Convinced that original art doesn’t sell online?
You’re not alone.
But you’re not right either.
At this point it’s a well-known fact that original art sells online, and that the online market opportunity for original art continues to grow every year. We’ve also talked about it extensively in our article on The Journey to Selling Art Online.
In this post, I’m going to bust the notion that original art doesn’t sell online. I’m going to prove to you that not only does original art sell online, but expensive originals sell too. For multiple thousands of dollars.
I’m also going to prove to you that artists do regularly sell original art right on their own websites. Which means you should be too.
Sound good? Great.
Does Original Art Really Sell Online?
Let’s first look at what an independent third party says about the matter. According to Insurer Hiscox’s Online Art Market Report, 72% of art buyers surveyed purchased original paintings in 2017, up from 69% in 2015 and 55% in 2014.
So it’s clear that the independent market research shows that original art is indeed selling online.
Still not enough proof? Understood.
If you haven’t seen it happen before, I get that it’s hard to believe that someone will come to your website, pull out their credit card, and spend thousands of dollars on a piece of original art.
So let’s review some real artists who are selling originals.
Examples of Originals Sold by ASF Artists
Abstract Artist Kim Vergil has had success selling her originals on the ASF platform with some amazing tactics that you have to hear about.
Below I’ve listed just some of the many originals recently sold on our platform:
Matt McLeod’s Fine Art Gallery recently sold this striking 9″ x 9″ oil on panel, “Small Blue Heart,” for $2,800.
TS Modern Art Studio sold “Indigold,” a 40″ x 40″ x 1.5″ mixed media on canvas for $4,400. Medias used include: recycled house paint, acrylics, inks, pastel, metallics and charcoal.
And finally, Mathieu Laca’s “Edgar Allen Poe,” (42″ x 48″) a highly textured historical portrait sold for $2300.
These are just a few examples, and we could provide many more. The fact is, at Art Storefronts, artists are selling original paintings right on their own websites all the time.
Does this mean every single artist on the Art Storefronts platform is making regular sales of original art? No.
Why is that?
Simply stated, because they are not doing the Top 10 Things You Must Do to Sell Original Art Online.
Call it presentation. Call it merchandising. Call it trust factors. Call it whatever you want, but its a combination of all these things working together that ultimately gives a buyer enough confidence to shell out thousands of dollars in an eCommerce transaction.
The purpose of this article is to get everyone who sells original artwork to start displaying and merchandising it the correct way.
So that all of you can start selling originals right from your websites too.
10 Things You Must do to Sell Original Art Online
1. Take HQ pictures that show the main viewing angles
Well-taken pictures from every angle are a must to sell your original art online. For example:
Your online art store is your own personal art gallery. But in this case, your customers can only see what you show them.
If you include one front-view picture of your art and a bland 50 word description that provides no basis for an emotional connection, you probably won’t sell anything.
So what you want to do is take pictures from every possible viewing angle. With this, your prospect will truly understand what the artwork will look like as it hangs on a wall in their home or office, which is the entire goal.
On the flip side, if you leave them wondering what it will look like, they’ll simply never buy.
If you are an Art Storefronts customer, we allow you to upload as many supportive images as you feel necessary.
2. Take at least one up-close picture of the surface
Include close-up pictures of details and textures that someone might otherwise miss. This might show the thickness of the paint you apply, or the specific characteristics of the medium you have used.
Notice how this close-up picture allows us to experience the piece up close and personal. We gain an understanding of the texture of the brush stokes, as well as the thickness of the paint. All of this further helps a buyer internalize what this will exactly look like hanging on their wall.
3. Write a romantic description that provides viewers with a clear meaning behind the piece
Every piece of artwork for sale on your site should have a romantic description. Tell the story behind the piece: What inspired you? Where did you create it? What is the subject and why is it important to you? If you’re having trouble with this, read our article on How to Create a Romantic Website Experience With Your Art.
Along with your romantic description, be sure to include dimensions for height, width and depth. Also describe the medium and any important materials used. If it adds value, feel free to provide a brief description of your creation process.
