When Internet 2.0 came along, and the modern internet as we now it arrived (the one we use on laptops, PCs, smartphones and tablets) - with it came more delights and challenges. How does an artist or a writer, or any creative person sell what they create over the web? Amazon are making it work, moving beyond sales of books, to video, film, software apps, music and even more besides. We book our hotels now and even plane tickets and it has become standard to us. A habit in fact.
We can subscribe to things. We can go to Seven-Eleven and buy Google or Apple App Store vouchers, coupon credits and simply buy things on the Android or Apple platforms. We can opt for PayPal or Apple Pay, or just use our credit or debit cards. We have so many ways to buy. But how about selling?
When Online art Galleries began to appear in the mid and late 2000's, artists were jubilant. They were thrilled, because finally art could be shown, showcased, and finally sold online. All the artist needed was a laptop, some photo manipulating software to tidy up and resize images, and a way to receive money payment electronically.
Art galleries prospered. And the growth of interest in art boomed. It is still booming. But interestingly, some online galleries closed down and went out of business. Why?
Art galleries are business ventures, and online galleries are the same. They have costs and overheads. So the incoming flow in money must exceed the money that is outgoing. Alas, this was not always the case for some galleries, as people weren't ready to buy artwork by emerging South-east Asian artists online without further understanding the artists themselves, the art work and the region they came from. And to be honest, some galleries were unlucky to be just ahead of their time. Some parts of Asia for example suffer from chronic slow internet, and lag behind Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong, who's fast internet is hitting Gigabit speeds.
One way that artists and galleries online could flourish is for online blogs and websites to focus on nurturing artists, curating informative exhibitions and having conversations with new collectors and bringing interested parties closer to one another. The internet is good at this. But some galleries that floundered in recent times may have suffered because they felt that personal interactions could not be replicated online. Thanks to Facebook, Twitter, Medium, Instagram and Pinterest... now they can.
The big keyword here is ENGAGEMENT. Bringing the conversation right into people's lives, so that people are not just passing by art, but living with art. There are so many online galleries on the net now, it has become better from the point of having choices, but tougher, as galleries have to compete more for space and getting attention. And the galleries that shout the loudest are the ones most visited, and so do the most business. (Of selling art.)
Galleries could be doing more in other ways. Forming partnerships and teaming up to show collective exhibitions has become the big trend in recent times, as the Affordable Art Expo and other shows are frequently reporting successful results. The love and allure of art galleries will prevail as long as we keep loving art and showing our love for it. We just have to learn, as artists and sellers of art to find and manage new ways to reach the audience. Telling the story of artists and their art works is something gallery owners and art sellers can do.
In a gallery, art literally sells itself. On the internet, the gallery must get the attention of the online visitor. Groups, lists and listings, art directories, collectives, club, organizations, societies, educational institutions all vy for attention. By using social media cleverly, we can leverage this and make online galleries not only succeed, but thrive. Authors are making use of WordPress and Weebly free or paid sites to engage with their readers and audiences. So too can artists. And they don't have to work in isolation from online galleries.
Some creative people think or feel the "middle man" is getting too much of a "cut" of the price. Really? So make deals, then. Agree on how to cut the cake, just as sellers online of other products use affiliates. There is more than one way to sell art online. Thanks to platforms like "Ecwid" and "Shopify", art galleries, artists and authors have moved their e-commerce and sales efforts on to Facebook pages - and with more than impressive results. Ecwid has no set-up fees and allows you to sell a small number of items for free, and they will only collect a small percentage of the sales price.
Art can be a success if artists and galleries work closer and partner up, and involve themselves in more joined-up thinking. The only boundaries to what can be done lies with us, and now, together - we can rise above them.
(Alan Mc Keogh)
Alan Mc Keogh
I am an artist, web and blog designer, and I enjoy creating art, whether people, still life, or landscapes. I blog and write to grow the masses. Logos are a growing passion here. Come to me, brethren!