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Archive for April 2017

5 Ways To Drive Your Customers Away

5 Ways To Drive Your Customers Away

Have so many customers, you’re hoping to drive some of them away so you can catch a break? Successful business owners are continuously looking for ways to move their business forward — but often, a few seemingly small things slip through the cracks and start driving customers away instead. Often, the things that drive customers away seem small to businesses — but big to customers. Here are five things that drive customers away that you’ll want to avoid to keep your business growing.

Treat staff poorly.

Business owners often interact with staff more often than the customers — but the attitude you have towards your staff is often the same attitude that gets passed down to the customer. Care for your staff, and your customers will be cared for too. When employees feel like they are just there to make a quick buck and not part of a team, they’re disengaged — and disinterested staff is a big turn off to customers. Finding employees that keep customers coming back is not just about hiring the right people — it’s about treating them right once they’re there too.

Use minimal staff training, if any at all.

Night next to “rude staff” in customers’ most common list of complaints is staff that may be friendly, but can’t answer their questions. Be sure all new staff are properly trained on things like which aisle products are located in, where to go to make a return and the selling points of your products. When you carry a new product, train existing staff on just what that is, so when a customer asks what’s the difference between product A and product B, they have an answer ready.

Treat customers like numbers, not people.

One of the best ways to make sure your customers never come back is to treat them like numbers. If the only goal is to make money, your customers will pick up on that and move their money to a business that is also there to help people. Small businesses often continue to thrive despite their size because they are small enough to learn their customers names and make them feel welcome, not advertised at. Learning customers names may be impossible for larger businesses, but treating them like people is not.

Waste their time.

Don’t you hate it when someone wastes your time? That’s pretty much a universal pet peeve. Waste your customer’s time, and they’ll go to a business that doesn’t always have long lines or long service turnaround times. Wasted time is more than just long lines though — making them dig through pages and pages on your website before finding contact information is another perfect example of something incredibly simple that can make a big negative impact if it’s not done right.

Sticking to the bare minimum.

Most businesses have at least half a dozen competitors waiting to pick up the slack — do just the bare minimum, and they’ll quickly pick up that slack and your customers along with it. Instead, think of simple ways to go above and beyond the general description of your business. A photo print shop could add delivery service, for example, create a rewards program that discounts products for frequent customers, or add another related service, like colour correction. If you deliver more than you promised to your customer, they’re much more likely to return.

Customer experience is vital to a business’ success — and it’s just as often about what you don’t do as well as what you do.

What Makes The Best Inkjet Wide Format Papers?

What Makes The Best Inkjet Wide Format Papers?

To a client new to printing, paper is just paper — right? While variety may at first feel like a good thing, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. New customers are tossed into a confusing jumble of various finishes, weights, sizes and numbers and what was supposed to be a simple print becomes a confusing myriad of options. But, it’s a printing company’s job to walk the customer through the process of finding the best wide format paper for the job, even when that means limiting the number of options for simpler choices. Here are four factors for printing businesses to consider when stocking paper options.

Finish

The finish of the paper can make a big impact on the overall look of a final product. Satin and glossy finishes tend to make graphics appear sharper, while matte photos have a softer look. Gloss tends to finger print easier than a semi glass or matte. Colours tend to appear richer in matte and the finish also eliminates distracting glare. While there are dozens of finishes in between, including just the basic options makes ordering prints less overwhelming — it’s easy to decide whether or not you want glare, but it’s harder to decide if you want this level of shine or that level of shine.

Weight

Just how durable a print is depends largely on weight. A lightweight paper is inexpensive, easy to roll up and simple to use on large print runs or budget projects. A thicker paper, on the other hand, is less likely to tear and also tends to absorb ink better, making it a better option for prints designed to last. Canvas is durable enough to hang without a frame for years of quality.

Speciality papers

The world of printing papers has become even more varied in recent years and while keeping a hundred different papers in stock isn’t possible, offering a handful of unique papers is a good way to set yourself apart from competing businesses without adding outrageous costs. Metallic finish is a popular option with a great look, while textured fine art papers are also a great way to affordably add options without becoming overwhelming.

Colour

There’s more than one white. Bright white helps colours pop, while some papers have more contrast. While the difference between shades of white is more subtle, the colour can play a role in the overall look of the paper.

Questions to ask before ordering paper

Before choosing what papers to keep in stock, tailor your choices to your business by asking these questions:

  • What’s important to you as a printer?
  • What’s important to your clients?
  • What’s a reasonable range of options to satisfy your client’s needs without overwhelming them?
  • What’s the best way to display samples of each photo type so customers can easily see the differences?

All paper is not created equal. A photo printer’s job is to sift through all the options to find the best print medium for that particular project, turning a buffet into bite-sized projects. By selecting a small range of papers that still covers the best finishes, weights and colours available, you can deliver the best prints without the stress of being faced with hundreds of options.

Image store, or image centre? How to expand a photo printing business

Image store, or image centre? How to expand a photo printing business

What’s in a name? Would a photo print shop by any other name bring in more business? Many small scale photo shops are finding success by expanding into a multi-product image centre. Compared to photo shops, photo centre’s provide a wider range of services, reach a wider customer base and, often, a higher revenue. But is making the move to an image centre right for your printing business? Here are four things to consider when exploring opportunities to expand your photo printing business.

Do you have a full line of products — or the ability to develop one?

Image centres are full service businesses that offer a wide range of products. Customers choose image centres because they can print wedding photos and thank you notes, or wallet prints and large wall canvases, or single prints and albums, in one trip.

If you business doesn’t yet offer such a wide range of services, consider if such an expansion would be possible. Sometimes, expansion is just offering a different product from the same equipment and staff that you already have in house. In other scenarios, expanding product offerings may require an expensive printer purchase or hiring additional staff. Take stock of your current capabilities, and jot down a number of expansion possibilities and what they would involve.

Can you outsource what you can’t do yourself?

Perhaps you have the printing equipment for single prints and canvases, but you can’t bind your own photo albums without taking out a big loan for additional equipment. But, adding to your current equipment isn’t the only option for expansion. Outsourcing to another business may make sense for a lot of local and small businesses.

While the cost per project will always be there, outsourcing often makes sense over expensive equipment that you don’t have the budget, space or staff for. Outsourcing works particularly well for products that customers don’t expect to get back the same day, like albums and photo gifts. Local businesses can often set up an outsourcing that gets products back to customers faster than it would take to order online by working with a large company and offering local pick up.

Do you have the right technology to expand?

Take inventory of your current equipment and its limitations. What’s the largest print your biggest printer can spit out? What’s the fastest turnaround time you can offer? What software do you have, and what programs could speed up the ordering process?

After evaluating your current equipment take a look at the latest tech and how it compares. Could a new software system allow you to fulfill online orders in-store? Could a larger printer drastically expand the number of options for your customers? Has the price on the gear you eyed a few years ago dropped with age? While new printing equipment is an investment, for many businesses, the expanded options and faster turnaround are likely to pay for the printer ten times over.

Do you have a web store?

Local print shops offer undisputed convenience with the ability to pick up prints without waiting for shipping. But, could you make that process even faster with online orders? Online print orders offer a big convenience for customers, further separating local businesses from what large online print shops can’t offer — same day pick up with only minutes spent in store. Adding a web store is often a low to mid-range expense but can bring in more customers and turn first timers into loyal shoppers — and, with shipping, expand a local business into an international one.

Today, anyone can order an image online, but local print centres offer a wide range of products on a short time frame — and expanding could help small print businesses to thrive.