms and web-to-print plugins.

Option 3
Choosing a specialized printing software company to partner with, letting them set up an online store, product editor and provide all the required support.

Unless you’re a coding and web design guru, it’s best not to do it yourself. The first two options require a lot of work, since you need to meet the very high standards that online editors and ecommerce stores require nowadays (and, believe me, users’ expectations are extremely high). Get it wrong and you’ll only ensure the displeasure of your customers.

It’s best not to do it yourself (…), since you need to meet the very high standards that online editors and ecommerce stores require nowadays

The third option is much simpler and can streamline the entire process.

Finding a specialized software provider is definitely the way to go, as it’s the least time-consuming and most cost-effective. Now you only need a printing partner who will take care of the processing of incoming orders. We’ll explore this in more detail over the next step.

Step 3: Finding A Printing Partner

Ok, so you have the right software partner. Now, you need hardware. Unfortunately, you’re not a print-based business, so it’s highly unlikely that you have high quality, industrial grade printers ready to go.

The solution, then, is to find a printing partner. These companies will take all the hard work out of the equation, printing products as customers demand them.

A printing partner (…) will take all the hard work out of the equation, printing products as customers demand them

When it comes to finding the right partner, once again, you have at least three options:

Option 1
Look online and contact local or leading printing businesses in your region.

Option 2
If you’re using a printing software provider already, they may recommend a printing company that works with them already.

Option 3
Use modern cloud printing services to access a network of different printers: when a customer makes a request, someone within this hub will carry out the order.

As you can see, none of them require you to invest in printing machinery or supplies. Just choose an ideal printing partner and let them take care of it.

Step 4: Getting The Word Out

Now you’ve got some great new products, you need to let people know! There are plenty of ways you can do this:

1. In-store posters and leaflets (old-school but can work pretty well!)
2. Search engines marketing – organic and paid
3. E-mailing your existing customer base
4. Social media

Remember how we said that 60 per cent of women choose gifts they can customise? This means you’re existing female customers would love to know – so tell them!

E-mails and posters are a great way to notify your current customers, but you should also attract newer people. Remarket your company on social media and search engines with small advert campaigns.

Sometimes even a small marketing budget can bring you some new customers!

Sometimes even a small marketing budget can bring you some new customers! We will cover it in another post!

When people do reach your website, use banners or pop-ups to advertise the new range. People need to see it’s available before they’re able to buy it!

What’s next?

After this, you just need to wait! With a good system and reliable partners, your orders will be completed automatically and your customers will be very happy!

From a business perspective, it will take up to 9-12 months before you can get some reliable figures. Remember that some products, such as calendars and custom cards, are seasonal in nature.

Since photo products do especially well near the end of the year, it’s better to get your online presence ready for the summer

Since photo products do especially well near the end of the year, it’s better to get your online presence ready for the summer. This gives you time to install the editor, test the system and do a print run to ensure the level of quality meets your standards.

Once you’re happy with all this, get ready to unleash it and let your customers customise products to their heart’s content!

Reader. Writer. Communicator. PR & Marketing Specialist at Printbox. Learning from only the best and writing killer copy.