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There’s a lot to consider when choosing gallery wall design and print sales software for your photography business, so much so that many photographers “don’t even know what they don’t know”. So we’ve broken this guide down into 4 main sections to help you ask the right questions when comparing various photography print sales tools:
- Supported Features
- Supported Platforms
- Training & Education
Gallery Wall Design Features
Let’s start with the artsy-fartsy fun stuff – the wall gallery design features!
One of the first questions you’ll want to ask yourself when comparing photography print sales tools is what kinds of products you need your software to support. Do you offer only framed prints, or do you need support for wrapped canvases, circular prints and other wall art products?
Make a list of the products you’d like to sell with your chosen gallery design software and make sure those products are supported.
Some things to consider would be:
- Wrapped Canvases – does the design software account for the wrap when displaying artwork?
- Solid-Color Sided Canvases – does the software allow you to show the full image on the face of the canvas and fill the sides with a solid color?
- Framed Prints – can you modify the frame dimensions? Is there support for matted framed prints?
- Circular Prints – can you display circular prints in the gallery design software?
- Metals, Acrylics, Woods, Standouts (basically, anything not wrapped or framed)
Similar to the previous section on product types, make sure the software you’re considering supports the product sizes you’d like to offer, paying particular attention to whether or not all sizes are included in the pricing package you’re considering.
The reason wall gallery design software is so powerful is because it helps your clients visualize their photos on their own wall – no more guessing or holding up samples and asking them to imagine “what this could look like” on the wall. So… we need some wall photos to pull this off, right?
Things to consider when it comes to wall or room photos:
- Can you upload your clients’ own room photos into the software so they can see their photos in the context of their own home?
- If you can upload their room photos, can those photos be easily calibrated so that the software is displaying the artwork on the wall at the correct size?
- Finally, if you don’t have a room photo from your client, are there pre-calibrated images included in your gallery wall design software (or available to purchase) that you can use as a fallback option?
Templates & Layouts
Ok… what’s next? How about whether or not it’s easy to create, save and manage the various wall gallery layouts or templates you want to offer?
Look for features like:
- The ability to save a design you love to use over and over again.
- The ability to mark a gallery design as a “favorite” so you can access it quickly during a sales meeting.
- The ability to easily create new templates or layouts (bonus points if you can duplicate existing layouts to use as a starting point for a new layout, rather than having to start from scratch each time).
- The ability to easily mix different types of products in a single gallery design.
Sharing & Export Options
You’ve designed a wall art masterpiece – now what?
You may want to share that design on social media or post it to your website or blog so you can attract more clients who want the wall art you create.
If this is important to you, make sure your gallery design software makes it easy to share or export your gallery wall designs.
Photography Print Sales Features
While it’s great to have a tool that can show your clients their photos at printed products, the real end goal is to actually generate some photography print sales, right? This section covers the sales tool features you should consider as you look at the different print sales software options available to you.
Integrated Print Sales Workflow
If you plan to do virtual or traditional In-Person Sales, you’ll want something that can handle the full sales meeting workflow. Look beyond whether you can take a payment through the software and, instead, into whether or not your chosen photography print sales tool will help you throughout the entire sales meeting. Below are a few features you should look for if you intend to use your design tool as a print sales tool, as well.
Pretty simple one here… can you show your clients their final images as a slideshow? Even if it’s not built into your sales tool itself, check to see if you can embed 3rd party slideshows.
For example, Swift Galleries has a very simple built-in slideshow feature, but also allows you to embed slideshows from services like SmartSlides, Animoto or Lightroom.
Culling and Comparing Images
One of the easiest ways to kill a sale is to overwhelm your clients with too many choices. This is why your sales tool should give you a way to filter out a clients’ favorite images from their not-so-favorites.
Culling features are a must-have if you want to use your gallery design tool to also sell, so don’t skip this one if this is important to you!
Non-Wall Art Sales
You probably want to sell more than just wall art, right? If so, be sure the photography print sales tool you’re considering also supports non-wall art products like albums, books, accessories and gift prints. This will allow you to keep the entire order within one sales tool, dramatically simplifying your workflow and organization.
