Spring Kick Off

Can you hear that? It’s the sound of birds chirping, flowers blooming, and photographers setting up their tripods. As spring approaches, it’s time for you to gear up for the upcoming season. At Fotomerchant, we know preparation is key, so we’ve compiled a handy guide to help you make this season your best one yet. Let’s do this.

Prep for the New Season in Commerce

Whether you’re shaking things up or sticking to what has worked in the past, starting the season on the right foot is crucial. Create a new season in your account to keep your marketing, reports, and Portal organized. This simple step makes gathering data as pleasant as a spring breeze.

Increasing prices? Please make us aware. Communicating these changes is essential so we’re all on the same page. The same also goes for changes to your product offerings. Fresh offerings can add excitement and attract more sales, so if you plan on incorporating new products, let us know!

Start fresh. Duplicate your session template, adjusting settings as needed for the upcoming season. Don’t forget catalogs and packages—review and make necessary changes. Future you will thank you for these clearly defined, season-specific frameworks, making informed decisions for the following seasons straightforward.

Update Your Backgrounds

Spring is a time of renewal, and your background offerings should reflect that. Fotomerchant provides studios access to a diverse library of backgrounds suitable for any season. Take this opportunity to review and refresh your background options. Contact your customer success team to add a cost associated with new backgrounds.

Review Your Client List

Take advantage of the calm before the storm to review your client list in Commerce. Check for duplicates, ensuring accurate client information. If you are using Portal, remember that charges are per client, so eliminating duplicates can save you from sneaky added costs.

Stay Informed 

Our team is always working on new releases and improvements. Stay in the loop with webinars offering insight into upcoming features, releases, or features you may not be utilizing to their fullest potential. Check out our blogs for additional information, ideas, or customer stories because who knows what your workflow might be missing?

Lock In Your Marketing Plan

Do your future self a favor and ensure your marketing plan is in place. Take advantage of our data-informed approach to marketing to make your next season better and faster than ever. Learn more about that in this blog here.

With the right preparation and our support, this season is bound to be a blooming success. Keep an eye out for upcoming webinars we’ve got coming your way. As you prep for spring, keep up to date with ways you can further streamline your workflow. We’ve got your back; let’s make this season unforgettable together.

Reach out to get started with us or learn more.

Abandoned Cart Makeover

Unlock the Power of Abandoned Carts

Who doesn’t love a good makeover? Today, we’ve got a behind-the-scenes look at the glow-up we’ve given to our abandoned cart campaigns. In this blog, we will reveal why abandoned carts are a big deal. We’ll highlight the juicy customer data that fueled our decisions and the changes we’ve made to amp up your customer’s shopping journey and ultimately lead to more conversions. 

The Revenue Boost You Didn’t See Coming

We took a deep dive into our customers’ email marketing performance this year, and what caught our attention were those abandoned carts – baskets of potential revenue left stranded in the digital aisles. We saw an opportunity to turn things around and decided to make data-backed changes that could bring these abandoned carts back to life.

Abandoned carts aren’t just missed transactions; they are a goldmine of insights into your shopping habits. Want to learn more about what an Abandoned cart email campaign is? Lucky you, we’ve got a whole blog on the topic. Click here to view.

The Mission

Our mission became clear: to optimize our abandoned cart campaigns based on real data. We believed that if we could align our studio’s campaigns with industry standards for design and workflow, we could not only recover lost revenue but create a shopping experience that truly resonates with your customers.

We’ve now also instated split testing into our abandoned cart rollout. Things change so it’s important to have a dynamic response to customer shopping behavior. With this in mind, we’ll constantly be theorizing, testing, and improving the abandoned cart emails.

The Data Is In

We compared customer conversion data between August 1st, 2022 – October 15th, 2022, and August 1st, 2023 – October 15th, 2023. Looking at the same period year over year ensured we took into account the seasonal nature of the industry. So what did we find? Our updates to the campaigns worked! For 2022, the average viewed conversion rate from opening an abandoned cart email was 21%; in 2023, this rose to 24%. 

What do we mean by conversion rate? For the data outlined in this blog, we looked at customers who received the abandoned cart email and made a purchase shortly after. 

This data took into account a range of different studios that use Fotomerchant. With the demographics of the studio customer base undeniably impacting the data, some studios saw more of a change than others. For example, one of our studios saw a 9.11% increase in abandoned cart conversions between 2022 (14.19%) and 2023 (23.30%). Whereas another studio in a different part of the country only saw a 2% increase in conversion from the updated campaign. Progress is still progress! As we continue to track and update these campaigns, we’re interested in digging deeper into the demographic influence on abandoned cart email conversions. 