4. Use trust badges
Trust badges are so crucial to establishing buyer-trust that we made it a top priority and built this feature right into our software.
According to a Comodo report from 2014, 79% of shoppers expect to see a trust badge displayed on a website’s homepage.
At Art Storefronts, we provide you with a set of the most critical art badges that we believe an art seller needs to maximize their art sales. Most importantly, this includes our “Trusted Art Seller” badge where we act as a third-party reference between you and your potential art buyers — so that they can have the confidence that you are a legitimate business.
Learn more about The Art Storefronts Trust Badges.
5. Have a wall preview tool that provides buyers with a sense of scale
You have to remember that most buyers don’t have a great sense of scale. Which means, when you simply list that your painting is “32×48” it actually doesn’t provide immediate clarity to a potential art buyer. This is where the real value of the wall preview tool comes into play.
It specifically handles the sense of scale issue by allowing the buyer to see the piece in a room setting, to scale, in order to give them an immediate visual of how your specific piece of artwork will fit into a room, or above a bed, or in a conference room or hotel lobby.
If you are an Art Storefronts customer, our wall preview tool allows your customer to not only change room settings, but also change the wall color. The wall color is another potential objection that the wall preview tool covers. If your customer is wondering whether the colors in your artwork will clash, or mesh well, then this is a point of friction that must be addressed. Learn more about the Wall Preview Tool.
6. Have a “share with a friend” tool
This feature specifically caters to a purchase decision that involves multiple decision makers (i.e. husband and wife). And let’s face it, most art buying decisions involve multiple decision makers.
At Art Storefronts, the share with a friend tool does multiple things. First and foremost, it allows someone to immediately send an email of the art piece to someone else. When that person receives the email, they can click on the image, or the link in the email, and are immediately brought to the buying page of the piece where they can experience it in the same way.
Here’s an example of the email they receive:
PRO TIP: In addition, you as the site owner receive an email notification every time this happens. If you are clever, you can make some big bucks with this. If you haven’t listened to the podcast episode with Kim Vergil yet, which we listed above, now is about the time to go back and do so.
7. Clearly state your return policy
I’m sure the phrase “return policy” makes you cringe. But keep in mind that returns are actually very rare, and its more about assuaging the “what if” doomsday scenarios that your buyer might think of. For example, what is the art shows up damaged. Or what if they just flat out change their mind once they see it.
By prominently displaying a return policy it shows that you care, and that you operate like a real business. All of this helps put buyers’ minds at ease.
If your buyers’ mind is not at ease when it comes to a return policy, it is pretty much a guarantee that you won’t make a sale. Yes, it is that serious.
As an aside, this study conducted by the University of Texas – Dallas proved this. Businesses with more lenient return policies actually end up seeing less returns.
So if you also want to minimize your returns, have a return policy!
8. Clearly outline your shipping information
What are the shipping details for your originals?
Go beyond prices and timelines for delivery.
Someone buying an original wants to know how you package originals for safe delivery. And what happens if it’s damaged en route?
Put their mind at ease and layout every detail of your shipping protocol for original art.
9. Display a prominent phone number for customers to contact you if something goes wrong
Chances are in the age of the internet most people will forgo calling you up to ask you questions. But when you proudly display a phone number, and you make it easy to find, it says something about you and your business. And for the small percentage of people who want to pick up the phone and talk to someone, this is huge.
So display your phone number loud and proud.
10. Take advantage of the “unsold carts” tool (ASF customers)
Unsold Carts shows you a list of abandoned carts, allowing you to find patterns and re-engage those who were one step away from making a purchase. This is critical so you can provide friendly reminders to those who got distracted during a previous checkout session.
When it comes to original art, this becomes even more important. If someone registered for your site, and added an original to their shopping cart – they deserve a follow-up email from you. This is a hot lead and the potential sale is not small. In your email, ask them if you can answer any questions, and offer to hop on a quick call to discuss the piece.
Many times you’ll find that people thank you for reaching out!