How a brand turned a Today Show flop into lemonade 

By April Berthene

June 12, 2024
scanmyphotos today show flop high prices

ScanMyPhotos missed the opportunity to convert thousands of Today Show viewers into customers because its prices were too high. After listening to feedback and lowering its price, sales have escalated.  

Thousands of consumers flocked to after the Today Show featured the photo-digitizing business as a Mother’s Day gift option on May 9. But only 27 clicked “buy.” 

“I was devastated,” said CEO Mitch Goldstone, who was expecting a glut of orders.  

Hundreds of shoppers, however, used the ScanMyPhotos live chat feature to ask customer service agents about any products with lower prices or free shipping options. Goldstone listened and within hours lowered the price of its best-selling product by 40%, to $145 from $240, plus eliminated the $75 shipping fee.  

Despite the fast turnaround, the shoppers who saw the segment and visited the site were already gone, and ScanMyPhotos lost the opportunity to convert them, Goldstone said. 

This was a hard lesson for Goldstone to learn as everything about the segment was perfect, he said. A Today Show producer digitalized videos of host Dylan Dreyer as a baby using ScanMyPhotos and unveiled the video for the first time on the segment. This positive, live testimony was ideal for ScanMyPhotos, Goldstone said. And sure enough after it aired in each time zone, thousands of shoppers visited the site. They just didn’t click buy.  

Typically, businesses that are featured in this high-profile way sell out of that product within the day, said Paula Rosenblum, co-founder and managing partner at retail consulting firm RSR Research. ScanMyPhotos should have done focus group testing on the price before it went on the Today Show, not adjusted after, she said.

“The biggest sin I see here is that they didn’t test the market before they went out big into the public,” Rosenblum said. “They didn’t do their homework.”  

If a small brand has a high-profile opportunity, like a feature on the Today Show, the brand needs to ensure its website can handle the influx in website traffic, and it has to make sure the pricing is tight, Rosenblum said. Then brands typically have a bump in sales for about a day.

“Then it becomes how well did you do and did they come back for more,” Rosenblum said.  

ScanMyPhotos has been in business for more than 30 years, has “millions” in annual sales and has preserved 1 billion pictures, Goldstone said. Price is typically not an issue, he said, as most often shoppers purchase the digitizing product for a memorial service and are not cost sensitive in this scenario.  

The most popular service ScanMyPhotos offers is where a shopper fills a box with roughly 1,800 photos, mails it to the brand for it to scan and make a digital version, and then it sends the photos back to the shopper. This product is 80% of its orders and the service it lowered its price on.  

Now, sales are flooding in. May 2024 was the best sales month ScanMyPhotos had in three years, even better than its typical bump on Black Friday, Goldstone said without sharing specific figures. But he knows it’s not likely from any Today Show viewers. 

With a price cut of 40%, this eats into ScanMyPhotos’ profit margin. But, the business makes up for it in volume, Goldstone said.  

Brands need free shipping and transparent pricing 

Shoppers want to see clear pricing and how ScanMyPhotos presented its shipping costs wasn’t clear, Goldstone said. The retailer charged a shipping fee to shoppers three times, for each time the photo box is mailed, which eventually totaled $75. While ScanMyPhotos incurs this cost three times, and subsequently passed it onto shoppers three times, the brand now eats this cost. This makes it pricing much more straight forward, Goldstone said.  

Retailers need to offer free shipping to shoppers, as it will always be a factor in conversion, Rosenblum said.  

“Shipping costs are a big deal,” she said. “Retailers don’t want them to be a big deal but they have always been a big deal and they still are a big deal.”