The Data-Driven Evolution

What exactly have we changed? Everything from the timing of our emails to the design elements – it’s all been meticulously crafted to scoop up those extra sales. Let’s break it down:

Initial Email: Now sent a mere hour after customers have shown interest in those must-have items. We’re striking in the moment.

First Reminder: A friendly nudge 23 hours later for those moments when life gets in the way.

Second Reminder: If they’re still contemplating, there’s another reminder three days after the first.

But here’s the exciting part – our changes aren’t static. Oh no, we’re running a split test. The Control group gets personalized copy, while Variation A showcases subtle design tweaks. Why? Because we want to know what resonates with your customers the most.

Data-Informed Customer Marketing

What sets our approach apart is the magic of data-informed customer marketing. We’re not shooting into the dark; we’re using your data to hit the bullseye. By understanding your customer’s behaviors, preferences, and even hesitations, we’re crafting an email that leads to conversions. It’s just that simple.

To learn more about how you can supercharge your revenue with the use of abandoned cart emails, book a demo using the button below:

Get the Most Out of Your Data

With the right approach, data can be transformative. In the following blog, we’ve unpacked our methods of collecting, sorting, and analyzing data. From our insights into our epic School Photography Industry report to general data collection tips and tricks, it’s a true behind-the-scenes glimpse. So go forth, read, and learn how to get the most out of your data! 

The School Photography Report

As a collaboration with SPOA, we’ve created the School Photography Industry Report to aid the understanding of the dynamics of the school photography industry.  Over the past two years, we’ve surveyed over 74,000 parents in every state of the USA and reached 2,500 educators. Through our survey, we strive to promote industry growth and innovation by equipping photography companies with readily available data and usable insights. It’s an annual report to provide insights into the industry because, without data, we are only guessing. Want to view the report? Click here.

Use these insights to evaluate your business and the potential untapped opportunities in our industry. 

Key takeaways from this year’s report:

  • Price, quality, and variety are still trending as crucial factors in meeting customer expectations
  • Customization and convenience are emerging as pivotal factors in achieving customer satisfaction and increasing perceived value
  • Ease, digital products, alternate payment methods, and an excellent shopping cart user experience are highly desired by customers

New this year

Let me tell you, the latest addition to this year’s insights report, titled ‘New Data, New Insights,’ is an absolute game-changer. It’s a direct result of incorporating invaluable feedback from our previous report and leveraging the freshest data available for this year. 

What’s truly exciting is the emergence of new focus areas that demand our attention; in a world where choice, customization, and convenience reign supreme, these elements have taken center stage like never before. They’re not just important; they’re vital.

We’ve got our finger on the pulse of this dynamic industry, and this year’s insights report is here to show you the underlying patterns and key drivers that shape our industry. What makes it even more exciting is that you can harness these insights as a powerful tool to dissect your business and uncover the treasure trove of uncharted opportunities waiting to be seized.

While we’re here, check out these insights!

Customization

  • 62% of photography companies provide custom background options
  • 74% of parents want to create their own package
  • Our findings reveal that 71% of parents favor basic color backgrounds, 57% appreciate textured backgrounds, and 40% lean towards themed backgrounds

Technology

  • A staggering 53% of parents now seek to utilize their child’s school photos as digital products
  • Almost half of parents want a digital product included in a package
  • 55% of parents want to include custom backgrounds when purchasing digital products

Communication

  • Teachers surveyed believe that 31% of parents prepay with paper order forms, while only 9% of parents did
  • Parents want to “ship to school for free,” whereas Teachers want to “ship to home for a small fee”
  • Parents and Teachers are not on the same page when it comes to knowing how much parents are actually spending on school photos

With this wealth of knowledge, your school photography company can now better meet the needs and expectations of parents and schools through making data-informed decisions. However, these are not strategies. So, see how these insights can work for your company with the nuances of your own business in mind.

Next year’s report

The School Photography Industry Report will be back in 2024 and is set to be our biggest year yet! We’ll strive to understand what motivates non-buyers and focus on educator decision-makers. Increasing the survey time frame to 12 months, from January 2024 to December 2024, we aim to capture seasonal information while facilitating growth in overall participation.

But how can I use this data to inform my decision for Fall 2024!? Don’t worry; we have you covered! An interim report will be produced in July 2024, delivered at SPOA 2024, and sent to Fotomerchant customers and SPOA members. This will provide a snapshot of the data and an overview of the emerging stand-out trends.

