Photo books are arguably the kings of photo commerce. What customers feel before buying a photo book or what they go through when creating it may influence sales very much. Here are reasons why people do not buy photo books.
Customers often lack focus and concentration
Human attention span is deteriorating. In a Microsoft study published in 2015, it was estimated at 8 seconds, down from 12 seconds registered in 2000. The book The Distracted Mind aptly presents how modern devices negatively impact the ability of our already vulnerable brain to concentrate.
Creating a photo book can be a demanding project. The brain is overloaded with different types of actions: photo selection requires logical thinking and then there is the artistic process of making the book very attractive. There are many different distractions out there – both on the Internet as well as those present within photo book buyers’ surroundings. Every longer break gets the customer closer to abandoning the project.
The paradox of choice
More isn’t always better – as was proven in a famous study on selling jams. A pair of scientists set up a display table presenting jams in one of the food markets. On one day 6 types of jams were made available to customers, and on another one 24 were offered (the difference between days of the week is insignificant as both were regular days). The day when 6 types of jams were being sold posted significantly better sales results.
What do jams have in common with photo books? If people are given more choices at first they are usually happy, but soon after they may feel overwhelmed. There is a lot of decision-making required on the part of the customer when a photo book is created. Selecting the best photo from several takes of the same scene is not an easy task and it has to be repeated time and time again before the customer fills out all the spreads. Choosing parameters may also take its toll. The most creative part of personalizing a book can be described as just a series of microchoices.
Barry Schwartz in his book The Paradox of Choice writes that eliminating choices leads to less stress and anxiety and may prove beneficial for businesses.
Photo book creation is a lengthy and time-consuming endeavor
There is abundant evidence that time is one of the most valuable assets of our era. No one likes to waste time and since forever humans as a species would go to great lengths to eliminate activities that were time-consuming. People want to get from point A to point B as fast as possible and concentrate on pleasure and joy.
Online shopping is on a mission to reduce the number of clicks that need to be made before a product is bought. People may have difficulty choosing what to buy but after the decision is made, putting the item into the cart and paying for it is a matter of seconds.
This is harder to achieve with photo books as there is no product already waiting to be dispatched from the warehouse. It must be created by the buyer. As was shown earlier, for many people this isn’t an easy task. It is even harder for people with limited computer skills. Inevitably – the more time is needed for photo book creation, the bigger the chance that the customer won’t finish the project.
People don’t trust their artistic abilities
Creating a photo book may be intimidating. For many people, it is only one of the very few artistic projects they actively participate in during their lives. The vast majority of people do not believe in their creative talents. For anecdotal evidence, it is good to watch the beginning of this popular TED speech where Graham Shaw embarks on a mission to make people believe they can draw. When audience members are asked to raise their hand if they think they can draw, only one or two percent of people raise them.
Photo books are only indirectly connected to drawing, as much of the work is done for customers as they use ready-made elements. But for many people working on a photo book, it still requires some sort of artistic ability. According to AdAge, 75% of people think they are not living up to their creative potential. Many of them may be photo book buyers.
A few final thoughts
Thankfully, the reasons behind people not buying photo books which we listed here are not dealbreakers. To overcome most of them, you can invest in professional photobook software. There is something that can be done to eliminate these problems from the buying process. To see what that might be, please stay tuned!