Product review: N-Vu sales platform
It’s no secret that a common weak point among photographers is sales. Photographers want to spend our time creating, not figuring out processes and systems for selling. That's where N-Vu comes in.
N-Vu is a web-based sales platform for professional photographers. It’s versatile and can be used for in-person sales, online in-person sales (video or phone conferencing in real time from separate locations), and online sales galleries. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are key features that make N-Vu enticing, including personalized apps for clients and Room-Vu.
N-Vu has an easy-to-follow series of setup videos to ensure you can start using it quickly. I frequently skip directions, but in this case I found myself appreciating the help because the N-Vu interface is so full-featured. Once you add your studio information and price lists, you can start using N-Vu in your workflow.
Before you can sell anything to a client, you have to create a gallery for them. This gallery is the jumping-off point for loading an in-person sales (IPS) session, creating a web gallery, or making a mobile app for a client. For my test run, I uploaded a set of 50 images, opting for low-resolution files. You can also populate a gallery directly from Adobe Lightroom. It was easy to set up the gallery and publish it to the web. You can customize the initial view of the gallery, add a slideshow, and customize the rating system, among other options. Wedding photographers will appreciate the ability to send a link to the gallery before it’s published, and your clients can access a placeholder page until their images are live.
Where N-Vu really shines, though, is Room-Vu. This feature allows clients to preview their images to scale on a photo of a wall, even in a frame, at various sizes. You can add multiple images to the wall, and when you add them to the cart, both the wall preview screenshot and the individual images are itemized in the cart and the invoice. For an IPS session, you can calibrate your display to show images at actual size. N-Vu provides a number of ready-made room photos, or you can upload your own or a client’s room photos if desired. This custom section is great for helping clients visualize how images will look in their home.
To begin an IPS session, navigate to the galleries page and select Start sales session. N-Vu asks you to select the client before opening the session. This comes in handy when you have multiple people placing orders. After that, choose between a single screen or Dual-Vu when a client is viewing the sales session on a different screen. Dual-Vu can also be used for sales appointments over the phone. You can choose what your client will see while the screen mirroring takes place. If you don’t have your view loaded, the software displays “Waiting for your photographer to begin presentation” on the client’s screen. You’ll want to have a connection with high-speed capacity, as a slow connection would impact your client’s experience.
If you want to allow clients to view images and place orders on their own time, you can send a link to their client gallery. This allows them to rate their images, select favorites, use Room-Vu to design wall arrangements, and place orders. The experience is pleasant, and the interface is easy to understand. You can set an expiration date for each gallery and use Re-Vu to capitalize on any missed opportunities. Re-Vu is a way to reengage clients during holidays, anniversaries, or on a date of your choosing. Set up an email template, and N-Vu will automatically notify gallery visitors that the previously expired gallery is available once more for a limited time.
Since many people browse the web on their phone, N-Vu has another feature that lets you be where your clients are—mobile apps. You can customize each app to market your studio, allow clients to share the app or individual images with friends, and make money. Clients can submit photo orders using the app, and if you set the app to expire after a limited time, you can offer the personalized app as part of the sale, too. Here’s how that works. The unpurchased app has an expiration date, and users will see watermarked images. Anyone who downloads that app can buy a copy of it, removing both the watermarks and the expiration date. I love this concept and can see it being used for many types of photography, including as a next-generation version of senior wallet prints. Wedding photographers could also share the app download link with guests for increased sales opportunities.
On the admin side of N-Vu, in addition to managing client galleries and apps, you can view details of placed orders, and you can order products via ROES or Design-Vu. Design-Vu is N-Vu’s custom album design software (uploading directly to N-Vu for fulfillment). N-Vu offers print fulfillment via Design-Vu or ROES. It’s worth noting that if your client crops an image as they are ordering, the crop will not be preserved in ROES, so carefully check order sheet thumbnails before submitting.
All N-Vu subscriptions include unlimited storage and full features. While in-person sales have a 0% commission, N-Vu takes a 9% commission on other sales, with the exception of no-commission plan subscribers.
N-Vu is an elegant, full-featured solution for photographers looking to manage online and in-person sales. You’ll need to spend some time watching videos and learning how to use the system if you want to fully leverage all those features, but if you do, I think you’ll love the results. And having a sales system in place lets you focus more time on what you love—creating. N-Vu offers a free 14-day trial (no credit card required), and after that you can pay as you go (per gallery, per mobile app) or subscribe to an annual plan (starting at $149/year).
Betsy Finn, M.Photog.Cr., is a portrait artist in Dexter, Michigan.