As an Artist Agent, I’m passionate about internet gallery pricing because failure to display prices diminishes our ability to sell paintings. Art Galleries are in the business of selling art. It’s a mystery why some galleries (and artists) don’t post prices on their websites. Art collectors go to art gallery websites for information. If potential buyers don’t see basic information, they become frustrated and navigate to another gallery website. At the least, collectors want to see:Pictures of Available Paintings · Prices · Artist Information · Gallery InformationGallery ViewSome dealers argue that omitting prices helps to start relationships between the gallery and the buyer. If the customer calls to ask for the price, the gallery feels they can pitch the customer and, if necessary, offer incentives.My ViewArt collectors are not naïve. They know art costs money. Why withhold information and manipulate collectors into calling the gallery? Many avid art collectors will never pick up the phone to inquire about the price of art. In addition, the customer can’t contact a gallery after hours, so the probability to make a sale can only occur when the gallery is open. One of our collectors told me there’s so much art out there from which to chose—she’ll go to a site that displays prices rather than pick up the phone to inquire about a price.
Gallery ViewPosting prices devalues art. They’d rather “soft sell” the art.My ViewInternet visitors want details at their finger tips. The gallery does a disservice to their collectors and their artists by not using every opportunity to sell their paintings. Every major fine art gallery and auction house displays prices on their sites. It must be working for them!Gallery ViewTheir artists don’t have consistent prices. The artists inflate their prices for some galleries and reduce them in others. The gallery doesn’t want the customer to know the price discrepancies.My ViewArtists that don’t maintain consistent pricing are unprofessional. Fine art galleries shouldn’t represent them. The art market across the world is very intimate, thanks to the Internet. It’s easy to discover if an artist sells his work at significantly dissimilar prices. (Of course, one must consider the cost of framing—gold metal, gold leaf, etc. —but that’s another subject.)Gallery ViewThe gallery uses the website to get potential customers interested in their works—not to actually make sales from the site. They want the collectors to come into the gallery to purchase their art.My ViewIt’s very short-sighted to think that all customers will visit a gallery. Many art collectors don’t live anywhere near the gallery. Countless 21st Century customers are Internet savvy and often purchase paintings they see online. Granted, the collector will call to discuss details with the gallery—but having accurate pictures and prices on the website helps to seal the deal.FACTS1) My artist’s best selling galleries post prices and sell many paintings from their websites. Some of their customers never walk in the art gallery door.2) Failure to list prices has become such a problem for website visitors that usability expert Jakob Nielsen recently deemed it the number one web design mistake. I quote Mr. Nielsen—”The worst example of not answering users’ questions is to avoid listing the price of products and services. No B2C e-commerce site would make this mistake,… Price is the most specific piece of info customers use to understand the nature of an offering, and not providing it makes people feel lost and reduces their understanding of a product line. We have miles of videotape of users asking “Where’s the price?” while tearing their hair out.”
3) Your website acts as your salesperson across the world, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.4) People looking for discounts will ask for a discount. If Internet customers like a painting and the price is in their ballpark, they are intelligent enough to realize they can communicate with the gallery by email or telephone and request a discount.5) The gallery will save the customer time and embarrassment by listing the retail price on the website. A buyer would be embarrassed to find a painting retails for over $50,000 when he assumed it would be under $10,000.6) From extensive research, I have found that failure to list prices is a collector’s pet peeve. One collector told me she saw a painting she wanted to purchase in an advertisement in a national art magazine. She went to the gallery website and was frustrated— they did not post prices. Rather than call the gallery, she Google’d the artist’s name and found him at another gallery—one that posted prices. She called that gallery and bought a painting from them.The time has come for art galleries to make it easy for collectors to buy paintings. The 21st Century art buyer demands it!