The dos and don’ts of a thriving photo books business

Christoph Clermont

By selling themed photo books with beautiful designs you will exploit a highly lucrative niche within the vast photo books market. The key to success is a great customer experience. Here are a couple of tricks: Avoid the use of separate software, make sure users don’t have to wait and let shoppers focus on the designs instead of fumbling around with their photos. Find out more about what makes ordering photo books a real pleasure and try out our outstanding samples.

Photo books make up for an enormous billion-dollar market which is also very concentrated. Companies such as Shutterfly, Cimpress or CeWe Color are making revenues of several hundreds of millions of dollars per year. At the same time, there are hundreds of run-of-the-mill businesses with no particularly outstanding offerings. This fact paves the way for very interesting business models for newcomers.

Focus on refined designs

You don´t have to play with the big boys as there are quite a number of very lucrative niche markets within the photo gifts segment. One of them are themed photo books.

By selling themed photo books you will profit from a broad range of recurring sales opportunities including books for weddings and anniversaries, for family celebrations, holidays, school or sports events. All these applications have one thing in common: They require a lot of design!

To make themed photo books attractive for customers photos should always become part of a story. Instead of throwing together a couple of holiday pictures shoppers could create, for example, their very own holiday diary by choosing a design theme of the landscape they travelled to.

The smooth handling of sophisticated layouts becomes even more crucial when you are set to exploit another highly interesting market segment. Photo books with themes that are licensed from brands such as Disney or Marvel offer great sales potential. At the same time, they require special attention to design consistency. Brands demand that their unique fonts and design styles will be maintained at every step. Consequentially, it´s worth checking if a solution you pick for your photo book business is able the meet these requirements.

Baby photo book

See how easy shoppers will create impressive photo collages by cutting photos, enlarging or shrinking them within a grid. In addition, you can try out how color themes and different photo arrangements for each page are handled.
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A trouble-free experience is key with consumers

Offering a wide range of sophisticated photo effects to perfectly integrate pictures in layouts is one of the basics of a good photo book solution. Yet there is another equally important point. You will have to make sure that shoppers can handle their designs as simply and conveniently as possible.

There are a couple of issues that commonly occur when customers create photo books and which can lead to a loss of customers and increased workload for your customer service:

> Avoid the use of separate software

Many vendors force their customers to download special software to configure their photo books. There are a number of good reasons to avoid this model. Users will get into trouble more frequently which means more work for your customer service. It works only on one device. And what´s especially inconvenient: it does not work on mobile devices which are already used for more than 60% of personalized gifts purchases.

> Don´t let customers lose their work

This is one of the small but effective ways to increase customer satisfaction. Usually customers spend quite a lot of time to compile their photo books. Losing their work half way through the process is among the safest ways to make them unhappy. So better use a solution that allows for the saving of layouts during the configuration process.

> Don´t let shoppers wait

When choosing a system, make sure you pick a fast one. Speed is essential for any solution and a crucial part of its usability. In contrast to professional users, private shoppers are even more impatient. Making customers wait at many steps of the process will diminish the shopping experience and can easily lead to many unfinished purchases.

> Don´t distract your users

Don’t let shoppers fumble around with images and let them focus on the designs instead. One way to achieve this is the automated distribution of uploaded images. All photos will appear in the book right away and the customer immediately sees a great initial result. In addition, an automatic upload of all photos at once will save users time and effort.

Why are issues like these so often ignored when it comes to photo books?

Many of the solutions that are used by vendors of photo books were originally developed for B2B applications. Because of this fact most of them are limited in terms of design possibilities and are often lacking ease-of-use. A typical B2B solution to order printed materials is designed with a focus on simple layouts without much freedom for the user to change designs. It is used mostly on desktop computers, and by few users at the same time. In this environment, usability and an attractive experience is not too important, as users place orders as part of their daily job routines.

All this is entirely different when it comes to private shoppers looking for a unique gift! To avoid scaring off shoppers with slow and clumsy processes and tap into the potential of outstanding designs, a solution that´s made for B2C is a must.

Wedding photo book

This sample of a themed photo book for weddings lets customers upload multiple photos at once, choose between a variety of basic layouts and individually add decorative elements and text to their designs.
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“Lost Photo” story book

Get ready for a “wow” effect. In this fantastic example a name and a photo become integral parts of an entire book’s story. Flip through the pages to explore a multitude of stunning effects using the original photo within the drawn layout.
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Vacation photo book

With exciting photo effects themed around holidays at the beach, this sample shows what´s possible beyond family themes. Check out one particular feature and see how shoppers can arrange pages by moving them back and forth in the book.
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Learn more, get in touch. Find out more about Printess - your solution for design, publishing, configuration and production of personalized gifts. Call us at +49 337 66 469 886, send an e-mail, or register for our free trial right away.

Samples included: The sample templates you find on this page are also part of the Printess license. You may use them as a simple basis to develop your own products, or as an inspiration for your designers.