There you have it! The School Photography Industry Report is a crucial guide for businesses in the dynamic school photo and yearbook industry. Surveying thousands of parents and educators, the report unveils current trends and provides detailed insights. The rise of customization and the increasing demand for digital products underscore the evolving landscape of customer preferences and expectations. It goes beyond industry understanding, acting as a powerful tool to discover untapped opportunities within your business.

Advocating for a ‘data-informed’ approach, the report recognizes the synergy of data and human experience for optimal results, fostering a culture of data collaboration and strategic decision-making. It’s not merely a snapshot of the industry; it’s a dynamic tool empowering your business to navigate change, seize opportunities, and align decisions with the evolving needs of parents, educators, and the industry.

Data-Driven vs Data-Informed

Chances are, you’re familiar with the term ‘data-driven,’ a methodology where data, devoid of human presumptions or external influences, exclusively guide decisions. While this approach has its merits, it may not be optimal for every business. 

In our journey, we’ve found that embracing a ‘data-informed’ approach resonates more with our ethos. This nuanced strategy allows us to leverage data as a valuable tool, incorporating it into our decision-making process while keeping sight of the valuable insights that human experience and intuition bring to the table.

In essence, the implementation of a data-informed approach has not only optimized our operational efficiency but has also reinforced a culture that is built on data collaboration and strategic decision-making across our organization.

Data “Rule of Thumb” 

Now, you might wonder, how can I transform my studio into a data-informed business? Let’s pull back the curtain and explore our approach to data. Follow along to gather valuable tips for integrating data-informed decision-making into your repertoire.

  • When diving into data analysis and whipping up a report, stick to the basics for a great result. Set crystal-clear goals, so you’re not just spinning your wheels. Keep your data honest – check sources and don’t let any sneaky errors slip through.
  • When it’s showtime, pick visuals that are as spot-on as your grandma’s apple pie. Keep it simple, though – no need for brain-busting complexity. Explain why your data matters – give it some context. And don’t forget to shine a spotlight on the real stars of the show – those key insights that make your data sing.
  • Uniformity is your sidekick, so stick to a consistent style. Make it easy on the eyes with clear labels and jargon-free zones. Craft a story from your data; take your reader on a journey from the beginning to the lightbulb moments. And when you wrap it up, serve some actionable advice on a silver platter.

 So, next time you’re crunching numbers, follow these tips and get the most out of your data!

That’s all for now, folks! 

Ready to embark on your data journey? Unpack the treasure trove of tools we’ve shared in this blog. Combine your discoveries with insights from our report to make your studio an unstoppable force. For a deeper dive, check out our “Generating and Analyzing Reports” blog; your passport to unlocking the full potential of our Commerce reporting hub. Armed with savvy decisions, let the excitement of discovery fuel your path. Every click counts, and every report tells a tale.

This journey is possible because of YOU. Thank you! Eager to contribute? Get in touch with our legendary team about becoming a survey distributor or question creator. Together, let’s chart a course toward a future where data-informed decision-making steers our industry and propels it to new heights of success.

Season Wrap-Up

Wrapping Up the Season

As the season comes to a close, your Christmas gifts aren’t the only thing that needs wrapping up. Whether you’ve had an amazing season or faced unexpected challenges, we’d love your feedback. Here at Fotomerchant, we believe in embracing the power of reflection and data analysis to help you succeed. So, let’s dive into the end-of-season wrap-up and explore how we can help you excel in the coming seasons.

Reflect, Analyze, and Plan Ahead

First things first, we encourage you to take a step back and reflect on your goals and expectations for the past season. Did you set specific targets or aspirations? Maybe you aimed to increase your customer base, explore new promotional plans, or improve your client relationship. Whatever it was, now is the time to ask yourself: Have you exceeded your expectations, or perhaps you’ve faced some unforeseen challenges?

We understand that every season is a unique adventure, and sometimes things don’t go exactly as planned. But that’s okay! Reflecting on your experiences is a crucial step in your studio’s journey. It allows you to learn and grow, helping you make better-informed decisions moving forward.

Unleash the Power of Data

Here at Fotomerchant, we’re all about data. That’s right! We believe that data can be a game-changer for your studio. We aim to turn your data into actionable insights, helping you make informed decisions that drive your business forward. So, let’s talk about one of the most powerful tools we offer: reports. 

Our powerful reporting area provides you with a wealth of information that can help you understand your business better than ever before. Here’s a taste of what it has to offer:

Most Popular Packages: 

Find out which photography packages were ordered the most during the season. This information can help you tailor your offerings to meet the demands of your clients.

