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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

Lookout Wallmart
Mike Nelson, Photographer
Puyallup | WA | | Posted: 1:03 PM on 07.01.10
->> Discount photography hits the Tacoma market could be one headline. The other could be "buy in bulk and receive deep discounts".

A $350.00 portrait package for $60.00 really? Here's the link.

http://www.facebook.com/AricBeckerPhotography

Thoughts?
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Chuck Liddy, Photographer
Durham | NC | USA | Posted: 1:10 PM on 07.01.10
->> Smooth Mike, smooth.

http://www.sportsshooter.com/members.html?id=9065
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Chuck Liddy, Photographer
Durham | NC | USA | Posted: 1:11 PM on 07.01.10
->> P.S. Me can't wait to see where this thread goes........
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Craig Mitchelldyer, Photographer, Assistant
Portland | OR | USA | Posted: 1:13 PM on 07.01.10
->> I think it's smart. Good for Aric. Using groupon to bring new customers in. It's a one day thing, not an all the time thing. If nothing else it will get his name in front of people that had never heard of him before. I personally think the discount is a little deep, but if it works and he gets 5-10 new clients that pay full price next time. Good for him.

I'm interested to see how it works, if at all.
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Craig Mitchelldyer, Photographer, Assistant
Portland | OR | USA | Posted: 1:16 PM on 07.01.10
->> I'll add that I LOVE groupon. I see all kinds of deals from restaurants and places I would never know about if not for them. and I never hear people complain about discounts for those types of places...
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Erik Markov, Photographer
anywhere | IN | | Posted: 1:19 PM on 07.01.10
->> well I think we need to backup a little bit. It is a groupon offer which is a one day limited offer, and lots of businesses use groupon to get new customers interested hoping for their repeat biz after trying them once. Usually groupon is half the reg price, so yea this is significantly lower. I think usually there is a set # of people that can buy in, although not sure about that and I think that # is different depending on the biz. Not sure I would go with it only because I have heard of a number of places getting swamped from huge # of people buying the offer, then not being able to come thru on it. it doesn't look like the type of thing he's going to do all the time, it could be successful for him or it could ruin him, it just depends.
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Thomas E. Witte, Photographer, Photo Editor
Cincinnati | OH | USA | Posted: 1:56 PM on 07.01.10
->> Thoughts? Yea.

Thought one:
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tact

Thought two: I just discussed this in another thread the other day; the supply of photographers is only going up while the demand is holding steady. That means prices can only go down. This is most noticeable in the consumer areas like weddings, senior portraits, baby portraits etc.

Thought three: It's a marketing ploy, not a new pricing structure. Ten people take him up on the offer. People love the price but only have to like the photos (because everyone loves saving money above all else). They brag about it to their friends. Ten of their friends like the quality and call to try to get the same deal. Aric says "Awe, sorry, you missed out on that special. But I'll tell you what, since So-and-so referred you to me, I'll knock $50 off the package for you. Half of them take him up on it and the cycle continues.
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Brian Dowling, Photographer
Philadelphia | PA | USA | Posted: 2:10 PM on 07.01.10
->> I love Groupon. I'd be scared to see how many people sign up though. Maybe he has a 50 person limit? A local bakery sold 100,000 cupcakes in one day on there!
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Michael McNamara, Photographer, Photo Editor
Phoenix | AZ | USA | Posted: 2:17 PM on 07.01.10
->> You're barking up the wrong tree.

A friend who is a portrait photographer here in Phoenix did a groupon deal too (similar to Aric's), and I thought it was a sweet deal. Yeah, she severely cut her sitting fee, but still made a killing on prints (which is where portrait photographers really make their money).
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Delane B. Rouse, Photographer, Photo Editor
Washington | DC | US | Posted: 2:40 PM on 07.01.10
->> "When many retailers are struggling to survive in this economy, Groupon has become their savior. According to Andrew Mason, Grouponís founder and CEO, nearly all of their deals have succeeded so far. And there is currently a 120 deals waiting list in Chicago alone. As you can tell, Groupon uses collective buying to create a win-win for local businesses and their customers. No wonder so many merchants are eager to participate."
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Israel Shirk, Photographer, Assistant
Boise | ID | US | Posted: 3:54 PM on 07.01.10
->> The reason he's discounting from $350 is because a normal sitting fee for the area is, oh, $125-150, no CD, no prints.

