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Yes, You Should Post Prices on Your Art Website

by Clint Watson on 5/3/2011 7:42:15 AM

Should you post the prices of your artwork on your website?  Yes.


I thought perhaps if the answer from an actual art buyer was posted here, it would help to settle this question once and for all.



AJ Holliday wrote on Denise Hall's Blog:


Speaking from the buyer's side of the transaction, I absolutely agree (almost demand) that artists put prices on their works.  It's not just a matter of buying online; I also plan my vacations to get to places with galleries that show artists that I have liked. I'm not going if I don't know I can afford a purchase.

As a second point, it's both mystifying and offensive when artists are coy about their prices. It's mystifying because--as you have said yourself, Denise--why would you make it harder for people to buy your stuff? One artist said "I don't put prices on my work because I want people to contact me." To that artist and to those who share that motive: I'm not going to do that! If there is something crass and embarrassing about associating art with money, don't make the buyer shoulder the embarrassment(unless, of course,you would rather not sell than be embarrassed yourself, but then, why do you say they're for sale?) Do these artists really want to get an e-mail just says "How much is it?"

When artists do not put prices on their art, I am somewhat offended because I don't think the artist is being completely honest with me. "Price upon request" is the pricing system for haggling, and it makes me feel like the artist wants to be able to change the price for different buyers.

I still look at websites that have no prices; I'd miss too much beautiful art otherwise. Those sites help me grow in the ways I appreciate paintings, but those artists should not expect a sale from a buyer like me.  [source].  (emphasis added)




There really is no reason at all not to post your prices, except in the instance that you really don't want to sell your art and are displaying it online for other reasons.  


I suspect that often prices aren't posted because some artists haven't done the hard thinking required to set firm prices for all of their works - do that hard work!  Don't lose sales simply because you neglected to do a bit of up-front calculating and thinking.




Clint Watson

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Hi Clint,

I remember reading an excellent article on this subject by Marsha Robinett, from the perspective of one artist visiting another artist's website. Wow. I just looked at the date on it--must have made an impact on me that I remembered it from way back then.

Yup, definitely a worthwhile click.

Later, Cooper

Nithya Swaminathan
It helps to read what a buyer thinks when the prices are not there in the website. I think purchasing of art online is driven largely by instinct when a buyer really loves a painting. It would be a bummer then to have to mail the artist to find out the price. That would put off many a buyer. Assuming the buyer still goes ahead and sends a mail too, it may not be a given that they'll still love the painting as much till they receive a reply or will come back to buy it.

Looking at your own website every now and then from an objective buyer's point of view really helps I think, in making these kind of changes.

Julie G
OK, OK, you've convinced me! I've been meaning to add prices to my art site, but I've been dragging my feet because I was thinking I'd do it along with a reorganization of the whole site. At the moment I have available works and sold works all mixed in together.

Kelly Borsheim
I sell more work from my Web site than all of my gallerists do from their locations. Information sells. The only reason I can see for NOT posting prices is if you are courting certain galleries who refuse to represent artists who post prices and sell from their sites and studios. One such gallery is the Greenhouse Gallery in San Antonio. Notice, though, that even THEY post prices of the artworks they offer.
The only reason I can see for their policy (read their artist submission page) is fear. And while I love that gallery, the space, and the friendly staff, I will not qualify to be represented by them because I show prices on my site - a shame, really.
Also, their policy makes me believe that they do not trust their artists if the artists sells from their site and studio. All I can say is that I do not want to be a partner with someone who does not trust me. For the many years that I have been selling online, if one of my galleries has the work that one of my clients wants to buy, I simply contact that dealer and connect him with my client. I also PAY my dealer his full commission, even though it was my own work that made the sale. I pay my dealer even if I take the client's money and do all the correspondence. It is just part of my business mindset. We work as a team. This has also meant that I consult my dealer when I have questions on closing the sale. He trusts me to share with him, when appropriate, and I trust him as well.

These are the kinds of relationships that I want in my life. And while I feel bad about ones that I may never have, unless a gallery can pay me a stipend, I think it would be a HUGE risk for me to jump into a situation that limits my selling ability. Life is hard enough as it is....
Thank you for reading.
Kelly Borsheim

Nicole Hyde
Profoundly agree.

Marsha Hamby Savage
Kelly, I so totally agree with you. If the gallery does not trust the artist, there is some reason. I usually think they are also not totally trustworthy. I think it goes both ways. I talk to my galleries, and expect the same in return.

Clint, thanks for posting this. I have always shown my prices on my web site ... and they correspond to what the galleries also sell them for. It is just my good luck when I make a sale.

But, I also ask any person that contacts me how they found me. If it is through the gallery, then I tell them I will only sell through the gallery. If they ask to come to my studio, I don't do that. I will ask them where they are located, so I can send them to the appropriate gallery and the painting they are interested in will be there for them.

I know at some point, I will probably start making sales from my studio, but at this time I don't. The only sales I make without the gallery is usually to my friends and family, long standing clients from earlier years, friends of friends or students.

It also annoys me to go to an artist site and be interested in a painting and see no price. I won't contact the artist!

Esther J. Williams
Posting the price of my art is a no brainer, I want to sell it, I want people to know what they have to pay to buy my art and if they can afford it. I do not want to play games. Straight forward, honest and ready to do business, that is my work ethic.

