Many artist websites now offer online purchase and payment capabilities – some have simple paypal buttons and checkout, while others have sophisticated shopping carts and payment processing systems. But how many artists actually have customers clicking on their “Add to Cart” buttons and completing the sale?
In our personal experience, website visitors will frequently buy lower-cost art reproductions (less than $100) through a website store. Our best sale of this type was a single sale of $1,100 for 5 limited edition prints. Our experience with original art has been somewhat different though – our first-time original art customers have always seen the actual work or a similar work in-person prior to purchasing. However – once they are familiar with the work and the quality they will sometimes make a subsequent purchase from the website.
That’s our experience. We’d love to hear YOUR experiences with selling art online from your website.
- Have you sold art from your website using a shopping cart and credit card or Paypal payment?
- What price-range is the art you sell successfully on your website?
- Do you find that art buyers will purchase and pay for your more expensive original works from your website?
- Is it an advantage for you to have an online shopping cart and credit card processing? Or could you do just as well taking phone orders and accepting payments by check or Paypal?
- Do you have any secrets you’d like to share about selling art online?
We look forward to your participation in this discussion – please leave your comments below!
I have had a moderate amount of success selling small price items online. Most of that success was on Etsy before it became more of a feminine market. I have had my own website with Paypal featured since around June this year. I have yet to sell anything from my website. Most of my sales occur when I participate locally with something called the First Friday Art Trail. I try to maintain an array of items as low cost as $15 for a t-shirt. My shop has a shopping cart and is a fancy version through http://www.wix.com. I went to college for art, but they never taught me to be market minded, or economically minded. I try different price points for different audiences because I believe that people should be able to have art in their lives whether they can afford $15 or $2000.
I've had a similar experience to what your article described – several recent purchases from my website for art prints – in my case they were in the $30-$50 range. (I use simple Paypal checkout). My more expensive pieces are in the $700 – $1,500 price range and I've not sold any of those from the website. However I have had calls and emails about those pieces from potential buyers who saw them on my site. It makes sense to me – if I was buying expensive art I would want to see the work in person and meet the artist – that would be important to me.
I don't have a shopping cart or credit card processing on my site right now but I am planning to add it. This is because I receive regular orders by phone and I accept payment by credit card using a Paypal terminal I pay a monthly fee for. It would be simpler for customers to be able to buy my work straight from the website without always having to call me. Most of my (small) limited editions are in the $50-$300 range and customers don't seem to have a problem buying without having seen the work in person. But then again they can get a great idea of the work from the website. I've also always had a feeling that photography is easier to sell online than other art!
I've had success with an online Yahoo store selling art prints when I've combined it with email campaigns and building a mailing list through high-end art shows. The online art shop helps if the art buyer/collector has already had exposure to your work.
I sell online, but by auction, not directly from my site, as yet.
The one hint I'd like to pass on is about the photo of the artwork you place. I adjust the colours etc of the image, by having the artwork in front of me to compare directly. Most of my buyers comment about how the colours are perfect when they get it, so I know they are looking at the closest colour match I can get, therefore giving them confidence to buy an honestly represented artwork. Many of my buyers are first time art buyers, and a dozen or so repeat buyers.
My more expensive sales are from exhibitions…I am wishing to branch out into reproductions as I do agree these are the best option for both online and regular sales…
thanks for the opportunity to share ideas
I have sold many small paintings on line but only a few large ones
I do not have a shopping cart on my website nor do I accept any form of credit card payment, I am probably the only artist who does not accept Federal Reserve Notes to purchase my art! When a customer wants to buy my art typically they ask for additional photos or I may invite them into my home studio to view it in person. then payment is made via Gold and Silver Coin. I have affiliated myself with a local coin dealer who is known for his honesty and good prices. They can purchase the coins from the dealer with what ever form he accepts. then the payment for my art can be couriered to my home studio, then after I receive payment I ship all my paintings Insured mail with tracking and delivery confirmation COD Collect On Delivery , the buyer is responsible for paying for shipping to the courier when it arrives at their door.
most of my sales have been between 4 ounces of silver on the low end, and 2 ounces of gold on the high end but like the other artists above I try to offer original art at many different price points
I use Paypal for prints, but buyers must phone for originals as they may have already sold in the gallery. Largest single website sale I had was a $4000 poppy painting and the buyer had never met me, seen my work, or been in our gallery. And she loved it when she got it.
I had expected our website to be a way for our out of state clientele to keep in touch with us, but have gotten new clients from it as well.
Good photography is a must but even then with the variations in monitors the color may look a bit different than expected. That generally does not cause problems as long as the photo of the work is well done in the first place.
There is really no secret, quality work and quality presentation are the key to selling art in any venue.
Lexi. Thanks for the great comment. It is always rewarding to hear what is working and to hear of those great $4,000 success stories. We are often writing about the importance of consistency and building relationships to generate sales – but it is always a beautiful thing to have the experience you described of selling an expensive piece to a buyer sight-unseen and artist unmet!
Your last comment, "There is really no secret, quality work and quality presentation are the key to selling art in any venue." says it all. I agree with you 3,000%!