It is about time… One key part of where photo agencies could save a lot of time, and thus money, is in their transactions. As I wrote earlier, one of microstock’s, and before that, traditional royalty free success’, is the credit card transaction. Since every transaction is made by credit card payment, the billing process is fully automated, thus extremely cheap to process.
The photo industry is still in its Middle Ages when it comes to transaction. A new client comes in and registers . An image is downloaded, an invoice is generated, a check is being, manually walked to a bank, a reconciliation is made, another check is being issued for the contributing photographers. This is not only time consuming but expensive.
Imagine having the biggest banks in the world as your personal accountants : they do the credit check, process the payment, reconcile and keep a record for you for a small percentage fee. Some of the biggest companies in the world, from E-bay to Amazon, from Wal Mart ( world biggest retailer, hint, hint) to Apple not only handle credit card transaction but prefer it from any other types.
In the RM photo agency world, rare and few are the agencies that even have that option enabled on their site. Everything else is practically automated, but not the payments. Is it because we love our accounting departments so much, with their stacks of papers, their binded check books, their inabilities to pay on time that we do nothing about it?
When I saw my good friend Roger Ressmeyer at Picture House a month ago, I told him: PACA should not worry and complain as much about Microstock as they should get together and start a pay with you credit card campaign. If all the photo agencies would hold their hands and convince, nicely, their clients to use this method of transaction, everyone’s life would be so much simpler, easier and cheaper. And no need to waste time complaining about those Microstock guys.
Sure, they ( the Credit Card companies) take a percentage of every transaction, but compare it to the bottom line. You get cash much faster, you do not have bounced checks anymore, you can automate receivables but also commission payment among many, many other advantage. And you could save trees. CEPIC should do the same, as well as all the organizations.
But,it is up to photo agencies to drop the paper work trail and make their site E commerce friendly. It has become easy to set up.
There is a huge cost saving opportunity here. Let it be heard.