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"A note to manufacturers/suppliers regarding their websites:" Topic


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Scarecrow Inactive Member06 Feb 2007 4:35 a.m. PST

Since getting back into the hobby and visiting these pages I've noticed an awful lot of miniature sales websites are missing images of the products listed for sale. I don't know about anyone else but I simply won't spend money on something that I can't see first and line drawings aren't good enough. Neither is hunting through the 'gallery'.

Crow

MONGREL1 Inactive Member06 Feb 2007 4:43 a.m. PST

Yawn . . . . this old potato again . . . . true of course, but repetative and boring.

Personal logo Black Hat Miniatures Sponsoring Member of TMP06 Feb 2007 4:56 a.m. PST

Is it that time of the month already ?

:-)

Mike

Scarecrow Inactive Member06 Feb 2007 4:57 a.m. PST

Sorry I spoke.

Germy Bugger Fezian Inactive Member06 Feb 2007 4:57 a.m. PST

Yeah we are not due for this topic yet:

Discussed on the 30th March 2006
TMP link

Again on the 28th October 2006
TMP link

And recently on the 4th January 2007
TMP link

Maybe we need a "Ranting about lack of pictures" board? :)

Jeremey
minigerm.com

Lowtardog06 Feb 2007 5:01 a.m. PST

Dont worry Scarecrow your new to the site so it is a new topic for you, these old scrotes are just that :0)

Germy Bugger Fezian Inactive Member06 Feb 2007 5:02 a.m. PST

Scarecrow we are not putting you down, it's a valid point.
But one that needs to move on from people just pointing out the problem.

Jeremey
germy.co.uk

aecurtis Fezian Inactive Member06 Feb 2007 5:06 a.m. PST

Don't forget yesterday's contribution, re: Old Glory:

link

Complain all you like. It isn't going to make the slightest difference.

Allen

Wargamer Blue06 Feb 2007 5:19 a.m. PST

Scarecrow, I support you buddy. And I support suppliers with pictures.

Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP06 Feb 2007 5:48 a.m. PST

Scarecrow,

It is a valid point and, as a newbie, it is refreshing to see that it is an obvious problem that should have been remedied years ago. We are in the 21st century after all, aren't we.

One company had pictures on their website for years and is in the process of doing so again, now that they are using a new website. As a very generous gesture, they offered to send me a couple of samples free of charge.

Most companies offer free samples on items they do not have images for. If truly interested in such a product, they may do the same, if you ask nicely.

I now realize the value of the Photography Board, as it makes it very plain to manufacturers and suppliers the ease of taking digital photos in this day and age.

Glad to have you in the group, and don't be put off by the occasional tactless coments. I have been guilty of it in the past, but am working at being more empathetic.

CC

Personal logo Tony Barr Sponsoring Member of TMP06 Feb 2007 5:58 a.m. PST

Definitely one for the ranting bored…..(sic)

Next time I get a holiday I'll be sure to paint one of each miniature I produce and photograph them all, then put them on the web site. Given that my 22 year old son was a baby the last time I had a holiday, it may be a while yet….

And before somebody suggests that I employ someone to do that, this business barely supports me and my wife.

To counter-balance that I am always happy to send out samples or do a quick scan if someone wants to see a particular figure.

Equally I am very grateful to those customers who have sent me pictures of the miniatures they have painted. Those pictures are of course on the web site.

No Name02 Inactive Member06 Feb 2007 5:59 a.m. PST

I don't know about anyone else but I simply won't spend money on something that I can't see first

But lots of people will, hence the lack of pictures.

Go figure.

Personal logo GeoffQRF Sponsoring Member of TMP06 Feb 2007 6:05 a.m. PST

10 more new pictures went up this week (only about 1500 to go…)

Mind you, we haven't noticed any significant increase in the sale of those items with pictures over those without.

Geoff
link

deanoware06 Feb 2007 6:24 a.m. PST

Sort of like my wife asking me at HomeDepot yesterday why they didn't have a "catalog"?

Lentulus06 Feb 2007 6:26 a.m. PST

I tend to evaluate ranges by ordering about $20 USD worth of interesting items.

For what I care about, a pure picture is not enough. I have to put it beside my existing figures from other manufactures at least. And really, I am a very tactile person -- I have to hold the figures in my hands to decide if I want more.

