We very rarely share the positive reviews we receive from our clients but the other day we received a pretty special one from one of our new Print Shop users, Damien Lovegrove. He's a "go for it" guy who'd launched his store within a week of deciding to use Print Shop, and within days of that made his first large format canvas sale.
We're sharing his review for two reasons:
- It offers great advice for anyone starting out — why he chose the platform, and the challenges he faced when setting it up.
- If you're already using Print Shop we'd love your thoughts over on the insider about what features you'd like us to introduce to help improve sales.
Here's Damien's review:
I took the plunge and asked my Facebook friends about art print sales systems. Within minutes I got a plethora of replies to my post and various options were suggested to me. I went through each one in turn looking at design integration, pricing model, customisation options and feedback ratings from users. I discounted them all for one thing or another until I came across Print Shop by Queensberry. The few sample galleries that I saw at the time had different looks and they were all clean. I dug a bit deeper and I soon realised that everything that is needed to stand out is available and customisable on the back end of the platform.
I’ve known about Queensberry wedding albums since the last century and way back then, there were just two album options available in the UK if you wanted the best. One came from Australia and the other was Queensberry from New Zealand. Their print and production quality is legendary so it was with a confident feeling that I dug a little deeper. I looked at a selection of real customers’ print shops and I was hooked.
Within 24 hours of enquiring I had a login and two Zoom meetings in the diary, one with Jo Newman in the UK and one with Alex Baugh in New Zealand. Jo looks after Queensberry’s UK clients and she took me through the product offerings, website systems for building price lists, and the payment gateway settings etc. The day after, I had an evening Zoom meeting with Alex and she took me through the customisation and integration settings, plus she gave me some hints on how to make lovely room set display photographs. I found this blog post extremely useful: https://www.queensberry.com/blog/stock-images-to-show-art-on-the-wall-1
I went through the options in the blog post and I bought into two of them, ‘Peko’ on the Creative Market platform and ‘ArtRooms' from the Apple store on my iPhone. Peko is nice and easy to use if you are familiar with Photoshop smart objects but the results are a bit boring and fairly limited. I output 30 designs from Peko and uploaded them to my Print Shop. I was underwhelmed with most of them so I turned to ArtRooms.
I’d left ArtRooms to last because it looked like a faff. My first 30 photographs for the print shop were living on my laptop in full resolution and prepared for print, more on that later. ArtShop is an app on my iPhone and I’m so glad that Airdrop exists. It’s a life saver. Here are the processes I went through to make my room sets in ArtShop:
- Batch process my full resolution photographs to fit 2048px x 2048px using a Photoshop action.
- Upload the complete set to my iPhone with one click using Airdrop.
- Open each photograph in turn using ArtRooms and then choose rooms to suit the image.
- Resize and position the artwork and select frame options.
- Adjust the shadow depth to make the photograph frame believable for the room lighting.
- Save the finished composite to the phone.
- Batch send the set of finished artworks to the computer using Airdrop.
- Resize and sharpen the ArtRooms output to match the native size of Print Shop display images using a Photoshop action.
- Upload each shot in turn to Print Shop. Drag and drop to change the order of the display images.
I was about 16 hours and two bottles of wine in at this point and I was really excited to see it all coming together. The next stage for me was to learn how to use the page builder. I started by creating this contact page and integrated my Mailer Lite sign up form.
I must just mention my process for preparing my high res artwork. This is a very important step and must not be overlooked. This process has to happen before the room set designs get underway. I studied the print and product sizes available and I decided to make up custom price lists based upon aspect ratios. I’ve been using a mix of 4:3 and 3:2 cameras and in order to avoid odd crops I kept these files separate. To make things more complicated some of my images are cropped slightly and occasionally the ‘A’ paper size ratio of 1.414:1 works best. Then I have some square prints to consider and a few 2:1 panoramas too.
My Print Shop price lists are 2:1, 3:2, 4:3, 1:1 and ‘A’ sizes. I opened each high res shot in turn and added a 400 to 600 pixel (depending upon original file resolution) white border before trimming back to the exact ratio that was best for the image. Then I set the colour space to sRGB and uploaded the file as print ready. I added the white space because I like the way it looks on ‘art’ paper prints. The finished prints are easier to mount and frame too. The canvas builder allows the customer to reposition and scale the image so the white border can be cropped off perfectly.
Once my gallery and contact pages were completed, Alex Baugh, the driving force behind Print Shop, helped me match my house style and build the menu system. I then studied what she had done to learn how to manage any changes in house further down the line.
I ordered some test prints to ensure that I knew what the customer could expect to receive and to cross reference with my studio calibration. I wanted to see the texture of the various art prints and the cart process from a customers perspective. I can easily assign different paper types to my artwork in due course by changing the price list associated with that photograph.
I think the main thing to consider here is that Print Shop is not a sales platform. Having a print shop doesn’t guarantee sales, It gives people the opportunity to buy your artwork. The selling is up to you. Queensberry do have a fabulous blog and some great social media integration tools.
Thank you Damien for the lovely review and thanks everyone for reading. If you have any questions about Print Shop please email us here. Otherwise feel free to join our Facebook group the Insider and share any features you'd like us to introduce to help increase your sales and turn Print Shop into a "sales platform"!