Year-on-Year Comparisons: 

Worked with the same school for a while? Our reports can show you how your business has evolved over the years. This can help you identify trends and plan for future growth.

Digital vs. Print: 

Is your business more digital or print-oriented? Our reports can break down your sales by format, helping you make strategic decisions about your product offerings.

If you find anything interesting or surprising in your data, please let us know. We love hearing about your discoveries and are here to help you make the most of your insights. The possibilities are endless!

Now that you’re winding down for the season, why not curl up in front of the fire with a delightful blog? We’ve got the perfect one for you! Check out our blog detailing how to best use our reporting area. In it, we provide a deeper dive into the world of data analysis and how it can supercharge your business. 

Explore Our Knowledge Base

We encourage you to explore our Knowledge Base for even more information and guidance. It is a treasure trove of resources that can help you navigate the world of Fotomerchant. Whether you’re looking for tips on post-processing techniques or mastering the use of our platform, the Knowledge Base has you covered.

To embark on a tour of our Knowledge Base, please visit click here.

Onwards and Upwards

We take support seriously and always look for ways to improve. We will be reaching out to all of our customers with a survey so they have the opportunity to provide feedback. We want to hear about your future goals and the challenges of the season and have a general catch-up. Your favorite recipe from the Fall? Yum, let us know. 

Now, to get all soppy. As one season comes to a close, another one opens up with endless possibilities. It’s time to reflect, analyze, and plan ahead, and we’re here to help you every step of the way. Let’s make the upcoming season even better and faster than ever before.

Template Designer

Elevate Your Design Game

Welcome back! We’re thrilled to introduce you to a game-changing tool that will take your design skills to the next level: the Template Designer. No need for any drum rolls, just a reliable and cloud-based solution that will empower your creativity. With the Template Designer, you can easily create and share templates for various purposes, from ID cards to certificates. By offering schools additional design options for their in-house services, impress and retain new business like never before.

This blog is just a taster of what this bad boy can do. Watch the webinar linked below to see a deep dive into the functionality.

Unleash Your Creative Flexibility

Getting started is a breeze. Access Template Designer right from Studio and step into your very own creative haven, where templates are just a click away. They’re automatically linked to your Studio session, eliminating the need to juggle between different tools.

The Template Designer is all about flexibility. You can work with a single template and fine-tune it to your needs or effortlessly create variations. If you need to make adjustments, just duplicate a template and customize it to suit your project. Simple!

Discover the Key Features

Let’s dive into the exciting features that Template Designer offers. Easily create headers, sub-headers, and body text, acting as placeholders for client labels, addresses, cities, states, names, and more.

With these placeholders, populate the relevant subject data from Commerce/Studio. By configuring advanced rules, you can make specific lines transparent if you are supplied incomplete data. This ensures only available information is visible. Brilliant right? Remember, it’s always best to export a small sample to test!

You can add image placeholders, choose between original or JPEG images, and seamlessly remove backgrounds. Want to populate a cropped image from your session? We’ve got you. Customize your design to pull precisely the image you’d like to populate.

With Template Designer, utilize a vast library of backgrounds, allowing you to craft truly unique ID cards. You’ve got options! You can link your own background folders through Commerce (which is also linked to 36Pix) and even import your own images straight into Template Designer. You can also access an additional background area that pulls from the vast library of stock images from Unsplash. The template designer is your oyster!

Say you are using one set color as your background; with advanced rules, you can configure the background to change color depending on the grade or any other parameter you desire.

Need to add a special addition for students on a set bus route or a specific cafeteria option? With Template Designer, you can! Green for Option A, Blue for Option B, etc. It sure is a clever bit of kit! 

You have a wide array of media elements at your disposal, making image uploads a thing of the past. Just drag and drop your graphics and watch your designs come to life.

Seamless Integration with Portal

Templates designed with Template Designer are seamlessly linked to Portal, making it easy for schools to locate students and print replacements. It’s all about streamlining your processes. Every time schools print or render using Template Designer in Portal, behind the scenes, you can watch the magic happen in real-time. 

We’re constantly innovating the template design area and have exciting additions planned for the coming year. Think Memory Mate, Teammate, or Sports Mate; the choice is yours. Watch this space; these are coming very soon!

Whatcha waiting for? It’s time to elevate your design game with the Template Designer. Take inspiration from existing school designs and add your own flair, transforming them into something better and faster.