He doesn't know what to price himself or how to sell under normal conditions, so surprise! It's a little overcompensation! It happens to everyone initially.
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Craig Mitchelldyer, Photographer, Assistant
Portland | OR | USA | Posted: 4:12 PM on 07.01.10
->> Isreal, but he is including prints. thus the higher package price and is including enough to be worth it, but he can still up sell too.

I hate it when people get on others for pricing or advertising. You (not you persoanlly, just people on the attack) have no idea of

1) his market (Seattle and Boise are two very different places)
2) His overhead and CODB and
3) Marketing plan

everyone does things differently. See Tom Witte's post.
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Israel Shirk, Photographer, Assistant
Boise | ID | US | Posted: 4:20 PM on 07.01.10
->> Thanks Craig. That was very helpful.
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Israel Shirk, Photographer, Assistant
Boise | ID | US | Posted: 4:28 PM on 07.01.10
->> Sorry... Frustrated about something else...
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Chuck Liddy, Photographer
Durham | NC | USA | Posted: 5:05 PM on 07.01.10
->> Mike should know about the market...I Mapquested the two towns these guys are from and it said Puyallup,Wa. to Olympia, Wa. 32.4 miles........
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Delane B. Rouse, Photographer, Photo Editor
Washington | DC | US | Posted: 5:51 PM on 07.01.10
->> I think it's pretty obvious that Aric is making an attempt to drum up some business. If it works for him that's great. I hope that the nest time I chat with him he gives me all the details. If it doesn't work...I hope he gives me all the details.


I saved this quote from somewhere on the interwebs:

"Stop worrying about your competition: Rather than spend all your time and energy frustrated about what other photographers are doing, use that energy to grow YOUR skills and reputation."



Have Fun. Make Great Pictures.
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Mike Nelson, Photographer
Puyallup | WA | | Posted: 6:13 PM on 07.01.10
->> Thomas.. sorry I wasn't aware I needed to sugar coat things. Nor was this an attack on any one photographer. It was a question on Deep discounts and how effective they are. Had I put my thoughts in first I would have perhaps "led the witness". What I had hoped for and found was lots of points of views.

Chuck.. I'm aware of the market, as you pointed out I'm just up the road. However I don't do weddings. And again this wasn't a personal attack it was and is a question about discounting. over and over again I've read many of you say once you discount, or offer your services your labeled as "that guy" however this doesn't seem to be the case with portrait photography it only applies to sports photography as Thomas has explained it, which I find interesting.

I've worked with Aric in the past, he has all the talent in the world behind the lens when it comes to weddings and portraits.

I'll be watching to see how it goes.
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Chris Mackler, Photographer
Cape Girardeau | MO | United States | Posted: 6:39 PM on 07.01.10
->> The business side of Groupon:

http://grouponworks.com/

When used correctly, I think it's a pretty clever marketing ploy.
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Phil Hawkins, Photographer
Fresno | ca | usa | Posted: 7:42 PM on 07.01.10
->> I got that beat:
http://www.groupon.com/fresno/deals/mark-janzen-photography
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Thomas E. Witte, Photographer, Photo Editor
Cincinnati | OH | USA | Posted: 7:45 PM on 07.01.10
->> Sugarcoating has nothing to do with it.

Equating someone to wallmart (sic), calling them "discount" and inserting commentary like this: "A $350.00 portrait package for $60.00 really?" make it come off like you're asking for opinions while holding a baseball bat and molotov cocktail.
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Thomas E. Witte, Photographer, Photo Editor
Cincinnati | OH | USA | Posted: 7:51 PM on 07.01.10
->> Phil, and 110 people took him up on the offer, that's pretty impressive.

A lot of people will look at it and say "holy crap, all that work for only $6000" But they're not seeing the big picture. The price is chosen to at WORST break even, so it's more like "holy crap, look at all that guerrilla marketing."
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Randy Sartin, Photographer
Knoxville | TN | USA | Posted: 7:55 PM on 07.01.10
->> I come up with some new huge discount deal every 3 to 4 months to draw people into my studio. Most (not all, had at least one flop) work extremely well $$$ wise for me!
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Phil Hawkins, Photographer
Fresno | ca | usa | Posted: 8:17 PM on 07.01.10
->> Correction, Thomas; that wasn't MY deal, it was another photographer in Fresno.
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April Tse, Photographer
Mountain View | Ca | | Posted: 8:24 PM on 07.01.10
->> I think some business owners treat groupons as advertising costs.

