SmugMug’s updated pricing management

August 17, 2012 in Photography by Turlach

Some months ago SmugMug rolled out their new pricing management tool It was by all measures a giant improvement, One’s ability to create schemes and mange them is much nicer and easier. But does it hit the home run? Nah, it is missing some pieces that could help it go from good to great! Some of them are very simple, others would take a lot more work.

 

First, what good. The new interface is much more streamlines and takes good advantage of ajax for updating just what you need allowing quick views of settings, and duplicating a price list. It also simplifies currency, lab, and gallery selections. Set base minimum profit margin and round up price, all from the same screen. You can also now set prices in different currencies and select a lab in Europe. Sounds great, it is but it could be better and a couple things that escape me.

 

Starting off with what escaped me. When assigning No select all product groups with a click of a button. Lets face it there are a lot of products available from which ever of the 3 labs you select. Precisely why a select all products button would be a great feature.  I found myself annoyed going through the list and selecting a most of  the products. Selecting all and deselecting would have been less work.

 

This screen shot shows the product line, and there is more if you scroll down. A select all button would be a great addition. though as you can see form this screen shot you can select all the products with in a product category.

 

 

 

Since I have written previously about smart galleries and virtual images I was curious how it handled pricing for virtual images in smart galleries. I created a price list and set it to one of the smart galleries. I already had a price list assigned to the master gallery and compared the prices for the virtual image from the smart gallery and the original image. What I found is that the price set for the original image carries over to the virtual image and you are not able to set it separately.

 

What would the use case be for pricing the sane image differently in a smart gallery vs the original? I thought of a case where one is testing pricing schemes. Will people pay more for a print from a fine art gallery vs a gallery of photographs of flowers? It is a way to tweak profit margins. I didn’t really expect to be able to set different prices but figured I would try. This kind of feature isn’t likely an easy addition so I’m not holding my breath.

 

For the way I have structured my site I have a single big gallery of my photographs going back in time. I then make smart galleries based on keywords. That way it is nice and easy to cross populate galleries and categories with virtual images and have just 1 file uploaded. It also auto updates. So perhaps a great way to auto select images for a price list might be by keyword.

 

On to next feature I would love to see, the ability to assign 2 price list to the same image. Why would you do this, to offer 2 or more different labs to your customer. This could be for global sales as well as the option to pay a bit more for “the better” lab and get a premium print (not making any assertions one lab is better than another).

 

Such a feature would of course require the ability to offer that choice to the customer. Or the ability to offer purchases in various currencies could also done. Offering the default option target to the country where the customer is.

 

All of these features would require the concept of price list precedence. In what conditions does which price list apply. This can be confusing at times to figure out how to best educate the user to setup. Or to come up with some very clever defaults. It would be something that would be a lot of work to implement.  I also do realize this is from my perspective and how I’ve gone about setting up my site. If I were a wedding photographer I would imagine I would have a very different structure for a setup and pricing.

 

While outside of the scope of pricing tool there are a couple feature I would love to see that are related to products, labs, pricing and payment.

 

The first of these two thoughts is that I would love to have the ability to sell a book or calendar of photographs would be great. If I could offer a calendar or a coffee table book of a gallery of photos that would be awesome.

 

The other feature I would love to see even if it would be a total stretch. The ability to donate proceeds of specific images to a charity. Say you shoot an event that is for a charity and you want to donate any profits from sales of photographs to that charity, having that ability would be really awesome. Though probably a bit of a headache to figure out how to do.

 

* disclosure, screen shots are copyright of smugmug. Hope I haven’t upset anyone by including them.