The most effective way to get great print sales is to strike when the iron is hot, meaning get the sale right then and there, while your client is excited about what you’ve just shown them.
An integrated checkout flow will go a long (looooooong) way to helping you get that sale and wrap up the sales meeting in a way that leaves everyone excited and happy to move forward.
Even if your chosen tool doesn’t support credit card processing, you should at least have the option to:
- Manually place an order (where you’re accepting payment outside of the software through something like Square, PayPal or Venmo, then marking the order as paid in your software), or
- Save an order so you know exactly what the client wanted by the end of the meeting and can refer back to it when fulfilling your clients’ order.
One final thing to consider when it comes to sales features is whether or not your chosen tool will fulfill your order with your lab(s) for you (aka “direct fulfillment”). There are pros and cons to direct fulfillment:
- It’s definitely easier, since you click a button and the order is sent to the lab automatically.
- The chance of making a mistake in fulfilling an order is lower, assuming the integration with the lab is set up correctly
- You lose some control over the order process where you can’t do things like add order notes or request specific quality control measures (i.e. – “make sure the clients’ head doesn’t wrap around the edge before sending it to print, thanks!”).
- You don’t have the ability to do final edits on your images before sending them to print. This is a big one since you should really only be doing final edits on images that are ordered.
- The tool you choose has to actually have an integration with your labs of choice to be able to use the direct fulfillment options.
What the heck is platform support? Basically, “how much flexibility do I have when it comes to the different devices and operating systems my print sales software runs on?”. Let’s dive in…
If you work solely on a single computer, then you probably don’t need to worry about this.
However, if you’d like the flexibility of switching from a desktop or laptop for designing and a tablet for selling on-the-go, then the ability to use your photography print sales software across multiple devices or across different operating systems like Android, MacOS, iOS and Windows should be a major factor in deciding which tool is best for your business.
Tablets have changed the game when it comes to selling your work as wall art, leveling the playing field by literally bringing the power of a sales room to your fingertips. If you want to be able to sell on-the-go or you do most of your sales in your clients’ homes, then you should seriously consider a sales tool that has support for tablets.
Worried that a tablet is too small to provide that “wow” factor you need during a sales meeting? Many Swift Galleries members will connect their iPad or Android tablet to their clients’ TVs via HDMI, essentially using the tablet as an incredibly portable (and powerful) computer from which to run their sales meetings.
Planning to use your software across multiple devices or operating systems? One thing you’ll definitely want to look into is whether or not your software requires additional licenses to be used on more that one device or, worse yet, multiple versions of the software (ex: one version for your Mac and another for your iPad).
These additional license fees can add up quickly (especially if your software developer charges for updates on each platform), so don’t dismiss this if flexibility to work across devices is important to you!
Last note on software options that require additional licenses – be sure you can easily sync your data between all of those devices! Being able to work across multiple devices is no use to you if you forget to run the “sync” between your devices. Look for options that automatically sync or are always sync’d.
Installation & Updates
Speaking of updates – if you’re not particularly tech savvy (or just hate having to keep your software up-to-date with the latest patches, upgrades and bug fixes… looking at you, WordPress…), then consider a web-based piece of software that pushes out updates automatically.
Other benefits of web-based software?
- You don’t ever have to worry about hard drive space
- All updates are typically included in your price
- Bug fixes are usually pushed out faster than in “native” software that you have to download and install.
- You’ll need an internet connection to use the software. This is usually solved with a mobile hotspot or simply jumping on your clients’ network, but it’s something to consider if you are unsure of your internet availability.
- You’ll want to keep an eye out for training or emails about any upcoming updates, since those updates will be automatically released and in place when you log into the software.
No credit card. No commitments. (No, really).
Training & Education
Tell me if you’ve heard this one…
“Man… your photos are great! You must have a really nice camera!”
Yeah, we’ve all talked to “that guy”. It’s annoying, right?
Well guess what? Your photography print sales software is no different. Just like your camera, your sales tool is only as good as the skills you have in using it.
Don’t know how to use your camera? Crap photos will come out of it.
Don’t know how to use your design and sales software? Your sales will be nowhere near where they could (and should) be.