Want to read more about Template Designer? We’ve got a ton of information in our knowledge base areaIf you ever have questions or need guidance, we’re here to assist you every step of the way. Reach out to us anytime through Slack.

The Data on Digitals

Here at Fotomerchant, we’re fueled by data. Always hungry to learn more about parent buying habits, we believe that without data, you’re only guessing. With digital products’ popularity increasing, we turned our inquisitive eye towards this trend. In today’s digital age, including digital photos in your product offerings is no longer optional; it’s necessary. If you don’t do it, your competitors will, and we can’t let that happen, can we?

This blog is the second installment of our two-part series uncovering the potential of digital products. Before we begin, we’d like to clarify that when we say ‘digital product,’ we mean image or video files captured digitally and distributed electronically. Click here to learn more about what makes our digital delivery particularly powerful.

Now, let’s dive head first into the digital delivery data. The following data was captured in our School Photography Industry Report. Over the past two years, we’ve surveyed over 74,000 parents. Through our survey, we’ve noticed the digital shift reshaping the school photography industry. Here’s what we’ve learned.

How Do Parents Use Their School Photos?

The data speaks loud and clear. Parents want digital photos. A staggering 53% of parents now want to see their child’s school photos as digital products. Yep, that’s over half of all parents!

Why? 33% of parents want digital images to share on social media. They’re not just collecting dust; these images are used to share with friends and family digitally. It’s the new norm, people!

What Parents Want in a Package

What do parents want in their school photo packages? Well, 46% of parents want digital photos included. Adding digital products to your catalog increases the overall perceived value of your other physical offerings. It’s a no-brainer!

But it’s not just about throwing in some pixels; it’s about customization. Custom backgrounds are all the rage, with 55% of parents wanting the option to choose backgrounds that resonate with them. Customization is key to making parents happy, whether it’s solid colors, textured backgrounds, or themed settings.

The data doesn’t lie; providing various options can be a game-changer. About 71% prefer solid colors, 57% love a bit of texture, and there’s a strong demand for themed backgrounds that reflect holidays, sports, and school environments.

This is a great way to increase your revenue, upsell by offering customization options, such as custom backgrounds, and watch your sales soar.

Another exciting opportunity to supercharge your offerings is through creating digital bundles. Release them at different times throughout the year to keep your customers engaged and excited about ordering more photos. 

Offer new themes, backgrounds, or exclusive deals to entice parents to come back for more.

How Much Are Digital Products Worth?

Now, the big question: How much are digital products worth? The data reveals that 40% of parents believe digital photos are equally or more valuable than physical prints. Whereas 47% value digital prints as less than a digital photo. The pricing strategy here is crucial. We recommend experimenting with different price points and packaging to find what resonates with your customer base.

Give ’em freebies! We’ve uncovered some interesting data around the value of “free items.” By including a free digital item in select packages or bundles, you can enhance their perceived value. This strategy can attract customers to your best-selling offerings and boost sales for packages that may have previously underperformed. 

So there you have it, folks! The digital wave is here, and it’s time to ride it to boost your revenue and cater to your customers’ evolving preferences. Have any follow-up questions? Don’t hesitate to reach out to us for support. Thanks for joining us, and until next time, keep capturing those memories!

Studio 101

Unveiling the Magic of Studio 101

Grab your cameras and buckle up. We’re about to take you on a thrilling adventure through the world of Studio. Whether you’re a total newbie or a seasoned pro, this blog guides you through the basics and shares some of the exciting hidden gems that Studio has to offer. This will be a very high-level look at Studio. To see a more in-depth demonstration, watch the webinar by clicking the button below.

Ready to make your workflow better and faster than ever before? Let’s dive in.

Studio’s Exciting Updates

Hold onto your hats, folks. We’ve been hard at work adding some seriously cool new features. There’s recently been a flurry of wonderful additions that are about to make your Studio experience even better. 

Don’t get us started on the fresh look of the interface; it’s got everyone talking! Whether you’re excited about the new facelift or just eager to explore new functionalities, there’s something in store for everyone. Click here to view the down-low on all Studio’s recent updates.

Exploring the Basics

As you step into Studio, you’ll find yourself faced with sessions. Think of these as folders that neatly hold your individual photography jobs, complete with subject data and their images. The best part? No fumbling around with buttons; you can jump straight into a session just by clicking anywhere on it.

Once you’re inside a session, this is where the real magic happens. Here, you can see images, subjects, and groups. Once in the subject area, sort through your images with our clever layered filters. You’ll feel like a digital wizard with filters that let you sort images based on smiles, open or closed eyes, and poses. 

