Preparing your ecommerce art site for holiday shopping
In New England we’ve been having a glorious Indian Summer so it may seem too early to blog about the holiday shopping season. After all, it isn’t even Thanksgiving. Consider this fact however: according to last year’s The DeepProfile study, one in three shoppers will start shopping before Thanksgiving.
The holiday shopping season can present unique challenges for art businesses:
One way to overcome these difficulties is to do what fine art photographer Karin Rosenthal does, host an annual open house.
Karin told me she sells roughly 30% of her yearly print sales during the December open house. This open house has allowed her to make a living primarily from the sale of artwork.
Read my interview with Karin Rosenthal, Building relationships with art collectors
If you want to sell online instead of in your home or studio, however, you’ll have to come up with another way to capitalize on the busy holiday shopping season that can represent a sizable percentage of your annual sales. I have three art marketing tips to get you started.
Have some inventory ready to ship quickly
One way to overcome the unique artistic challenge of having limited quantities of pieces (versus mass-produced items) is to tell buyers what’s ready to ship now and what will be made to order. And have some of the available inventory ready to ship quickly, in just a few days. For example, in the Lone Beader’s Etsy shop (@lonebeader) she clearly tells visitors what inventory is available now and what will be a custom order.
Offer gift certificates
A great way to make your art accessible to a wide variety of shoppers this holiday season is to offer a gift certificate. Sites such as Zenfolio.com make offering gift certificates easy for artists. You decide the amount of the certificates (e.g., $100) that you want.
Providing gift certificates solves two problems. First, it gives shoppers a way to purchase a gift without the stress of having to decide which piece to buy. As I mentioned earlier, buying art is personal. Second, gift certificates provide a low cost way for shoppers to buy even if they can’t afford to purchase an original painting or other more expensive piece.
Create holiday pieces (editions) and traditions
As artists we don’t want to devalue our work and lower prices that we’ve worked hard to raise. And let’s face it - it may be hard to compete with the more common holiday gifts.
That said, there are tasteful ways to tap into the buying frenzy. One way is to concentrate on your current clients who already appreciate and admire your work. Sending an early holiday card to wish them well and thank them for their business can go a long way. You might also enclose a special discount coupon that s/he can pass along to a family member looking for gift ideas.
Another option is to create one-of-a-kind holiday pieces or limited holiday editions. While there are many opinions on the concept of offering limited editions, stop for a moment to consider what Byers Choice Ltd. (caroler dolls) or Thomas Kinkade (painter of light) or Hallmark (ornaments) have created in terms of demand for their new holiday pieces.
• Painters – Do you have limited-edition Christmas prints of your original oil?
Get creative! We are after all, creative professionals. In my opinion the best way to take advantage of this busy shopping season is not to try to compete with the mass-produced, always-on, retail frenzy. Instead, consider new ways to delight buyers and show your appreciation for their business.
Want more ideas? Check out The Ecommerce Guide to Holiday Shopping & Marketing
Keywords: Cindy Stephens, art, art business, art marketing, buying art, create artistic presence, fine art online
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I am a marketing professional and a fine art photographer. With more than 20 years of experience as a marketer and image maker during the digital technology revolution, I now teach creative professionals how to create their artistic presence in the changing art world.
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