PhotoMerchant is a simple but deep website publishing platform made specifically for the photography industry. PhotoMerchant allows professional and emerging photographers to build their own unique photography website, upload and share their photos and make them available for sale as print products or digital files. PhotoMerchant is turn-key solution that provides photographers with all the tools they need to manage and market their business.
Built to make local photographers more profitable, PhotoMerchant is currently available in Australia and the USA with plans to expand the service into other foreign markets.
I made this video in 24 hours from go to whoah… I wrote the script, had it voiced, designed the graphics, animated it, rendered it, edited it, exported it and (I think) nailed it. Anyway, I was pretty proud of how I turned this one around given the enourmous time constraints.
It’s difficult to adequately describe the depth of tasks that are performed in building a start-up business, suffice to say that I touch all parts of the business and am responsible for it’s growth and success. As one of three co-founders I am responsible for the design, branding, UX, marketing and communication requirements of the business; “Words and Pictures” (if you will) while my partners look after the technology and development “Code” and business and financial management “Spreadsheets”.
At the core of everything though, is my passion to create an application that has a fundamental impact on the way photographers build and grow their business. I want to deliver a service that makes photographers more profitable and I want to be part of the solution in creating an economically and creatively sustainable industry. And, I want to have fun getting there.
- Product management
- Project management
- Web design
- Interface design (inc. wireframe & prototyping)
- Social, email, print and event-based marketing
- Video production (design, editing, script, voiceover and animation)
- Customer relationship management
- Blogging and copywriting
The PhotoMerchant Web Application is the heart of our business and our customers businesses. The application allows the photographer to the content, design and accessibility of their website, manage their orders, setup products and retail pricing, manage their customers and financial information, as well as view animated financial charts and traffic analytics. In conjunction with the development of new functionality, customer feedback and our own internal review processes; the interface continues to be refined for improved performance and ease of use. Here are some screenshots of various elements of the web application:
An example of our registration page, designed to be minimalist but reinforce their reasons for signing up
The photographer organises their pictures into galleries
Example of a PhotoMerchant published website by Nathaniel Taylor
The shopping cart contains only the related products assigned to that gallery
The PhotoMerchant corporate website has been redesigned, rebuilt and re-iterated many times over the past few years. The content of the site is stripped back, designed to tease the user into signing up to the application and experience the service first hand. By constantly reviewing and acting on our traffic analytics, eye tracking, conversion performance and feedback, we’ve redesigned and rebuilt our website three times in the past 3 years. Our fourth iteration is currently in development.
Example heat-map overlay showing which elements are engaging users the most (and least)
An earlier version of the PhotoMerchant website (which I personally prefer much more)
Email marketing is one of the key marketing tools we use to engage and promote our product; combining product release information, offers and low-sell content designed to engage customers with our brand. Each broadcast is locally targeted by geography and is split tested between subject line and content. Auto responders (or triggered campaigns) are also continually optimised based on engagement performance and customer interactivity. I am responsible for the strategy, copy, design and deployment of all our email marketing campaigns including:
- Monthly newsletters
- Trial auto responders
- Business Tips auto responders
- Dedicated promotional broadcasts
Social, Networking and Community Strategies
Building a healthy community photographers has always been a PhotoMerchant goal. Building a community through social networks has been as much about marketing as it has customer service and brand building, with each social network offering a unique point of engagement. Our primary communities are:
- Our customer service Helpdesk
- The Awesome Photography Blog (tumblr)
- Twitter: @photomerchant and @photoquotes_au
From the outset we’ve used Facebook and Twitter to engage with our customers and to reach a broader community of photographers passionate about their businesses’ success. Our helpdesk is the primary support platform for engaging with our customers and ensuring their complete satisfaction. The Awesome Photography blog is a place for us to share our love of photography. Our company blog is constantly fed with engaging articles, customer interviews, product release information and special promotions. we use our blog as place to announce feature releases and special offers.
Video is used across all of our online assets and marketing channels. I produce, write, design, animate, edit, voice, compress and distribute all our videos including our feature tour videos, testimonials videos (currently in post), screen-cast tutorials, webinars and ad-hoc video newsletters featurettes. You can see most of the video on our dedicated video channel photomerchant.tv
Not everything we do is virtual; face-to-face communications are another essential ingredient in our social strategy. To date we’ve had great success running physical “Meet-ups” around Australia and presented over ten “Masterclasses” across the mid-west and west coast of the USA. I’ve presented at trade shows, local photography communities and corporations extolling the virtues of our platform and services. These engagements have allowed our customers to get an even deeper appreciation of who we are and what our brand stands for