In Colorado, a photographer offered a 3 for 1 deal for about $70 sitting fee (dvd slideshow, one small print, etc), and over 300 people signed up. So... about $23,000 + in sitting fee alone for the next year and clients will probably buy more prints. All of this from a deal that lasts only 24 hours... (source:
http://virtualphotographystudio.com/photographyblog/2009/12/14/photographer.../)

In reality, groupons take 1/2 of the charged amount and in my area, they have a long list of photographers in the pipeline to be featured. (A photographer friend contacted them and inquired on how to be included). That photog in CO really only earned $11,000+ and a list of new clients.

Groupons isn't for everyone, but might work for some...
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Michael Fischer, Photographer
Spencer | Ia | USA | Posted: 11:16 PM on 07.01.10
->> A friend of mine who is a successful portrait/wedding photographer in St. Louis had to convince Groupon to let him try since other photographer's attempts had pretty much stunk up the place.

Business was slow and cash flow was bad. Forgive me, I don't remember all of the specifics of the offer, but he netted $24K on a $50 sitting with prints. No retouching included and enlargements were the add on.

My friend had a good reputation and that was a key driver of the success. Coupons have a 12 month shelf life. He's picked up weddings off of it.

If you're going to do this, be first. Why? Because, this kind of promotion has a limited number of buyers at a given price point. Over time, the price point has to be lower to drive similar numbers. Not good. You have to be very careful, do this too often and consumers won't buy unless you drop your pants.

Your other option is to find another offer that has cache with the marketplace.. do something different that has appeal. You have to do other things to stimulate the market.

In my other business, we were up 13.7% in June over 2009, but still behind 2008's numbers but the gap narrowed. My advice to anyone is this: Keep promoting. Don't let up. Increase your advertising budget. One month can be 50% off X, the following month it's "Save $200", the next month it's buy one get one FREE. The key is to know your cost, know what you need to make and then promote - promote - promote. Look like you've got the HOT deal but get enough of the consumers to step up ( if you know how to merchandise you know what I'm saying) to the higher margin so that the margin blend you require is where you need it to be.

Footsteps. You have to have footsteps thru your doors. DO NOT TRY TO PRICE MATCH EVERYTHING THE COMPETITION DOES.

Groupon is a tool. Don't over use it. Vary the offer if you're going to do it more than once.The other thing that you should do is figure a percentage into your pricing for discounting. Thomas is right when he said you offer $50 off. The trick is to build the discount into the pricing in the first place. If you need to make $500 at regular margin to shoot a family portrait, you don't price it at $500 - you price it a $550 or $600. You can give the discount. YOU HAVE TO STILL JUSTIFY WHY YOU CHARGE WHAT YOU CHARGE, but most people buy from people they like and when you offer then $100 off... life can be good.


Finally: In one respect,this a good because this drives the part time shooters out of the business. Once they lose their price advantage because their pricing delta shrinks, they are toast.

Sorry if I rambled, I'd way short on sleep and going to bed.
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Steven E. Frischling, Photographer
| | | Posted: 12:52 AM on 07.02.10
->> Keep in mind that Groupon takes 50% of your fee, if your Promo is $60, Groupon is taking $30 ... if your Promo is 55, Groupon is taking $27.50 of that.

I think a lot of folks are missing that in their price point equation...at least I have heard that from a few wedding/portrait photogs who used Groupon and somehow missed that important piece of information. I don't know how you'd miss the part about the percentage you'd be paying out, but I guess some folks do.


I think Groupon is a very interesting concept for portrait/wedding/studio photogs and has some significant marketing potential as long as the photogs factor in all the factors.
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Michael C. Weimar, Photographer
St. Petersburg | FL | USA | Posted: 1:51 AM on 07.02.10
->> Apparently his marketing is working, you all are sure talking about him a whole bunch.
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Gil Batzri, Photographer, Assistant
Oakland | CA | USA | Posted: 2:33 AM on 07.02.10
->> Looking at the comments on Mark Janzen's groupon, it seems like he made out well. He has 110 booked jobs, that are prepaid, and he is charging a reasonable amount for extras. His package is fairly basic, and the deal goes for a year, so things can be paced to not kill him, and some number of folks are not going to redeem the order in that period.

This seems like a great deal for his business, as well as for the customers, I don't see how you can go wrong. If you make the numbers work. He gets ~2800 up front, and then has to fulfill perhaps 60% of them? and then there is the add-ons, which can make the job worth it in a hurry.

Win-Win to me.

Good Luck Aric!
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Steven E. Frischling, Photographer
| | | Posted: 2:43 AM on 07.02.10
->> "A lot of people will look at it and say "holy crap, all that work for only $6000" But they're not seeing the big picture."

