After crawling the app store and searching via Google for the past couple of weeks I still haven't found what I'm looking for.
Of course there are several apps that offer product customization, including image uploads and product previews. So it's not that I can't find them. After reading through faq's, support pages and community post about each of these apps, I always have to conclude that they can't handle what I need.
Onelab (www.onelab.be) is specialised in the production of Fine Art prints, mountings and frames. Besides these physical products we also support all our clients in setting up exhibitions, selling their work, technical assistance and much more. This combination is our USP and what we are known for.
Last year we moved from WooCommerce to Shopify. We wanted a hosted solution. The maintenance of that website was just absorbing to much of our valuable time.
Up to that point we approached our webstore as a marketing tool, not as much as an active way of selling prints, mountings and frames. The products on our store offer potential new customers a perspective on what we have to offer and an indication of pricing.
Before I list everything what I believe we need to make selling online work, I want to stress that quality is of the greatest importance to us. If we can't guarantee the same quality on our online sales compared with the quality we offer through our physical lab, there is just no point of moving forward with this online selling endeavour.
The basic order proces would look something like this. (for a fine art print)
1) Customer selects a paper type on a collection page
2) Once on the product page of that particular paper they select a print size and if they want a white border added or not.
3) After that selection has been made the need to be able to upload their image, possibly adjust the scale of the image and see a preview of the print.
4) After that step is complete they can move forward and click 'add to chart'
This sounds easy and achievable with existing apps. Until you take the following issues into account.
- Each size they can select in step 2 has specific dimensions and needs a minimum resolution to be set so we can guarantee a quality print. This is not a feature we can find on any app.
- We also want to know how the scaling of the images is done. Our customers spend a great amount of time perfecting their images for print. So what happens when they scale up or down their image?
- Color profiles. We recommend our customers to use sRGB or AdobeRGB. That choice is really up to the customer. But when they select one of these two profiles to integrate in the file they supply us, we need to honour that choice. Basically, when they upload a file in AdobeRGB, we need to get a file in AdobeRGB.
- File format. We recommend our customers to use JPEG of TIFF. Some of the apps offer these formats as output. We would prefer receiving TIFF files. But this often means very large files. And given the file size limits these apps can handle, most of them don't make the cut.
I realise this is probably asking for too much. And of course we could venture out and hire someone to build a custom app. But that would cost a lot. It's not that I'm not willing to invest in my business, but I would rather start with an off the shelve solution, feel the market and demand and depending on those findings pull the trigger on dropping the cash to develop a custom solution.
There is actually one more thing that really bothers me. That is the look and feel of most of these apps. Most of them can't be called elegant, let alone clean, minimal and intuitive.
If you want to see an example of a solution that seems to have it all, go and have a look at https://www.artifactuprising.com/photo-prints/large-format-fine-art-prints
This is of course a custom solution, I know. But a solution like this would be our goal in the long run. In the meanwhile we need something that can enable us to get to that point.
Any help, suggestions or valuable input would be highly appreciated.
I use ArtPlacer to "hang" artworks in different spaces. You can either upload an image of your living room o select a room from the Library that they offer.
I don´t think this is precisely what you are looking for, but a nice preview of a Wall Print in space should help marketing your business.
The web is www.artplacer.com
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