Selling Prints Online: Always Check Your Work

Check, Double Check, and Check again

Life is never perfect, so it’s inevitable that you may run into a “problem” eventually.  But here are some things you can be mindful of when drop shipping an order to one of your buyers (and may help you avoid problems with your orders).

  • Image used for print is correct
  • Print size is correct/preview looks correct
  • The ship-to address is correct
  • email address entered correctly
  • drop ship box checked

When an order goes out incorrectly, whether due to an address issue or the print itself, it can reflect poorly on your business/website/shop.

Like this:

“I need someone to contact me right away. I just started using you for fulfillment and my customer just contacted me about her print, and I’m extremely embarrassed. It looks like the top 2 inches of my artwork are completely missing from the print. I need this corrected and resent immediately. Please explain to me how this shipped like this. I have other orders that are processing with you now and I need to know you are printing my artwork correctly before sending them to my other customers. You guys did a test print for me last month and it was perfect. Please help!”

She wanted to sell 8×10 framed prints of her artwork.

She did all her pricing research, ordered a starter kit so she could choose a paper, then a framed print to test the product. She was thrilled with the print and decided to move forward. She applied her own graphic design knowledge to creating gorgeous, professional product images of her different pieces of art, established pricing and all of her shop policies (one of which was “ALL SALES ARE FINAL”), set up appropriate business accounts to manage all of her sales, costs, and profits, and contracted a marketing firm to help her with her online presence.

But the one thing she failed to consider was that some of her pieces were different aspect ratios (sizes) than others.  It turned out that the print in question was created using an image with file dimensions of 8″x13.75″, not 8″x10″ as was her test print.

As painful as it was for all involved,  she had “dropped the ball” by failing to properly research her product line and her first few sales not only cost her a profit, but required her to make a decision about how to appease her buyer.

She addressed the issue with us, wondering how we could have shipped it when it was so obviously different than the image file submitted for the order. But due to the composition of the artwork, this wasn’t obvious to anyone except herself (and her buyer).

You Have Complete Control Over your Prints

But as both the artist and business owner, you will always need to be on the look-out for “signs” of potential issues.  Even though her print preview didn’t look “quite right” – a big indication of a potential issue! –  she dismissed it because of her confidence in the product. We later learned that she also had problems setting up her product photos because of this. (She she got around it by “stretching” the artwork in her product examples to fit the frame mock-up she was using. The fact that some of the artwork didn’t fit her 8″x10″ frame mock-ups should have been the biggest red flag.)

Ultimately, she handled the situation quite well. After correcting ALL of her images to fit the print size of 8″x”10 inches, she ordered a replacement for her customer. It was an expensive lesson to learn, and one that could have easily been avoided.

The moral of this story is this:
Never assume, dismiss, or cross your fingers. You never know how it might affect your business.



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