Hi KatherineThis was my response - which I have to say was written off the top of my head late last night in about five minutes!
I've been enjoying your "Making a Mark" blog for years, and I'm hoping that somewhere in the archives you address my question. If not, I'd love to have you do a poll!
I'm part of a professional art group, and we are in the process of developing a web site. Some members say we absolutely should have an online store for selling fine art; others, including me, say that anyone hoping to make serious sales that way is overly optimistic, and that it is very difficult to make significant sales online.
I believe the idea of selling fine art online is mis-represented, mostly by people who design web sites intended to help artists sell art online. What are your thoughts on selling fine art online? Is it viable - or not?
It is however the distilled view of having looked at very many websites and the activities of very many artists over the last eight years
Both views are correct - however you have omitted the key factor in the equation.My view is that if professional galleries are selling art online - which they are - then professional artists should very definitely be selling their art online.
So bottom line - I think your professional art group needs to get professional at marketing - because it seems to me they are looking at the whole question of how to sell art the wrong way round.
- There are a lot of websites which make their money out of persuading people who don't know any better that they can sell their art through their website. Wrong! The only way they will get traffic is if the artists generate it themselves and if they're doing that then they might as well sell via eBay or Etsy. There again there are websites where people list and sell virtually everything they list. The latter are people who have developed a following. Look at certain painters on Daily Paintworks to see what I mean eg Dreama Tolle Perry; Taryn Day; Jacqueline Gnott; Karin Jurick; Carol Marine etc etc They're good at what they do, they have a distinctive style, they have themes for subject matter etc.
- It all depends on your pricepoint. Galleries won't touch cheaper art - that needs to be sold direct by the artist. Remember there is no commission only the costs of putting it online. That means that some people will make more money out of selling large volumes of cheaper art direct than others will make from selling more expensive art selling via galleries.
- Bottom line it's all down to the marketing. You will sell via:
- a gallery if the gallery is good at marketing. If not then it will sit in their backroom gathering dust
- your own website if you are good at marketing
- via an online gallery if you are good at marketing
The channel isn't the issue.
Selling art is difficult period.
The issue is about how much time and effort you want to put into marketing! If you want to sell art then you need to allocate time to marketing and you need to ensure you are doing the right things in the right way.
Do the wrong things in the wrong way and it really doesn't matter how much time and effort you apply to marketing!
In fact a number of artists have been able to build a portfolio of bricks and mortar galleries to represent their art because they could demonstrate - via online sales - that their art sold and that they had a following.
What's your View?How would you have answered the question?
Do share what your view is about the pros and cons of art groups having an online ecommerce set-up for selling art via their website.
Resources for Artists
You can find resources to help you sell art in my websites listed below
How to sell art online
How to Price Your Art - Resources for Artists
How to pack, post and ship art - Resources for Artists
Sell Daily Paintings - Resources for Artists
Online Art Galleries and Stores for Artists
Print Art on Demand - Resources for Artists
How to Make A Mark with Art