Boone Doggle06 Feb 2007 6:59 a.m. PST

To be fair, just about all manufacturers provide pictures for just about all their newer sculpts.

Can't really blame those with a backlog of 100s or 1,000s of older sculpts … many of which are only of interest to those who already own them.

If you need pics, and there aren't pics, you'd probably wouldn't buy them even if they had pics … so there's not much point them putting up pics.

Court Jester Inactive Member06 Feb 2007 6:59 a.m. PST

The pictures do not have to be of painted models…

Former Member Account Inactive Member06 Feb 2007 7:09 a.m. PST

If this topic would list pictures of websites without pictures I think it would be more effective.

Syr Hobbs Wargames Sponsoring Member of TMP06 Feb 2007 7:36 a.m. PST

GeoffQRF that was funny.

Before starting Syr Hobbs Wargames I was always under the impression that adding pictures would be so easy. And questioned myself why more companies don't have all of their figures pictured on their web page. I thought the same, no excuse for it.

Now that I've been in business for a while I see how difficult it really is. It is not just the time and ability to take the picture, but also the editing, and sizing and adding the image to a shopping cart. But remember, a picture can say a 1000 words, a poor picture will cost you sales.

I can't afford to pay for professional painted figures and I can't afford the loss of inked figures for pictures. Taking a good photo of bare lead is very, very difficult. Lighting is especially challenging and the time for prepping a figure also has to be considered. I can't imagine how many gamers really like filing flash off of figures. LOL

Sure you can use customer submitted pictures, but what happens when a very supportive customer/friend sends you a picture you can't use, bad angle, to far away, poor quality, out of focus image or that is poorly painted! Then I feel bad if I can't use their picture that they took the time to take and send. Sometimes it is far better not to ask.

If there is anything on our web page that does not have a picture more often then not we are more then willing to take one for you. Just ask us!

I know there is no reason to trust me on this, but it is a whole lot harder and time consuming then you think. How much time does it take you to take, edit and load 10 pictures of good quality that would promote and not persuade against, then multiply that time by 100, a 1000 or more.

I am trying and will continue to add as I can. I do see the value in pictures, all manufacturers do.

Duane

Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP06 Feb 2007 7:58 a.m. PST

Deanoware: "Sort of like my wife asking me at HomeDepot yesterday why they didn't have a 'catalog'?"

But you were already there and could see what they had.

I think we are talking about shopping online. If I go to the Home Depot site and don't see the details of a particular item, believe me, I will not risk the purchase and the shipping expenses.

CC

Personal logo MiniatureWargaming dot com Sponsoring Member of TMP06 Feb 2007 8:07 a.m. PST

I really don't see what the big deal is. Each merchant has to decide whether the time and expense of putting up photos would pay off in terms of increased sales. Some have clearly decided that it wouldn't. They are making enough to satisfy their goals.

I think we often make the mistake in assuming that every merchant wants to build a business empire. Some are perfectly happy running a part time operation out of a chicken coop.

The Hobbybox Supporting Member of TMP06 Feb 2007 8:07 a.m. PST

Have to admit that I thought my site was pretty good and had pics of everything I do…
until this afternoon when I found an entire section with no piccies.
****! Just goes to show that you can never be sure.

Hastati Inactive Member06 Feb 2007 8:10 a.m. PST

You must realise that the very people who are most in need of reading this thread ,won't.

Steve Holmes 11 Inactive Member06 Feb 2007 9:01 a.m. PST

Maybe we need a "Ranting about lack of pictures" board? :)

Jeremey

==========

Au contraire: We need

Ranting about lack of 2mm pictures.
Ranting about lack of 3mm pictures.
Ranting about lack of 10mm pictures.
Ranting about lack of 12mm pictures.
Ranting about lack of 15mm pictures.
Ranting about lack of 18mm pictures.
Ranting about lack of 20mm pictures.

etc

ethasgonehome Inactive Member06 Feb 2007 9:03 a.m. PST

Hastati: The people whose raise this topic never do realise that their shots don't hit the target.

aka Mikefoster Inactive Member06 Feb 2007 9:51 a.m. PST

The way I see the more that this is brought up the better the chance that a merchant will do some work to do it.

Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP06 Feb 2007 10:16 a.m. PST

The squeaky wheel gets the grease, and we want that grease!

CC

TheStarRanger06 Feb 2007 10:56 a.m. PST

Deanoware: "Sort of like my wife asking me at HomeDepot yesterday why they didn't have a 'catalog'?"

But you were already there and could see what they had.

Remember that many smaller UK companies do most of their business at one of the many local shows were gamers can see the minis and then either buy them there, or wait until they have the funds and mail order. In those cases they don't need pictures online as those gamers saw the minis at the shows and they are probably OK with that level of sales.

Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP06 Feb 2007 11:31 a.m. PST

If the excuse is that there are no painted examples . . .

I wonder how many manufacturers paint their own figures, or at least have someone paint them?

If the answer is "few", then that must speak volumes about the quality and appeal of their minis.

CC
PS. In any case, I prefer to see them shown unpainted, just as I would get them from the manufacturer or supplier, which should be a lot easier for them.

Personal logo Black Hat Miniatures Sponsoring Member of TMP06 Feb 2007 1:35 p.m. PST

CC Wrote:
> wonder how many manufacturers paint their own figures, or at >least have someone paint them?

>If the answer is "few", then that must speak volumes about >the quality and appeal of their minis.

Or the lack of time they have to paint figures, or the lack of money to pay other people to paint them….

Mike

DS6151 Inactive Member06 Feb 2007 2:56 p.m. PST

No one is asking for painted.

No picture, no purchase. Period.

It doesn't take much to photgraph the figure and post it.
Heck, slap it on a scanner and post it.

If you can't make even that simple effort, then what am I to think about the effort you put into your figures? Your buissness? Your customer relations?

Personal logo GeoffQRF Sponsoring Member of TMP06 Feb 2007 3:24 p.m. PST

It doesn't take much to photograph the figure and post it

You're welcome to come over to the factory and start… just don't get in the way of the mail order, casting, moulding and customer relations… ;-)

Personal logo Miniatureships Sponsoring Member of TMP06 Feb 2007 3:38 p.m. PST

I just mentioned this thread to Russ Dunaway of Old Glory, and he gives anyone an open inivitation to the factory to sort through over 30,000 molds, cast them all, prepare and assemyble (where needed), photograph, download, and put everything back were it goes. This must be done without distributing two shifts of casters working on three spincasting machines, three mold makers working on three vulcanizers, three shippers, and this is not mention the resin casting operation and all the contract casting that has nothing to do with this industry that is going on at the same time.

Joel

ethasgonehome Inactive Member06 Feb 2007 3:51 p.m. PST

"It doesn't take much to photgraph the figure and post it.
Heck, slap it on a scanner and post it."

And then get complaints about the poor quality of all the pictures on a site…

Personal logo GeoffQRF Sponsoring Member of TMP06 Feb 2007 5:03 p.m. PST

Just to keep this in perspective, I don't think any manufacturer out there is saying that they aren't putting pictures up because they don't care what the customer thinks. Pictures undoubtably help… probably… providing they are a reasonable quality and a reasonable representation of the actual model… probably. We have a large representative selection on our website now, but (seriously) while sales in general are up, we haven't seen any significant increase in the models that have had pictures added, compared to those that have no pictures. I've seen figures from other manufacturers that I know to be good (because I've seen them in the metal at shows or own them), but that look bloody awful in the photos on websites – a case where a picture can have the opposite affect.

A paint job can equally have a negative affect. An invitation for customers to provide photos can have a disastrous result, and it's embarrasing to have to say to a customer 'thanks for the photo, but we really can't use it because of the quality of your painting/photography/you've put the tracks on the wrong way round…

Sad to say, but those who think it's just a matter of slapping them on a scanner or snapping a few photos really have no idea of what is really involved. The last batch I took of 30 photos took me a full day to photograph (including casting/sorting out the figures, laying them out and doing the photography) plus another few evenings to split the photos all down, resize them, correct the lighting and upload them to the correct relevant code. Actually, the last batch I 'slapped on the scanner' had horrible depth as the scanner only focused on the actual point touching the glass!