Kelly Borsheim
@Marsha, I agree that if someone (or some business) has trust issues, there is probably a reason. However, while it could be because the party that fears might be the party that cannot trusted, but a more likely reason is because that party has been hurt by someone else before. Maybe more than once.

In no way was I implying any kind of credibility issue regarding Greenhouse Gallery (just to be clear).
Another thing to consider is that their reputation is well earned and it could be that they are at a higher level in the art world than most artists are in their careers. I do not know such things as fact, but I suspect that there is a part of the high-end art world in which it IS the norm for artists to not sell their work and have agents/gallerists who take care of this for them. Yes, they control their business, but the money concerns are not part of their public persona.

Also, I try not to turn away anyone who wishes to see my art, whether in my studio, gallery, or at some event. I try to remember to ask visitors how they found out about me and then make a note in my database if any future sale should be credited to one of my dealers. My prices remain the same regardless of where I sell - I believe my collectors deserve that respect. It is also easier to be consistent when you have a bad memory ;-)

The main point of this post is that we want to offer customer service. To do that, we should try to help our visitors feel comfortable and get the information and art that they want. Most of us are shy about making inquiries and do not wish to "insult" an artist if we are gathering information, nor do we wish to commit ourselves to future "badgering." So, yes, posting prices are one sign of good customer service.

Marsha Hamby Savage
Hi Kelly, I did not think you were casting any credibility issues about the gallery. We actually have a gallery in the Atlanta GA area that requires the artist to not sell from their web site and also no other gallery in the state of Georgia. They advertise nationally and do well for their artists.

I think you are right about there being a different level of representation for the highest level of artist. Those artists are not selling from their web site, but directing people to the galleries that represent them.

I don't like turning someone away that contacts me, but my husband is a rather paranoid type and does not want "unknown" people coming to our home. I have taken work to a client instead of having them to my home studio ... usually to their place of business at an appropriate time.

You are so right about customer service. We want the client to feel special and comfortable with the contact. A very important point! If they don't, then they will go elsewhere.

Thanks for your reply.

Meltemi aka Phil Kendall
Buying original artworks online is an increasingly simple, viable way for people to improve the look of their home or office wall-space. Buying art with a keyboard and mouse is the new frontier of art collecting. It differs vastly from buying art during a visit to a bricks and mortar art gallery in the shopping centre or mall. You can look for and look at art comfortably at your pace, for as long as you like, without being pestered to buy, then finally locating that special artwork you like enough to buy.

The trouble is that most artists' websites are about the artist. They are about their career as an artist since pre-school to retirement [oh what a yawn]. They are about where and when they have exhibited [oh what a life they have]. Then there are their artworks taking for ever to load, having no idea of their size, how much they are being sold for, no answers as to why one artwork is more costlier [but smaller] than another no shipping costs shown and so on. Their contact page remains un answered ten days later etc. Is this your website?

Some time ago I was upset with a contact from my website trying to bargain with me on the asking price for an artwork of mine. The price of each artwork and its shipping costs to: my home market, the UK, my next nearest market, Europe and my distant market, Northern America are clearly displayed. My art has a pricing structure that incorporates the replacement costs of the materials used and a contribution to the studio overheads etc. My pricing structure is related to the size of the canvas used, so smaller artworks are cheaper and larger artworks are more costly My art is priced fairly at what I think its worth and I refused to negotiate.

The 'buy now button' and the shopping cart powered by PayPalâ?¢ works for me 24/7 and 365/365. Just show your prices. Just show your shipping costs. It will work for you too.

whitney peckman
Re: putting prices on website-Half of my work is by commission only. Examples on on the site but I ask to be contacted for prices since it all depends on sizes, intricacies, etc. These are all one of a kind pieces which I couldn't duplicate if I wanted to, so it would be misleading to price them on the site. Do you see other possibilities?

Debra LePage
A very timely and informative article-once again, Clint!
Phil, you have a very organized site and make some excellent points as well. I must revisit my own and make some changes!
Thanks to all for the comments and insight.

Excellent points. Any artist who wants to sell more work must remove barriers to the process of making a purchase - and if there is no price, no one can buy at that time. I also advocate for shopping carts on artist websites.

Antonio Basso
Great article. Absolutely agree. Trust is key, always
Antonio Basso

Jo Allebach
I have always put the prices on. Now I need to get to the "buy now" button.
Thanks all for your comments.

Brennen McElhaney
On my painting website I've implemented a [Show Prices] button below thumbnails. (Prices are hidden by default.) When a visitor clicks the button, the info (including prices) appears under each thumbnail.

What do you think? Classy, or too subtle?

P.S. Clint - Thanks for all the valuable info that you share so generously.

I went back to my site and added prices. I think it would be safer to have the money tranfers done through pay-pal. You never know what kind of people you dealing with when it comes to money.

Great insight. I am an artist, but I'm also a buyer and whenever i see "contact the artist for price", I just leave. It's sad because I saw it, wanted to know more about it, maybe buy it, I was really interested, but now I assume I just can't afford what must a "priceless" pricetag.

pop over to this website
Super site! I am Loving it!! Will return once more, Im taking your food likewise, Thanks.


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