So while this section may seem a little out of place in a discussion of sales and design tools, it’s actually vital. So let’s dive in here…
Software Setup & Onboarding
This one’s probably obvious, but we’ll say it anyway – does your sales tool have the support and resources you need to just learn how to use the thing?
Some stuff to consider:
- Are there self-service options for learning how to get up and running with the software?
- If you do need help, how easy is it to get support from staff? Are there tiers for support based on the price you’re paying? Is 1-on-1 help available if you need it (and will it cost you)?
- How hard is it to set up the software? Does it require any technical knowledge or unfamiliar steps for integrations?
- Are there technical requirements for the software to run on your system?
- How easy is it to get your products into the software?
- How much time will it take before you can actually start using the software with a client?
- Once you’re set up, how easy is the software to use on a day-to-day basis?
- Does the software have all the features you need? Does it have far more than you need, making it unnecessarily complex?
Ok, listen up because this is important…
The deep, dark secret all of the “silver bullet/one-click-fix/turnkey solution” software people don’t want you to know?
It’s not the tool that does the selling. It’s the process. The tool is there to support your process.
If the design and sales tool you’re considering doesn’t offer any sales training, run away. Quickly.
There is no silver bullet.
There is no magic software.
Grab the software that works best for you, then learn how to use that software in the context of a proven sales process.
Be honest… you skimmed everything else and jumped down to this section first, didn’t you? Totally understandable.
While a great photography print sales tool (and the right processes surrounding that tool… see above if you skimmed) will make you far more money than you invest into it, pricing is still a major consideration when choosing the right tool for you and your business.
Let’s dig into what you should look at with regard to pricing…
Pretty simple one here – does the photography print sales tool you’re considering offer a free trial so you can kick the tires a bit before you decide? Some things you may not have thought to consider…
- How long is that trial? Is that enough for you to see the potential for the software?
- Does the trial require a credit card to use? Will they automatically start a paid membership if you forget to cancel?
- Does the trial give you access to all of the features, or is it a watered-down version of the full paid version?
There are a few different things to consider here…
- Is it a one-time payment, or an ongoing membership?
- If it’s one-time, does that include access to support and bug fixes or updates?
- Do you have the option to pay with something like PayPal, or are you limited to only using a credit card?
- For ongoing memberships – are there flexible payment options like being able to pay monthly? Or saving some money if you pay up-front for a year’s worth of access?
- What is their cancellation policy? Is it easy to cancel? Do they refund a pro-rated amount if it’s an ongoing subscription?
- Do they offer a guarantee of any sort? How easy or hard is it to take advantage of that guarantee?
Another thing to consider when it comes to pricing for the photography print sales or design software you’re looking at is how they structure their pricing.
- Do they have multiple pricing tiers where you have to pay more to get more features?
- Are there features you need that require an add-on purchase (like room photos)?
- How complex is their pricing structure? Is it easy to understand how much you’ll be charged up front and how much you may have to pay later?
- Is it easy to upgrade or downgrade to a higher or lower pricing tier?
- If there are features you don’t need, is it possible to exclude those for a lower rate?
We mentioned this in one of the sections above, but it’s absolutely worth mentioning here…
If you want to use your software across multiple devices or operating systems, are you required to purchase additional licenses to get that software to work?
(Bonus question: is it easy to sync data between those devices or does that require additional plugins, some fancy footwork and maybe a few short prayers or “Hail Mary’s”?).
Upgrades & Updates
This is a big one to consider when you’re looking at the pricing options for the photography print sales tools you’re considering…
- Are upgrades and updates included in the price you’ll pay, or will you have to pay more every time they push out an update?
- How often do they update? And how many of those updates are included for free (if any)?
- Do they continue to support “legacy” versions of the software after they’ve pushed out new updates, for those who choose not to upgrade to the newest versions?
As you can see, there’s quite a bit involved when it comes to choosing the right photography print sales and gallery design tool for your photography business!
Hopefully this guide gave you some more things to consider and helps you navigate all of the options that are available to you out there.
If you have any questions or need anything clarified, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or reach out to us! We’re happy to help!
No credit card. No commitments. (No, really).