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The photo marketplace is rather complex. Thanks to digital cameras being so accessible nowadays, there is so much demand for products containing photo images.
Photo studios and professional photographers, too, often sell their customers digital images for them to turn into the kinds of prints they want. This new landscape has given way to a whole new world of applications for photo-centric products, ranging from personal gifts and keepsakes to fine art pieces and architectural elements.
Customers within consumer-facing photo markets vary significantly, depending on the type of product being offered. A product decorator may target photo markets by selling directly to the end user, providing fulfillment services to a client who then resells the product to the end user - or both.
Thus, techniques for targeting desired customers can vary greatly. For example if you want to focus on selling photo gifts, a retail environment where customers can come to you is ideal. If you’re looking to provide fulfillment services, you will need to make sales calls to potential clients.
In reality, the photo marketplace is made up of multiple sub-markets. The two largest segments are consumer and pro photo. The pro photo marketplace is composed of professional photographers and imagers who have a need for high-quality, professional renderings. Fulfillment providers in this area of the market have specialized production facilities, as well as the equipment and knowledge to process and deliver images on a variety of high-end products, which are used in a range of settings - from home décor to museums.
As a product decorator, you are uniquely positioned to offer goods and services throughout these sub-markets. What approach is best greatly depends on your business, its goals, resources and market potential.
Photo products are no different than any other sublimated product. A suitable substrate is chosen and the proper image is applied. Thus, just about any substrate can be used. The key is to create a finished product that is appropriate for the application taking into account the purpose of the product and who the end-user will be.
Photo gifts are one of the most popular items for the consumer market. The top sublimated photo gift products are:
Consumer photo products are not limited to gifts. There are many different types of products that are built on the photo concept. These include:
Regardless of the market, theme or location, the process for getting into this area of business looks like this:
Analyze The Market – Get an understanding about what the market is all about. What products or services are already being offered? Who is the customer? How can you reach them? What kinds of photo-centric themes you can offer?
Create Product Ideas – Do some brainstorming based on the information you gathered in your analysis, and then list every conceivable photo product you can possibly think of. Don’t limit yourself. Just jot the ideas down as they come to mind, no matter how big, small or insignificant they might seem
Produce a Sample Set – Take your list of product ideas and narrow it down to a creative, but effective list of samples that you can produce. Keep in mind that you will need a separate set of samples for each type of theme you are focused on. What works for Mother’s Day is different than what works for graduation gifts.
Develop A Sales Pitch – If you have done your research, then it shouldn’t be as hard as you might think for generating a sales pitch for your products. Understanding needs and delivering solutions is a big part of selling, so focus on that with everything that you say and everything you show. Also, selling to consumers involves making an emotional connection, so that, too, should be calculated into how you present your products.
Now that you've learned a little about the potential targeting these markets may have for your sublimation business, check out our complete Making Money Guide - Consumer Photo Market. This is a free, comprehensive how-to guide for getting started in these markets, and comes with graphic downloads to create your own sample set for sales.
You can also view our Making Money with Sublimation - Consumer Photo webcast, 24/7 from our BusinessBuilder library.
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