by Carolyn Edlund
Offering your art or craft for sale online is an excellent way to get many eyes on your work, and has the potential to give you a global audience. Online sales of art are steadily increasing, as is the comfort level of purchasers.
But, the online world is virtual. That means you can’t shake hands with your customer. They can’t see your art in person, and the quality of the transaction isn’t quite the same. There really is no substitute for meeting in person, allowing the buyer to touch your work, see the quality up close, hold it in their hands.
I’ve talked with many artists who want the convenience and exposure of online sales of their work, but I almost always suggest that they make a point to do in-person selling as well. Why?
You can do “retail research.” What do shoppers react to in your collection? What concerns or objections do they have? Do they have suggestions that might really work for your business? Listening to the public will give you a lot of information from different perspectives. Use what you learn to improve your communication and marketing, or even create new designs.
Build relationships. When customers meet you in person, they get the whole experience of “meeting the artist” which is an integral part of owning your work. Meeting you in person is much more memorable than an online transaction. Perhaps they have come to visit your studio. Use that opportunity to show them your technique, offer a glass of wine, help them choose art for their collection, and earn their loyalty.
Gain confidence. Talking about your artwork in front of others helps expand your comfort zone. Share your story. Talk about your inspiration. Demonstrate your technique.
It’s authentic. In a world where everyone spends way too much time in front of a screen or using a device, meeting in person can be a breath of fresh air. There isn’t any substitute for the experience of seeing artwork in the flesh, and meeting the creator. Give your customers the chance to meet you, and give yourself the chance to get to know the people who appreciate and love to own your art.
Photo credit: The Arts Business Institute