Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Your Home On The Web, Part 2
If you're interested in getting into e-commerce through your website, there are some good services to check out
In part one of this article (Digital Photo Pro, March/April 2006), we looked at a number of options for creating an online presence for the busy pro photographer. Just being online is enough for many, but more and more pros are discovering that the web is a great way to market their work and generate revenue with online sales. In part two, we take a look at what's involved with setting up an Internet storefront and selling your work online.
Depending on your needs and current type of work, you may already have some of the tools that you need for online sales. The foremost item is a method to take payment from customers. Studios typically have credit card-processing capabilities, but check with your merchant services contact to verify that mail-order and online sales are allowed.
If you don't have a business account, or your account doesn't offer the option to accept online credit card sales, all is not lost. You can go with services like PayPal (www.paypal.com) and VeriSign (www.verisign.com) to process credit card payments. Both services allow customers to use credit cards, e-check or direct transfer for a fee that's usually as low as anything you'll get with your own merchant account, and offer the convenience of integrating with most online shopping cart options available through hosting services covered here.
Website design for photographers interested in sales is often very different than what you'd plan for showcasing photos, and sales needs are very different for the stock photographer than they would be for the studio or wedding photographer. In both cases, you need easy navigation to images and a way to add images to a shopping cart for purchase. The studio or wedding photographer most likely wants to have private galleries that are accessible to only the appropriate customers. Stock photographers want to include search features to allow customers to find categories of images that meet their needs. What follows is a listing of some of the best services I've found for online photo sales.