But hold on, because there’s a trick up our sleeve! Our multi-select magic lets you swiftly glide through multiple images with a single click and easily cull images with eyes closed, etc. Say goodbye to tedious clicks; say hello to efficiency.

Facial Recognition and Group Organization – The Dream Team

Let’s talk about facial recognition. It’s about to make your group organization game so much stronger. Have you ever imagined effortlessly matching faces to names without battling typos and data messes? Dream no more. With facial recognition, dealing with groups is now a breeze. You can give rows names, assign positions, and witness Studio efficiently organize chaos. We know the data schools provide isn’t always top-notch, so let Studio help you understand it! 

And guess what? Every change you make within Studio will automatically occur across the whole Fotomerchant ecosystem. Yep, this includes both Commerce and Portal. Brilliant right?  No need to do the whole import/export dance! We’ve got you covered. 

Template Editor – Unlock Your Inner Artist

Prepare to have your mind blown by the template editor. This is where you can craft stunning ID cards, memory mates, certificates, and more, all with your unique touch. But wait, there’s more! Advanced rules that put you in control: dynamic logos, color shifts, and text transformations. This is the place where your artistic vision and Studio’s tech prowess come together in harmony. 

Mastering Shortcuts 

If you’re all about efficiency, you’ll love Studio’s keyboard shortcuts. Zip through subjects, choose poses and perform bulk actions with just a few clever key presses. Watch our recent webinar to learn how you can access this holy grail of Studio shortcuts. Oh, and don’t worry, we’ve accounted for both Apple and Windows users! 

And there you have it. Your crash course in Studio 101! From mastering image management to becoming a group organization maestro or even creating unique templates, Studio’s got your back. 

That’s just scratching the surface of what Studio can do. Watch our webinar hosted by Christian Perry and Tearah Fox to see a more in-depth Studio deep dive.

Facial Recognition and Face Collation

Welcome back to the third part of our thrilling facial recognition deep dive. Can you believe we’ve made it this far? Time flies when you’re having fun. And speaking of time, today we’re going to explore a treasure trove of memories and revenue potential that you might not even know you possess! Let’s tug at those parents’ heartstrings!

Discover the Gold Mine

What if I told you that you were sitting on an archival gold mine? If you have worked with the same school for multiple years, you have the potential to generate timeline or journey products. By using facial recognition to create a timeline product, you can create beautiful, nostalgic photo collections that showcase the growth and development of children over time.

It’s like a visual journey through their lives, and parents absolutely love it!

Yeah, we know. Manually sorting through your back catalog of images is tedious. Thanks to the magic of facial recognition, you can now find each child’s previous images taken by your studio in seconds. Timeline products have never been easier!

What is Face Collation, and How Does it Work?

Say hello to the game-changer: Face Collation!  This fantastic feature takes facial indexing and matching to a whole new level. It allows you to identify a single photo that references each subject in your back catalog. No more sifting through years of photographs!

So, how does it work? Simple! You need one set of data and images, preferably the most recent year, to create the subject information with one identifying photo indexed and associated with the subject record. Then, you upload all the remaining years’ photos into an unknown gallery, ensuring all faces are indexed. Now comes the magic moment: unleash our Face Collation AI and watch it find all the photos belonging to each subject from over the years. Voilà!

That’s just a brief overview. Want to see the nitty gritty? Click here to see our knowledge base document on the feature.

Making Memories Last a Lifetime

The timeline products are just the beginning of the potential goldmine of revenue. Think about re-targeting at the end of the school year. How powerful would it be to remind parents of all the wonderful memories you’ve captured throughout their child’s year? With face collation, you can make that happen effortlessly.

Unlocking the Past

If you’ve acquired a new business and inherited a massive backlog of photos, fret not! Facial recognition and face collation are here to save you once again. Just run those old photos through the system and let the AI work its magic to match subjects and create delightful galleries to promote and sell. With this technology, you can offer personalized products that hold immense sentimental value for your customers. What’s not to love?

If we reflect on the data from our 2023 Annual School Photography report, it’s clear that the main purchasing driver for parents is to capture a moment in time. The data doesn’t lie. Start utilizing face collation to provide parents with products they really want.

So, let’s embrace the power of facial recognition and face collation. It’s the key to unlocking your archives and new opportunities to create products that touch people’s hearts and bring smiles to their faces.

To view the other blogs we have on harnessing the power of facial recognition, click here and here.

Until next time, keep capturing those precious moments!

