We often get asked what is required for a photo & personalisation commerce business to be successful. We had the privilege of sitting down in an interview with Enrique Elguero, founder of Imprimart, trading as Fotosmile in Mexico to get some insights. Enrique and his team realised in 1989 that the world was moving toward a digital future and were early adopters of photobook production.
Taopix: What motivated you to start a photo commerce business?
Enrique: In 1989 we started with the latest technology by bringing the first desk top publishing bureau to Mexico, we sold this business and HP convinced us early on that with the right equipment and partners, we could become the preferred photobook supplier in Mexico and Latin America.
Taopix: How long has it been since you’ve been in this photo commerce & personalisation business?
Enrique: We have been in this business since 2007, hard to believe it’s already been 12 years!
Taopix: What challenges did you face when you started your business, and how did you solve them?
Enrique: After deciding to go ahead with our photo gift business, we invested in a Brazilian software that we translated from Portuguese to Spanish. They then reneged on their commitment to support the software leaving us to find a new provider. We then found a company based in Germany who seemed to check all our requirement-boxes. After investing into this software, they had significant delays and kept postponing our delivery date. We wanted to go live with our business as soon as possible and were not willing to wait another 6 months, this company was not reliable and we couldn’t risk waiting and still not having it ready. Finally, we found a local company and implemented their software. We worked well together and felt that this software integrated well to our production as well. Unfortunately, a few years into the partnership, they informed us that they are moving out of this market and we were left stranded again! We started researching and looking in to a company that we could partner with and that could evolve with our business long term. After some time, we decided that Taopix is the best solution for us, and that they were able to understand the intricacies of our business.
Taopix: Did you consider any other software products for your business and if so, why did you choose Taopix?
Enrique: We looked at some other companies, but Taopix time seemed to us to be the most complete software dedicated 100% to the development of photobooks and other photocentric products. About 7 years ago we made a complete comparison and we have found that Taopix are the only ones dedicated to both a Desktop and online solution. For our market, a desktop application is very important as users in our regions are more comfortable using Desktop software.
Taopix: How has Taopix helped to grow your business?
Enrique: It’s important for us to be in control of our entire process, and the ability to adjust and create our products easily and efficiently has played a big role in our success. We have always felt like Taopix are more than business partners, but part of our family. We’ve always received personalised attention and assistance whenever we’ve needed it.
Taopix: Many businesses in Latin America believe it’s impossible to have a successful business online and much more difficult without a brick & mortar store, what would you say to them?
Enrique: No doubt product customisation and online sales is the future, having an online business, means that you can expand your offering to areas outside of Latin America. This removes the “ceiling” for revenue that would be there when only having a brick & mortar store. Of course establishing your online business takes effort and time, but if you are willing to invest your resources, the outcome will be worth it.
Taopix: How important is social media and marketing in running a successful e-commerce store?
Enrique: Running marketing campaigns and promotions that take your customer from a click to purchase is very important and leads to quick buying decisions. Visibility on social media is very important, the majority of your customers are spending time on social media platforms and it’s likely that they will remember your business when they are in need of your services!
Taopix: What advice do you have for anyone that is struggling to get started or doesn’t believe that the investment is worth the effort?
Enrique: If you are willing to put in the time and the resources, you will be able to make a success of your photo commerce business! You need to constantly evolve and see where your market is moving and make sure your customers can easily go from browsing to buying.
Fotosmile have also become a print service provider and they offer printing services as a fulfilment partner for many other print companies and print brokers, for more information about these services, you can contact Fotosmile directly here. We’d like to thank Enrique for taking the time to share his experiences with us and giving us a sneak peek into what it takes to become a successful photo commerce business.
If you’d like to start your journey in becoming a successful photo personalisation commerce business, or if you would like to know how Taopix can help you grow your online photo business, get in touch here.