The SEOshop App Store contains a large number of apps that provide new functionalities to an online store. The functionalities of recent newcomers give opportunity to a new kind of selling by creating your own online stock photo sites. Using a SEOshop online store account, together with the apps MyDigitalSales, Automatic Watermarks & Remove the Background, you are able to create a professional photography site that sells different types of images.
In this blog post we will show you step by step how to set up your own online stock photo store and tap into this particular business. So photographers..., get your camera out, start shooting some awesome photos and follow these simple steps to get online.
Online Stock Photo Store
Stock photos are generalized photos of landmarks, landscapes, objects, nature, events, people etc. that are bought and sold on a royalty basis. This is a cost effective way for professionals to obtain images without having to hire a professional photographer.
An online stock photo site therefore is a online store that sells digital copies of the images that they own. In the industry there are some very large players such as ShutterStock and BigStock. But do not fear them as you can build your very own online stock photo site by using the SEOshop platform in an ingenious way.
How to do it? 6 steps
Step 1. Get a SEOshop account
If you don't have an account already, open your own online store by pushing green the"Create you store now" button at the bottom of the right hand panel. This will grant you access to a free demo account with unlimited access to the software for 14 days. This means you can install any app, connector or theme for free during this period (external fees may apply).
STEP 2. Set up Product variants
Once you have access to the SEOshop backoffice the fist thing you have to do is set up product variants in order to sell different sizes (e.g. small (500 * 300px), medium (1000 * 600px), large (2000 * 1200px) & extra large (4000 * 2800px)). Go to"product options" and add a variant and its options.
Please note that a product variant is registered as an individual product. When you decide to go ahead with an online stock photo store it is important to estimate carefully how many different stock photos you want to host and how many variants you will use (i.e. 50 photos in 5 variants/sizes = 250 products).
STEP 3. Add your photos as products
In order to start an online stock photo store you will need to have or create a database of digital photos to which you own the copyright (i.e., you took the pictures). The fact that you own the copyright of these images if very important in order to avoid copyright lawsuits.
You can add your photos as products by going to"Catalogue" >"Products" and clicking on the green"+" button at the top centre of the screen. When adding the product, in the"product option set" choose the variant you set up in the previous step.
As with a normal product, remember to complete all the product information fields to give you online stock photo store optimal search engine visibility.
STEP 4. Use the Remove The Background app to edit your photos
If you are selling digital photos your stock photos are at the same time"the product". For this reason it is more important than ever that your images/products look amazing. There two types of stock-images, 1) images with a transparant background or 2) images without a transparant background. For the first type of image, it definitely requires you to do some digital editing, as you need to remove the backgrounds. There is no objection to digitally editing your images using software such as Photoshop or Sketch to enhance their attractiveness.
Alternatively you can also use the Remove The Background app in order to optimize your images for an affordable price by making them autonomous or removing the background. This is offered for only €1,25/photo. Usually this app is only used for actual images in an online store, where the edited images are published right back into your store. Since you also need to have the larger sized images for selling purposes, it requires you to add these images manually within the app. When you receive the edited images, continue to the next step.
STEP 5. Install the MyDigitalSales app to sell digital files
You must install the MyDigitalSales app in order to set up an online stock photo store. This app permits you to add digital files to your SEOshop products, when someone buys one of your products they will automatically be sent an email containing a link to download the file. You will still manage your products from the SEOshop backoffice but the Shappz admin dashboard allows you to add digital files to the product. Please note to add the possible edited images here, as this is the product that is sent to your customers.
Install the app by clicking on the"Install now" button on the left hand side under the app image.
Once the app is installed you can upload your stock photos in the MyDigitalSales dashboard. Click on the"Digital Products" tab and for each product and its variants select the digital file that is to be sent via email upon purchase.
Step 6. Add watermarks for protection and promotion purposes
In order to not render your online store useless, it is essential to place watermarks in all your product images. A watermark is a distinguishing image or pattern to identify ownership of the copyright. If you don't do this, visitors could simple view the full size product image in your store and download it by right clicking on the image and saving it. With a watermark they can still save the image, but it can't be used for professional purposes if it contains a watermark throughout the image.
Next to that, a watermark over your photos will also help in branding your store. When someone googles for an image that resembles the title and description in your store, the image will be shown along with the watermark. It's thus free promotion".
Some marketing tips
Online stock photo stores are not normal online stores, for this reason there are some special marketing elements you need to consider and act upon extra carefully.
Choose your market
When starting a online stock photo store it is very important to know where on the spectrum you want to position yourself. Do you want to be on the broad end, with a high diversity and little specification in the images you are selling or do you prefer to be a niché webshop containing only images on a specific topic?
Each of these alternatives will have different advantages for your search engine positioning. If you decide to go for the broad option keep in mind that you will be competing with the market leaders, however on the niche front you can still gain a significant competitive advantage with respect to them.
The right design
For an online stock photo store, the way you present your product images is the single most important asset of your store. Make sure to choose a suitable design with clear product photos from the SEOshop Theme Store. Alternatively you can also build your custom design using the HTML/CSS editor.
We have shown that with the arrival of these new apps on the SEOshop platform it has become possible to successfully build and manage an online stock photo store. Make sure to follow all the steps as you can't establish a successful and automated online stock photo store without one of them
As the SEOshop platform is continually evolving and gaining new features the future seems limitless in terms of the types of online stores that can be hosted via our platform.