Upload & Sell: Off
Paul A wrote:
I don't understand why I'd want to print on-site when my lab is offering $0.78/sheet and the quality is a lot better."
And all the reasons Lee pointed out...
Because we are an instant gratification nation. I am guessing it increases sales enough to justify it.
Amazon, Ebay, Newegg, B&H Photo, Adorama, Buy, etc... all mail order companies. They have gone beyond catalog sales to online. Except for downloadable music and programs there is no physical product that is instantly delivered. Yet they all succeed...hmmm
And even Walmart, Target, Costco, etc... have online stores - WHY?!? Cost savings. They can ship from their regional centers or even one big warehouse, but there is way less staff and all the associated costs of many stores (mortgage, electricity, insurance, etc....)
I agree that we live in a world of 30 second lunches, ATMs and convenience stores, but the instant gratification of our society is PERCEPTION of having it right away - expecially for photos. Having an onsite SALES presences is critical IMO - but delivery does not need to be immediate.
Unless a show is large enough to offset mailing costs, all of my printing is done back at the office. I've had maybe 1 sale per year lost to not printing onsite - but I save about $1000 at each show without the staff, hotel, meals, travel, additional setup, maintenance, supplies, teardown. Even when I move to Memphis for the month of July, I bring all my printing - because we are physically here for a month. Being busy and shooting during the day, all sales are printed/burned at night - then picked up the next day - but usually mailed because the team is leaving. There has yet to be an issue of not getting it in their hands right away.
As most people know - I used to print onsite. Been there done that. There is more control, better results and LOWER costs with NO IMPACT in sales in the three markets (gymnastics, cheer and baseball) that I do is cities across the country.
I might say that when running 2-4 shows per weekend, it gets to be to much to manage. But the reality is I'm running a business - costs matter, profits matter. Printing onsite has not changed sales - rather it allows me to dedicate more time, space and gear to SELLING more. All the while, my costs are down.
So I agree that GETTING the sales onsite is key, 500% better than online only. But printing onsite is 0% better than not - in my experience (and most other established event photo companies too)
If we think that prints walking around the venue is our marketing vehicle - think about it. I sell a print to Tommy's Mom. She really knows how many other people on her team really well: 2-3? IF they aren't going home or leaving right away (which most do) then 1-2 of those friends may come look at photos - but the isolation is certainly within the team. The snowball effect will never take place due to time, # of stations and team isolation.
EFFECTIVE marketing is a broadcast to ALL competitor and parents. Companies don't put billboards in isolated residential areas where they can talk among themselves. Billboards are on the main traffic avenues where they have the most impact on the most number of people.
I also understand trying to be that ALL-n-ONE service provider - that's how I started off. But in the end it all comes down to time or money. Printing onsite takes more time (pack, setup, deal with customers, maintain, teardown) and more money. If we have a day job that doesn't allow us to afford the time to print after the event - then ask yourself what the end game is? Grow the business to be full time - multiple shows per weekend - printing at each one of them? Or is it just a hobby to kill the time - because then there is no worries about the justification of spending money - that's what hobbies are all about.
I'm NOT knocking anybody's choice or perogative to print onsite - just expressing my opinion based on my experience.