Almost 20 years ago, I opened an e-commerce website to sell my art. Surprisingly enough it worked, although at the time customers had to print out a form, fill in their credit card information, and fax it to me in order to make a purchase.
The big headline that year was a new marketplace that had launched, taking the chance that consumers would be willing to use their credit cards online to shop.
The year was 1995. That company was Amazon. And we all know the outcome.
From that humble beginning, online commerce has now become a trend so prevalent that Cyber Monday is beating Black Friday.
Buying art based on a digital image has become the norm, and buyers are confident doing so.
71% of art collectors have bought art online sight unseen.
Buyers of all ages are making art purchases online.
Art buyers want to purchase art with little or no contact with the intermediary (the gallery).
Artists selling directly to their fan base is a major trend.
Online art sales have grown exponentially and are poised for even more growth.
Online platforms are major incubators for emerging artists.
Any surprise here? Not really. Although the Hiscox survey was created for the gallery and museum industries, the bottom line is clear. Artists can absolutely sell their work online. They don't need gallery relationships to do so. The opportunity is huge.
Although it's widely accepted that a website is essential, my experience is that many artists are lagging behind in creating an effective online presence. And unless you have relationships with galleries that are effectively selling your art online for you, you have to make a commitment if you want to market and sell on your own. It's pretty straightforward:
If you don't yet have your own art website, you need one.
If your website isn't prepared to sell directly to the customer, you are losing out.
Since online art sales are here to stay, creating an artist website that works effectively for making sales is a wise business investment.
Take a look at your current situation. Do you have a site you are proud of? Are you getting traffic? Are you making sales? If your site needs work, give it the attention it needs to go to work for you, so that you are truly ready for online commerce.