Alternatives to ExposureManager

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by William Petruzzo, Dec 8, 2009.

  1. William Petruzzo

    William Petruzzo TPF Noob!

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    I've been using EM for about two years now and I've never felt really satisfied. The commission and monthly cost are pretty reasonable, but the administration options are painfully unintuitive and a couple of customers recently have complained that various aspects of the gallery/shopping cart were confusing. Who knows how many customers didn't say something. But it's not totally surprising, the system feels disorganized in general. Plus, there are some other aspects of the system that I'm continually frustrated by.

    Since my business is in a state of pretty heavy growth, I think I should move to something more stable before it becomes more difficult. So, I'm interested in looking for alternatives. I considered Pictage, but I'm just not dealing with the volume yet to justify the monthly fees. (Plus, if you do anything to let them know who you are, they're the most obnoxious, pushy sales people and you can't get them to leave you alone. Seriously, three calls in a week.)

    I'm wondering if anyone has some experience with another solution. Perhaps something landing somewhere between the quality of EM and Pictage. Any thoughts?
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I know many photographers (myself included) that use Photocart. It's an application that you purchase once and load onto your website. (no fees or commissions etc.)
    I think it's a very good application...it's full of features and is very customizable.

    Of course, it's just for the customer/ordering end of the deal. You (or someone on your end) still has to take the orders and send them to the lab for printing and take care of shipping etc. The good part is that you have full control over the process (some services ship direct to the client, so you never actually see the prints) and you don't pay commissions. The bad part is that you have to put in the time/work to do it yourself....which is OK if you aren't too busy. But if you could be using that time more productively, then it might be wise to outsource that.
     
  3. Christos_2006

    Christos_2006 TPF Noob!

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    I'm with mike here, i have been using PhotoCart for a bit over 3 years and i've been very happy with the product and service. You just have to keep in mind that this is a self fulfill cart, so the order comes in and you must order the print and send it off to the lab and ship to the customer.

    Long Island wedding photographer
     
  4. William Petruzzo

    William Petruzzo TPF Noob!

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    Thanks guys. Yeah, I've been eyeing PhotoCart for some time. I've been using EM as a kind a pseudo self-fulfill option. I have a lot of my printing done from Richmond Camera Pro Lab in Virginia instead of through EM's system. I don't like how impersonal and uninvolved I am with EM. It's a quality control thing, I suppose. And, in the future if I wanted to, I could pay someone to manage the orders for me.

    But, before making any switches or software purchases, I'd like to see what other managed options like EM or Pictage are out there.
     
  5. exposuremanager

    exposuremanager TPF Noob!

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    Hi Bill!

    I am sorry to hear that you haven't been fully satisfied with your EM experience. You mention that the system feels somewhat disorganized, and I completely agree. As you probably know, we've grown very fast at EM, and have constantly added features that help increase sales for a wide variety of photographers. As a result, we offer a lot but you are right, it is not always very intuitive.

    EM has grown into a completely different system than what we originally designed it for (art galleries) and something that has always been pushed back due to other priorities was a complete redesign of the system. We've been working very hard on that, and we expect to release this early next year. Instead of using 'galleries', we are switching to an 'event' model with much better management tools. I'll send you a screenshot of it through e-mail so you have an idea of the changes that are coming.

    The second thing you mention is that you've had customers complain that the cart was confusing. I'd love to hear what they said, because it is hard to fix a problem if we don't know what it is. Nothing is more important to us than an easy to use cart! Over the last few months we've made a consistent effort about improving the shopping experience.

    Because of that, we've even added a Live Chat feature a few weeks ago. This feature allows your customers to immediately ask for help in your galleries and in the shopping cart. We did this for two reasons. One, to assist customers and two, to get better information of where customers get 'stuck' or confused. We've made several small changes to the cart since we've implemented Live Chat, but we have not received any feedback in the chats about a step that really confused customers during their purchase process. If you have any specifics, I'd love to hear them!

    For more info about our Live Chat functionality, please take a look at our blog post.

    Meanwhile, if you stick around for another month or so, I think you'll be pleased with the new interface.

    Have a great day,

    Donovan Janus
    Chief Executive Officer
    ExposureManager.com - Focus on Sales
     
  6. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    LOL, at least they're paying attention. ;)
     
  7. William Petruzzo

    William Petruzzo TPF Noob!

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    I'm not frustrated enough to jump ship right away, especially if you say there's something new coming along. I'll look foreword to seeing what's coming. I hope the backend gets an overhaul. I've been using the service for quite a while and I still have to go back into the documentation a lot. And what's worse, I often end up giving up or having to come up with a work around.

    On another note, you can probably generate a lot of new customers with a lot more confidence if you entrenched yourselves in message boards like these. Participating on a daily basis. People always want to work with friends and are far less likely to leave the service if they feel a personal connection exists on some level.

    Just a thought.
     
  8. PhotoVerve

    PhotoVerve TPF Noob!

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    One thing is for sure, the quick response from EM on here is impressive!
     
  9. William Petruzzo

    William Petruzzo TPF Noob!

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    It's most likely a google notification. They're easy to set up so that anytime someone makes reference on the internet to something you specify, you get an email. Though it does show they're taking initiative.
     
  10. PhotoVerve

    PhotoVerve TPF Noob!

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    I'm guessing it's a Google notification, too. As you said, the fact that they are monitoring their online reputation, and responding directly to one possible loss of one current client is a good sign.
     
  11. radwajshalik

    radwajshalik TPF Noob!

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    Hi......,

    I was not having such type of experiences.
     

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