The offer for them to come do the job themselves is a real one. I estimate it will take them 3-4 months of a 40 hour week. While we add photos as we can (and will continue to do so) we just can't afford to pay someone for 3 months just to take photos. (We'll have to get you sorted for health and safety though, and the bit about not getting in the way of the work stands too, as we have about 18 days backlog of mail order…)

Of course, as someone else pointed out above, you've comments are probably missing the very people that you're aiming them at, which kind of makes the whole conversation pointless. Those manufacturers coming on here and answering, and informing you about the reality of the problem of producing photos of everything while trying to continue to run a business that doesn't have the funds of GW or IBM, are actually the very ones who are trying to put up photos, as fast as time or money allows. They are the ones who do care about customer service, and are making the effort, and are frustrated to read such comments as they do care and take it personally (awwww) :-)

Perhaps you need to actually email those companies that don't put photos up instead?

But then you aren't really interested in the reality, you just want photos… of things that you might buy… if you like the photos… probably.

(And before you say I could have taken a dozen photos in the time it took to write this, it's midnight, I'm 60 miles from the factory and not based there because I have a full time job and answer all the customer queries in the evenings and weekends, between my family and my degree… and yes, I probably should just give it all up and let the customers run it instead)

Such a fun life, manufacturing.

Personal logo GeoffQRF Sponsoring Member of TMP06 Feb 2007 5:05 p.m. PST

…darn, forgot the link/advert :-D

Geoff
link

Garrison Miniatures Inactive Member06 Feb 2007 5:25 p.m. PST

Personally, I would love to have photos of professionally painted figures of every single figure I make. Somethings got to give and I do very little painting these days of the figures I want for myself! So in most cases I have to make do with unpainted figures. Again, time is a problem and I usually get out a load of figures then try to find the time to fit in a photo session. I've probably put out 50 figures since January 1st, that's checking the moulds, casting a base level for stock and the admin associated with it (like, labelling boxes). I probably have about half of my figures photographed to date, GeoffQRF is right, you can't just slap the things on a scanner.

Anyway, if he puts in a link to his range, so will I!

garrisonminiatures.com

Rob

arturo rex Inactive Member06 Feb 2007 7:45 p.m. PST

Sorry guys. No photos and/or samples, then no purchase. I looked up Vendel's site a couple of years ago and there were no photos. I asked for a single sample (one freaking figure) and was told to purchase a couple of his packs. Is that good customer service?
No photos and/or samples, then no purchase. Period.

Inmate 928829 Inactive Member06 Feb 2007 8:59 p.m. PST

I can't afford the loss of inked figures for pictures

After you've spent the money on the green, the master mold, the master casts and the production molds … are you saying that spending the extra cash on one mini to ink is too much? Please, give me a break.

There are people out there who will photograph minis for lead (myself being one of them). I've even assembled larger minis to do this.

If a manufacturer is uncertain as to the quality of the photographer who is offering to do this … or simply doesn't trust them … send them five minis. See what you get.

Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP06 Feb 2007 9:08 p.m. PST

I agree. There is just no justification.

If manufacturers photograph their casts as they are completed, problem solved.

Heck, I photograph my minis as they are painted.

CC

sixthlancers Inactive Member06 Feb 2007 9:14 p.m. PST

You know what? It seems so obvious that the manufactuers that have no pictures just do not care that those who demand them will not give them some of there all so important beloved cash. It is not them that are on here constantly complaining about not getting your money and threating the consumer. Who is it that just cannot simply take"no" for an answer. Surely thay are now aware of your stance and have surrendered your sale. it is ,once again obvious that they accept your rejection -- mayby you should accept thiers.

Personal logo GeoffQRF Sponsoring Member of TMP07 Feb 2007 1:06 a.m. PST

There are people out there who will photograph minis for lead (myself being one of them). I've even assembled larger minis to do this.

At a last count, that would cost us in excess of 25k… we could do it, but then there would be no company to buy from…

I photograph my minis as they are painted.

As do we, as/when we can, but your time is not limited by the demandsof customers asking where there order is. Given a choice between sorting out the photography and sorting out the customer orders waiting… the choice is?? On a purely commercial decision customer orders surely have to come before photos?