Actually, of the $6050 in sales via Groupon he'd get $3025, since Groupon takes 50% ... that is a lot of work for $3025.
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Aleksi Lepisto, Photographer
Sacramento | CA | United States | Posted: 9:39 AM on 07.02.10
->> People can get on each other about pricing all they want, but if someone's trying to feed their kids and significant others with their work, they can trade for food and shelter for all I care.

I hope it pays off for him. Not cool to act superior.
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Mark Peters, Photographer
Highland | IL | USA | Posted: 1:50 PM on 07.02.10
->> They may take 50% of the coupon level but they don't get a cut of all of the ancillary sales - correct? As such, even if they take 1/2 of the $6,050 that doesn't mean he will only make $3,025.

Carpet cleaning companies and dept. store studios have this tactic of low offers for basic services with a big upsell potential down to a science...and they seem to still be in business.
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Mark Loundy, Photo Editor
San Jose | CA | USA | Posted: 2:06 PM on 07.02.10
->> "There is nothing new under the sun..." Remember "Crazy Eddie?" "I'M OUT OF MY MIND!!!!!"

Marketing techniques like this probably go back to Og selling stone wheels. "You buy three wheel, get fourth free. Me even throw in free saber tooth cat."

Businesspeople who experiment with different marketing techniques are to be praised.

--Mark
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Delane B. Rouse, Photographer, Photo Editor
Washington | DC | US | Posted: 11:11 PM on 07.25.10
->> Check this out:

http://www.groupon.com/deals/sarah-esther-photography-atlanta?utm_campaign=...

She sold almost 2000 at $50 each (50/50 split with Groupon)
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David Harpe, Photographer
Denver | CO | USA | Posted: 11:22 PM on 07.25.10
->> She sold almost 2000 at $50 each (50/50 split with Groupon)

Half goes to groupon, so she's down to $25/hr. for one hour sessions. Burning the DVDs, driving, addressing the mailer, etc. will cost at least an hour, so she's down to $12.50/hr. Add insurance, overhead, equipment maintenance and she'd be FAR better off working at a McJob...
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Will Godfrey, Photographer
Atlanta | GA | United States | Posted: 12:16 AM on 07.26.10
->> Here is an interesting little wrench to throw into the Groupon equation: Groupon sets the price! They look at the market and they decide how much you will sell it for. You still get to craft your offer, but they decide how much you make. Seems like a great idea, but only if I set my own price.

Just my thoughts.

-Will
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Jeremy Harmon, Photo Editor, Photographer
Salt Lake City | UT | USA | Posted: 12:47 AM on 07.26.10
->> Let's say it takes only two hours to complete each of the 1,995 sessions she sold.

1,995 orders x 2 hours per order = 3,990 hours to fill the orders.

3990 hours / 52 weeks in a year = 76.73 hours a week to fill the orders in one year assuming you don't have any extra work.

With the 50/50 split she is getting $25.00 per job.

$25.00 per job x 1,995 jobs = $49,875

For a person willing to work 77 hours a week for an entire year to make about $50k this is probably the best thing ever.
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Patrick Fallon, Student/Intern, Photographer
Columbia | MO | USA | Posted: 1:02 AM on 07.26.10
->> Don't forget that there is also a percentage of people who will pay, but never cash it in, but that money is still in your pocket the day the offer closes.

Estimates for gift card redemption rates are about 10%-20% are never redeemed, maybe more. Assuming that these are 'savvy' customers, perhaps just 10%.

Thats about $5K.
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John Strohsacker, Photographer
Baltimore | MD | USA | Posted: 9:10 AM on 07.26.10
->> Grouponís CEO on Coupons and Start-Ups - June 9, 2010

http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2010/06/09/groupons-ceo-on-online-coupons-and-s.../
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Clark Brooks, Photo Editor, Photographer
Urbana | IL | USA | Posted: 10:38 AM on 11.14.12
->> Groupon not such a good deal afterall... especially for merchants:

"A Raymond James survey of roughly 115 merchants that used daily deals services during the fall found that 39 percent of merchants said they were not likely to run another Groupon promotion over the next couple of years. The top reasons cited were high commission rate and low rate of repeat customers gained through offering a promotion.

The survey also found that 32 percent of the merchants reported losing money on the promotions, and nearly 40 percent said the Groupon offer was less effective than other types of marketing."

and for a few employees ...

"... Groupon laid off 80 employees last week, ..."

http://www.businessinsider.com/groupon-fights-to-survive-2012-11?
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