Today I am super excited to announce a major new feature for the WideRange Galleries 4.0 admin program: Print Sales Statistics! If you sell a substantial number of prints through your website, statistics with visual charts and graphs can provide valuable insight into which photos sell, when they sell, and where they sell. Not only is this information just interesting to see, it can help you make more informed marketing decisions.
With this new integrated statistics tool, you can chart your print sales by history, years, months, photos, print sizes, display options, customers, countries, and states – and for any of those you can sort the data by number of prints sold or gross income. A variety of interactive charts and maps are provided to help visualize all this data. Better yet, by adjusting a couple settings in your PayPal account (see below), the statistics program will automatically keep track of your print sales from now on.
I’ve always had a vague idea about which of my own photos are the most popular, but I haven’t really kept tabs on any info beyond that. So I was quite surprised by a couple things I saw from my statistics from the last four years of sales. I will share a few of these tidbits so you can see how useful these statistics can be. (I’ve blocked out the numbers for privacy).
I already knew that several of my prints are the bestsellers, but I was amazed to see that just two photos have provided over 1/4 of all my print sales income! I didn’t realize just how important those few photos were to my business. What this tells me is that I need to keep those two photos front-and-center on my website to have them seen by as many visitors as possible. I’ve also combed through my homepage slideshow to make sure that it features the best selling photos rather than a bunch of random ones. I will also try to feature these photos more prominently in other forms of marketing, whether as prints hanging in galleries or cafes, or sharing them more often through the social media networks.
I was also interested to see if there are patterns of high sales and downtimes from month to month. As you can see in the chart above which is a total compilation of all sales organized by month, there’s been just a bit of fluctuation, with the obvious Christmas bump happening in November and December.
By looking at sales by state, it’s clear how important my Colorado customers are. But I was surprised to see California pulling up a strong second.
Ok, it’s obvious by now that I’m pretty pumped about having these sales statistics for my own photo business. If you are a client with admin version 4.0 or greater, read on to learn how to get the statistics set up.
How to set up the Statistics
***As of July 2020, you no longer have to do any special configuration in your PayPal account for the print statistics; it all just works automatically! The following directions are only here as an archive reference.
The first thing to do is to hook up PayPal. I have done everything else for you, but you have to do this part since I don’t have (or want) access to your PayPal account. Here goes:
* Note that PayPal often changes their interface and menu labels, and these also might vary depending on what type of PayPal account you have. But although the exact menu locations described below might be a bit different in your account, the gist is the same and it’s just a matter of poking around to find these pages.
1) Log in to your PayPal account at www.paypal.com.
2) From the main dashboard page when you log in, find the Account Settings link, which may be located in the account name menu at upper right.
3) Click into the Website Payments menu on the left side.
4) Click to update the Website preferences.
5) Select Auto Return: On.
6) For the Return URL enter https://www.YOURSITE.COM/linklokipnret.php obviously replacing YOURSITE.COM with whatever your website address is.
7) Below, select Payment Data Transfer: On.
8) You can leave the rest of the options on that page how they are, and click SAVE.
9) On this same page (you may need to refresh it), in the Payment Data Transfer section there should be listed an Identity Token (a long string of random letters/numbers). Copy the entire Identity Token.
10) Go to your gallery website admin panel, to Settings > Payments, and paste the Identity Token into the PayPal Identity Token field there and save.
11) Back in your PayPal account, return to the main Account Settings page and the Website Payments tab. Find the Instant Payment Notifications and click Update.
12) Then, click Edit Settings.
13) For the Notification URL enter https://www.YOURSITE.COM/linklokipn.php again replacing YOURSITE.COM with your website.
14) Select Receive IPN messages (Enabled) and click SAVE.
That’s it! Only 14 steps! 😉 If you complete these steps properly, your print sales will now be automatically recorded to the admin statistics database. An extra bonus is that with this setup, when your customers finish paying in PayPal, they’ll be taken back to a “thank you” page on your website.
But what about all your past print sales? Well, unfortunately that will require manual data entry work on your part. You can look up your past sales either by searching for “PayPal” payment notification emails in your email application if you’ve saved all those, or by logging into your PayPal account again and going through your transaction history.
Once you have your info ready, go to your WideRange Galleries admin control panel, and go to Sales > Print Sales. You can enter your sales one by one there.
I will warn you, manually entering your past print sales is tedious at best. But, I do think it’s worth the effort to be able to have a comprehensive set of data to analyze. If you’d rather not sit at the computer doing robot work, then don’t worry about it – but just realize that you’ll probably have to wait quite a while to gain enough new automatically-generated data to make the statistics meaningful.
Please let me know if you have any questions about any of this. I hope you enjoy the new feature!