It is not them that are on here constantly complaining about not getting your money and threating the consumer

No, they are probably too busy casting and packing your order. Sorry, the order of those who have ordered. Thus providing the money to be able to produce more figures (hopefully with photos)

I looked up Vendel's site a couple of years ago and there were no photos

Are there photos now? If not, you should be emailing Vendel. They may not surf these threads.

Personal logo GeoffQRF Sponsoring Member of TMP07 Feb 2007 1:07 a.m. PST

…just checked Vendel, lots of photos on there…

No Name02 Inactive Member07 Feb 2007 2:33 a.m. PST

No, they are probably too busy casting and packing your order. Sorry, the order of those who have ordered. Thus providing the money to be able to produce more figures (hopefully with photos)

There you have it folks. Too busy to get photos done because of all the orders. So people are ordering sight unseen, hence the lack of photos on the sites.

Its A, B, C really.

Personal logo GeoffQRF Sponsoring Member of TMP07 Feb 2007 2:50 a.m. PST

I did say probably.

There may be manufacturers out there who don't care about your orders. But the chances are it's more to do with them being busy than sitting about with nothing to do wondering why people don't order and the answer being due to a lack of photos.

Don't get me wrong, I think photos ARE necessary and I think the vast majority of manufacturers ARE adding photos as and when they can (after all, Vendel apparently had none 2 years ago but they certainly do now)

(Change Name) Inactive Member07 Feb 2007 3:56 a.m. PST

I remember the days when a catalog simply had a listing of the available figures; no pictures, very little in the way of descriptions. I particularly remember this with Wargames Foundry figures.

Now, some of these companies have slick catalogs. Of course you pay for them.

Now for the question:

You have two retailers. Webstore One has nice pictures of the figures, but charges full price. Webstore Two has no pictures but gives a nice discount. Both webstores advertise, both can be found through Google. Where do you buy your figures? Do you look at the figures one Webstore One, then buy the figures on Webstore Two?

Or assume you go to a show, and one of the vendors has the figures in stock. You can look at them, and take them home that very day. But he isn't giving discounts -- going to shows is expensive. A webstore, which does not have any pictures, offers a nice discount (which they can do since they are simply an internet operation with lower fixed costs) but offers no pictures. Where do you buy your figures? From the full priced vendor at the show, or from the internet store?

If you chose the webstore with the lower price, or if you chose the internet vendor over the vendor who went to the show, you have the answer to your question.

Gamers tend to be such cheap tightwads that they would rather have a discount than a picture. As has been noted, having nice pictures made is extremely time consuming. Most vendors own small operations which are lucky to be profitable. In many cases they ask why they should provide the picture if a gamer is going to purchase from someone who does not have pictures.

Every dollar spent is a vote. If you vote for lower prices over better service, you will get lower prices, but also crummy service. Most gamers would rather pay less and not have the service.

(Change Name) Inactive Member07 Feb 2007 3:59 a.m. PST

To follow up on my earlier post, think of WarWeb. They have few pictures on their site. But they appear to be doing fairly well in terms of sales. How many people have purchased from WarWeb, even though there are no pictures?

ethasgonehome Inactive Member07 Feb 2007 4:08 a.m. PST

Syr Hobbs wrote: "I can't afford the loss of inked figures for pictures."

James Shields replied: "After you've spent the money on the green, the master mold, the master casts and the production molds … are you saying that spending the extra cash on one mini to ink is too much? Please, give me a break."

Syr Hobbs actually appears to be a retailer, and would therefore have to break open packs bought at trade prices to take photographs of items if photographs were not available from the manufacturer. The economics are therefore different from a manufacturer sacrificing a figure at cost price.

ethasgonehome Inactive Member07 Feb 2007 4:16 a.m. PST

GeoffQRF wrote: "Are there photos now? If not, you should be emailing Vendel. They may not surf these threads."

Actually they need to be writing, using pen and paper, to companies who do not have websites that meet modern retail expectations, and which have simple lists rather than a fully operational shop.

Well done BTW for taking up the cudgel on behalf of the manufacturers this time. But the discussion has still gone round in circles restating the same views. And the companies that do not have the required number of pictures for a minority of TMPers are still in business.

Germy Bugger Fezian Inactive Member07 Feb 2007 6:17 a.m. PST

I cannot believe we have another 50 post thread on this!

Jeremey
minigerm.com

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