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Here's another post in my short series about selling art online. This one concerns the various websites which provide online art auctions, online art galleries and online art stores for selling your art.
I'm also launching yet another(!) new information site - Online Art Galleries and Stores - Resources for Artists - with a difference - which I'll explain a little later.
Any number of services want to help you to get your art online - but do they actually work and which is the best? If you're trying to find out more about online art galleries and print-on demand services this is the site for you!
The basic business model
The basic thing to remember is that many 'online art' sites exist to make money rather than to sell art. If they make money from taking membership subscriptions from artists who then sell no art, then the company concerned may not be too bothered - so long as there are more people queuing up to hand over their subscriptions. You can read more about this in a post I did last July - Selling art - online art websites, tracking marketing data and a new survey for artists!
A successful business enables people to sell their art - and they then recommend it to all their friends who all turn up, sell their art, recommend it to all their friends etc. That might be a recipe for success. However if the buyers are also very happy with what's being sold you can get exponential growth!
This is the story of Etsy. In 2008, they experienced nearly 200% growth in the number of unique visitors and and they now get over 3.6 MILLION visitors each month visiting Etsy - as you can see from the chart at the top of this post.
This chart shows you that every unique visitor to Etsy stays stayed an average (monthly) of between 11 and 14 minutes during 2008
There is no other website solely devoted to handmade art and craft which gets anywhere near to these numbers.
We have no idea how many people visit the art section of eBay and we do know that artists have been closing down stores and deserting eBay in droves since the changes to the fee structure last year. I wouldn't be at all surprised if Etsy got more art and craft oriented traffic than eBay.
Recommendation: I certainly recommend that any artist wanting to sell their original work online should take a serious look around Etsy. I'll be doing a more in-depth review of the site in the future.
Doing the research
If you're considering using an online art auction, gallery or store then doing a bit of research upfront is very worthwhile and can really reduce the prospect of being disappointed later.
Unfortunately, unlike their offline publishing counterparts (who have to provide customers with independently audited data if they want their business), it can be very difficult to get marketing data about the efficiency and effectiveness of these companies from the companies themselves.
However - using the good services of compete.com it is possible to get an insight into the nature of the traffic. I've looked at two key indicators for the last 12 months (2008) - number of unique visitors each month and average stay. I've then charted these and included the charts with the information about the various sites offering artists a way to sell their art using auctions, galleries or stores.
My new information site only summarises online and publicly available information - all I've done is rounded it up and put it all on one site! On this site you can find links which help you to:
- find out what services a site can offer
- identify where you can sell original artwork
- read reviews about different sites
- compare the costs of different packages
- see how effective a website is at attracting traffic and buyers and compare the traffic trends for the sites you're considering
The site is in development and I've got additional sections to add in - notably for those selling daily paintings!
All suggestions about the inclusion of websites for galleries not currently included below should be made by way of a comment (see Comments and Feedback). All suggestions will be reviewed but will only be published if the website is added. (This is to avoid spam).
You can find all the sites in the selling art online series in my new group Resources for Artists - the Art Business
I'll also be reviewing different types of sites which sell original art during the course of 2009 and you can suggest priorities by leaving a comment below.
So - what do you think of the charts? Any surprises?
- Online Art Galleries and Stores - Resources for Artists
- Selling art - online art websites, tracking marketing data and a new survey for artists! This week I've had approaches from three brand new online gallery sites, who have all seen my work, have all been impressed and who all want to host and sell it for me! What did I do? Run around and jump for joy? No, I looked at the sites, marked all the e-mails as spam and binned every one of them. Why did I bin them? Let me explain - and bear with me, it's a longish post but you will find out about what I know about the simple economics of an online art gallery business
- MAM Poll Results: How much art have you sold via your blog or website? In August, 53% of artists responding to the question What's the MAIN way you sell your art? said they sell most of their art direct - online or via their personal networks or personal studios i.e. independent of organisations which sell art for artists. The poll in November attempted to size the level of sales via websites or blog.