Fulfilling Photographic Sales / by Neil Alexander

For the last few days, since Focus, I've been investigating how to fulfil orders from new online gallery. There are so many options available it's been a little daunting. I've been using Photobox for quite a while now, and while they're good, the quality isn't great and I'm not as big fan of their UI. So today I've decided to use The Image File (www.theimagefile.com) to take and process my orders, and I think I'll be using Loxley ROES (www.loxleycolour.com ) for the fulfilment. I'm quite impressed with the Image File's UI, though it doesn't offer all the configuration options I would like. The only other option is to write a system from scratch, and there simply aren't enough hours in the day for this. One of the advantages of the Image File, is that they also offer a stock library (who doesn't these days) and they do seem to be generating decent sales from it. Another plus is they will also provide the e-commerce interface as I simply can't be fagged sorting out https certificates and all that malarkey. I know what and how do it all, its just time consuming.

The Loxley Remote Order Entry System looks great on initial inspection. Once registered you have access to a java application which lists all the products that they do. They range from acrylics to canvas wrapped frames to framed desk prints and many more. You select the folder on your local hard drive where your images are that you want to print, the product that you want to use, the tone, the finish and a whole other plethora of options. Don't know if they will dispatch straight to the client yet and how the packaging will be branded. I think that I would like to do this myself, though it will add to lead times. Their prices ain't all that cheap, though I do remember the quality being very high.

I have investigated the purchasing of any appropriate printer to do all the printing in house, but at this stage it doesn't really seem a viable option. Don't get me wrong, I would love an A2 printer but the downside is the ££.

I do aim to continue doing the B&W prints myself though. These are my babies and I prefer to keep complete control over these.