How to Run a Profitable University Photo Store

Now that you know how to start a photo store from our post, How to Sell Your School’s Images without Breaking NCAA Rules, it’s time to figure out how to make that photo store a success.

Martin Vloet, our University Solutions Manager, knows a thing or two about photo stores. During 14 years as senior photographer and brand manager at the University of Michigan, he launched the Michigan Photo Store to six-figure success.

Here are Martin’s tips for running a successful university photo store.

Get organized.

Visual asset management is the key to running a university photo store. A system like Libris, an NCAA compliant, cloud-based visual asset management solution, streamlines the process of uploading, organizing, sharing and selling your photos. With the speed this system provides, you can upload your photos right after the game and start selling while people are still celebrating the win. And, as your photo store starts to generate revenue, the system will pay for itself and offset your department’s other costs.

Get the shot that represents the significance of the day.

When the University of Michigan took on Notre Dame in the first night game at their new stadium, Martin knew it wasn’t about whether they won or lost. It was about the history of the event. Martin got a wide shot of the stadium under the lights that captured the crowd’s energy. That Monday (after Michigan managed a win in the last minute of the game) his team sent an email out to season ticket holders, donors and community members promoting the photo for sale in the photo store. For two days, they saw orders every 30 seconds, and the photos brought in between $50,000 and $60,000 that week. As Martin laughs, that’s visual asset management for a decade.

Design makes a difference.

A well-designed special edition treatment can make the difference between a nice photo to check out online and a keepsake you want to hang on your wall. When you create a special edition, use your best photos that capture the spirit of the game. And, make sure the design is frame-ready so it’s one step closer to standing out in your team room.

Note the value of your product.

Don’t undersell your photos. Even if you want to price your photos affordably, create a high-end option for people who want a luxury product. Give yourself options – your customers will thank you.

Next up: Find out how the University of Tennessee is celebrating the school’s visual legacy and generating revenue in Case Study: University of Tennessee’s Vol Photo Store.

Plus, learn more about photo stores in our post, Everything You Need to Know about Running a Successful NCAA Compliant Photo Store (complete with video tips from our university expert, Martin Vloet).

Watch Video: How to Build A Successful University Photo Store

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