If an eCommerce store seeks to maximize online sales, regardless of the industry it serves, it must seek to answer every conceivable question a potential buyer may have about a given product or service it’s trying to sell.
Internet marketing experts know this, and you probably do, too, if you’ve ever jumped ship with a company after not being able to find any information on their website or online store.
Unanswered questions cause potential buyers to wait, delay, get side-tracked, and it ultimately causes them not to buy.
Only a small percentage of customers will pick up the phone and call you to get their questions answered. For every one that does, there are at least ten others who have the same exact question but don’t call and don’t buy.
Ignoring potential online buyers with unanswered questions is one of the biggest mistakes being made by artists and photographers today, but it can be rectified with a little extra effort to ensure a simple lack of information doesn’t inhibit sales.
When it comes to selling art online, there are certain details you must make clear to the perusing art buyer.
First ask yourself, is this an original painting, or a limited edition print?
If an original painting:
- What are the dimensions of the painting (width, height, depth)
- What materials were used to create it?
- Is it archival? How long can I expect it to last?
If a limited edition:
- How many prints are being offered in the edition?
- Are they all sign and numbered?
- Will the print come with a certificate of authenticity?
- Is it printed using certified archival ink and media? How long can I expect the print to last?
- Is there meaning behind the image you painted/photographed? What is it? Art collectors love to talk about the art they purchase, so give them a story they can tell.
What the Big Guys are Doing
Check out the details provided by industry leaders Saatchi Art and UGallery for original paintings and limited editions:
These are just examples that relate to the art itself, but just as important are the unanswered transaction-related questions.
Questions such as:
- What is your EXACT return policy?
- If something goes wrong, can I easily call you? Is it hard to find your phone number?
- How will the painting/prints be packaged?
- How long will it take to ship?
- What happens after I buy? Will the artist call me directly and thank me for the order? Will there be any human communication?
The availability of these details make a serious impact on art buyer confidence, and confidence is absolutely key in order for buyers to stumble onto your website and not only make purchases, but expensive ones.
What You Can Do
While you may be used to the conveniences of selling art offline, where customers are in-person and can just ask you questions directly, you aren’t afforded that same opportunity online. Unless the buyer goes out of their way to contact you, most sales will take place as a one-sided conversation between the buyer and the information you provide them with on the eCommerce store pages.
It’s easy to forget all the questions that potential customers can have before they buy. Every customer is different, and they all have different concerns that require assuaging. There’s always going to be customers that require a bit of extra care, but the vast majority of customers should be able to easily find everything they need without having to initiate an additional step of interaction.
Note that poorly visible subpages buried in the nav bar can often be as good as non-existent, so make sure critical information is put up front and center.
Let’s take a look at industry leader, UGallery.com – a site that strictly sells original art.
UGallery understands that the return policy is absolutely critical to new visitors that may have concerns about their options should they want to adjust the sale after purchase. So, they’ve decided to place it clearly on every page of the entire website, right in the header:
If you’re selling original art on your website, why not take a few notes from the industry leader of original art sales? Incorporate the phrase “free returns” into your site, and you’ll make potential original art buyers that much more comfortable with buying from your website.
Keep in mind that keeping an eCommerce site updated with current, relevant information is an on-going task. As you hear from customers and learn about information they weren’t provided with straight from the website, work to modify your site to incorporate these new unanswered questions.
Every time a question comes in from your contact page, your radar should be up: Why did this prospect have this question? Did I not make it clear? How can I save sales in the future by adding this information to my site today?
The danger of making these kinds of helpful modifications is that, at a certain point, too much info begins to inhibit sales, too!
Listing a ton of details for a given product can clutter up an otherwise beautifully crafted page, making it unnecessarily difficult for the buyer to browse, learn, and purchase.
Here’s how we’ve resolved this issue at Art Storefronts:
We display the name of the piece with a short description, followed by an expandable section where a longer description and full specifications can be added.
This satisfies buyers that only need an at-a-glance view of the piece, while giving those that want to dig deeper everything they need without sacrificing the minimalist appeal of your product page.
eCommerce success takes a lot of hard work, clever thought, and enthusiastic experimentation.
One of the easier ways to improve the quality of your site is to consistently evaluate whether you’re answering buyers’ potential questions. Description tools, like the ones offered by Art Storefronts, allow you to provide site visitors with everything they need to feel confident in their purchase.
Keeping details on your artwork and transaction policies transparent and readily available via the product pages will ensure that, out of all the ways to lose a sale, lack of information won’t be one of them.