Onboarding with Fotomerchant

Welcome, Fotomerchants-in-Training

We know you’re itching to get started with our amazing platform, and today, we’re going to give you a sneak peek into the wonderful world of onboarding. 

We’ve been busy streamlining our onboarding to ensure you feel supported and productive throughout the whole process. Each year, we’ve been making improvements to our onboarding. Why? Because we want to make sure you have the smoothest journey possible. After all, we’re all in this together!

Onboarding: A Two-Way Street

Yep, onboarding is a bit like a tango; it takes two to make it work! We want to know all about you and your studio. The more we know, the better we can support you. We’ll leave no stone unturned to understand your needs, expectations, and quirks.

In case you haven’t noticed, we love a good laugh and camaraderie. Working with us is a hoot! So buckle up and get ready for some fun as we embark on this Fotomerchant adventure together.

We’re Your Partners

Fotomerchant is all about being your partner in crime. We don’t just hand you a ‘get started with Fotomerchant’ box and disappear. We’re here to guide you through the process and ensure you’re fulfilling solo confidently when the time comes. And guess what? The onboarding is just the beginning of our partnership!

Unraveling the Mysteries of Onboarding

Let’s dive into the onboarding guide, shall we? You’ll have your logo and our side by side because this is a partnership, my friends! Throughout the onboarding, you’ll be introduced to our stellar team and wowed by the wonders of our industry-leading conversational support model. Ever used Slack before? You’re in for a treat!

Our onboarding area includes many handy links for you to stay across all elements of your set-up, including extra information such as webinars, blogs, and case studies. Our knowledge base area is also easily accessible here, so you can read up on implementing some of our cool features. From here, you can easily navigate through the Fotomerchant universe!

With us, you can sleep easily. We’ve got your timeline covered, and you’ll have a clear understanding of your onboarding arc. We separate each component via product lines/genres in our new and improved onboarding process. No workflow is the same, so each onboard setup must differ. So, we split your onboarding into different genres or product lines. This allows us to accommodate for any nuances in each of your genre setups. We’re flexible like that!

We believe in transparency all the way! You’ll always know exactly what’s happening, who’s doing what, and when it’ll all be ready. You’ll be able to track our progress, see due dates, and where the roadblocks are. Some of these due dates will be for us, others for you. Nevertheless, you can rest assured you will always feel in the loop of your onboarding journey.

Ask Away

If you have any questions or suggestions after this blog, just message us. We’re all ears and eager to make this process even better for you! To experience a more in-depth guide to this new onboarding system, take a look at our recent webinar. Peter Koop and Tearah Fox will show you the ropes alongside some classic Australian/Canadian banter. 

Well, that’s all for now. Until next time!

Fotomerchant’s School Photography Insights

Informing, Educating, and Inspiring Growth

We’re thrilled to welcome back the School Photography Industry Report for 2023! This year’s edition is better than ever, building upon the success of last year’s report. As a joint initiative between Fotomerchant and School Photographers of America, we aim to provide you with valuable data to inform, educate, and inspire your organization’s growth. 

At its core, this report aims to uncover what parents truly want when it comes to school photography. It serves as a source of truth, helping us understand their preferences, needs, and expectations. We can foster continuous growth and improvement in the historic School Photography industry by delving into the insights provided. What’s not to love?!

This blog will present a high-level view of the report, and we highly recommend you take a look at the full report to gain an all-encompassing view of the data. For now, let’s look at some of the highlights. Strap in. We’ve got some transformative data to reveal. 

The Power of Data

Last year’s report was well-received, and we’re grateful to announce that our survey respondents have increased by an impressive 44% this year! You beauty!

With this expanded participation, we have been able to evaluate and compare data gathered over the past couple of years, giving us a comprehensive view of the industry’s progress and changes. We’re pumped to see what the future holds and how this report can continue to benefit the school photography community. To further the growth of this survey in future years, read the bottom of this page, where you can find out how to share the survey.

Let’s Dive into the 2023 Report

We’re not joking when we say this year’s report is better than ever. We’ve received invaluable feedback from 44,000 parents who shared their opinions on various topics, such as print size, photo quality, likes and dislikes, and more. Our survey covered 74,000 parents from 50 states across the U.S., representing 2,500 schools. That’s a whole lot of opinions! 

We’ve also expanded the report to include a dedicated section on yearbooks, incorporating 13 new questions. You’ve got no excuse to sleep on the importance of yearbooks. 65% of parents reported buying one last year, highlighting the clear demand for this product offering.

Insights from Parents

As a starting point, we began with parents, hoping to understand their purchasing behaviors better. We can use demographic data as a baseline to correlate how these factors affect their purchasing habits.

Most parents were female, aged 25-60, and the primary decision-makers in their households. English was the primary language for 96% of respondents. We also found that most parents had children attending public schools, making this report a good reflection of the overall educational landscape in the U.S. With data from many states, we have a rich and diverse dataset to draw insights from. High fives all around here at the Fotomerchant & SPOA HQ!

What Do Parents Think?

To understand parents’ perspectives, we asked them a series of targeted questions. Here’s a glimpse of what we discovered.

How do parents want to purchase their school photos? The top preference for current purchase methods was pre-paying online. However, when asked about their preferred ordering process, most parents chose to receive an online proof via email or an order form. The least popular option was a packaged print ordered at wholesale. The data never lies; it’s clear that parents want the convenience of online proofing.

What do parents think about price, quality, and choice? Opinions on price were divided, with a 50/50 split between parents who found it too expensive and those who considered it fair.

Although, the majority of parents expressed satisfaction with the quality of the photos. 

How do parents want to be notified about picture day? Email and text alerts emerged as the top preferences for parents to receive notifications about picture day. This is excellent news for any studios looking to convince schools of the importance of providing emails for their students.

Alongside this data, it was also revealed that most parents preferred to be notified one month in advance, allowing them ample time to prepare.

Insights from Educators and Schools

There’s no denying it, educators and school administrators play a crucial role in the school photography ecosystem. It’s important to consider their opinions and perspectives to ensure client retention. Here are some highlights of what our report revealed about educators.

What Do Educators Think?

We set out to understand if educators knew how parents preferred to purchase school photos. We suspected a slight disconnect, and boy, oh boy, there was some interesting data revealed here. There was a significant difference between educators’ responses and those of parents. 

For example, prepaying online and prepaying via a paper order were the most common methods reported by educators, while parents showed a stronger preference for online proofing. This disparity highlights the need for better communication between schools and parents to align their expectations.

We also asked educators their opinions on price, quality, and choice. While the majority believed that the price of school photos was fair, there was uncertainty regarding parents’ satisfaction with the cost. 

Similarly, opinions on the variety and options offered to parents were split, further indicating a disconnect between educators’ and parents’ perceptions. An example is the disparity between educator and parent answers when asked questions about shipping options.

The Importance of Yearbooks

Yearbooks hold a special place in the hearts of parents, serving as a milestone and a cherished keepsake of their child’s academic journey. 

Our survey revealed that 65% of parents purchased a yearbook last year, highlighting the strong demand for this product. Price emerged as a pain point, with 40% of parents indicating they would change their minds if the price were more favorable.

Personalization was also highlighted as important, with 61% of parents valuing the inclusion of their child’s photo and name on the cover. You heard them. Parents want personalization!

We want to stress that we’ve only scratched the surface of understanding yearbook preferences. We’re well aware that there are many aspects to this product offering we may not have covered. This year’s yearbook data is an excellent baseline for us to build on in future years. Watch this space!

A Deeper Understanding

We plan to release a separate insights report based on two years of surveys to enhance our understanding further and provide you with even more valuable insights. This upcoming report will offer a deeper dive into the data and trends. Keep your eyes peeled for this.

We Value Your Feedback

Your insights are crucial in making this annual report meaningful and impactful. Please take a moment to share your thoughts on what you found informative and where you think improvements can be made. Your on-the-ground knowledge is invaluable to the effectiveness of this report. Scan the QR code to share your thoughts.

Join Us!

To expand the reach of our survey and gather more comprehensive data, we invite you to sign up to help us distribute next year’s 2024 survey to your contacts. Your involvement will contribute to the collective knowledge of the school photography industry, so don’t take a backseat! The future growth of this report hinges on you sharing future surveys. Sign up by scanning the QR code above and be part of shaping this industry’s future. 

Bon Voyage 2023 School Photography Industry Report

Now that our report is out in the world, making waves, we’d like to extend our gratitude to all the participants and contributors who made this report possible. Your input and engagement are invaluable to shaping the school photography industry. Let’s continue to learn, grow, and provide the best possible experiences for parents and schools alike. 

With powerful data, you can make educated decisions for the future of your business. Remember, without data, we’re only guessing. Let’s navigate the industry together and create a bright future based on a solid bedrock of data.

Hungry for more? Watch our latest webinar, where Lucy Richards and Luke Calo dive deeper into this report. From the minds who helped to build this report, it’s not one to be missed!