A guest post by Victoria Rose Martin
There were big plans made last year at this time. Goals were set and some of you may have told yourselves that 2013 was going to be the year you would get serious about your art. Perhaps you got too busy with life and now you beat yourself up because you didn’t get that online shop up and running. Well I am here to tell you that you can now officially stop ragging at yourself. Sure there might be issues with what you wanted to do and what you actually did but I am here to tell you that it’s never too late. How you ask? Read on and you’ll see there are solutions to snag last minute shoppers.
1. You might be asking “how can I have a sale, I have no inventory?” You may not have inventory right now but you can create custom commission pieces. Feel free to use the images accompanying this post (figures 1 – 4) and create detailed descriptions of what and how you will make items for potential clients. Tell your audience how long they can anticipate waiting, materials used, price, size, color and all the things they’ll need to know. Use photos of similar products to give your customers a great idea of what they’re going to receive. Or better yet, tell the customer that you will make a custom piece crafted specifically for their loved one.
2. Do you know exactly what you want to buy your friends and family? Goodness knows I don’t have any idea what to buy for my husband this Christmas. Direct your marketing at those uncertain buyers and inform them as to why they need the product and for whom it would be suitable. For example if your product is a leather cuff bracelet clearly state that it would be a “great gift for dad.” Or if you make jewelry like one of my favorite artists Pauletta Brooks, alert shoppers that your product is a “great gift idea.” (figure 5)
3. Do you make high-end work? Why not try layaway? In the product description inform the buyer that they can pay in installments rather than one large lump sum. For example break the price down into thirds. Create listings for the first, the second and the final payment and allow the buyer to purchase at their own leisure. You’ll make a big sale and they’ll be afforded the time to squirrel away money for their purchase. And once again, feel free to use the images below for your own shop. (figures 6 – 9)
4. Let’s face it; money’s tight for most people. If you normally make high price work why not try making some more affordable options for last minute shoppers. Advertise these great deals by price point, for example gift ideas for under $100, under $50, or under $20. And before you snort at the $20 option may I remind you that money adds up. Those $20 sales can encourage buyers to purchase in your shop for everyone on their list.
5. And finally, promote sales and offers on your blog and other social media, after all if you don’t let people know they won’t come looking. Perhaps you could customize your shop boasting your big sale or offers of free shipping on cyber Monday. Perhaps you could have a Christmas countdown offering a new product each day. Only you know what works for your shop. But the fact of the matter is more of us are buying online, so why not find a way to tap into the market?
It’s my hope that some of you find use for the made to order and installment images included with this post to help boost your business. Consider images 1-4 and 6-9 as a holiday gift from me. Know somebody who might need them? Send them a link. And if you have any ideas on holiday promotions yourself feel free to share them with us.
As an artist I adore the fact that I can actually make a living from doing what I love. It’s my hope that you get your shop up and running and make a living at it too. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
Victoria Rose Martin is an artist and designer currently living in South Florida. She is the Department Chair for Fine Art and Graphic Design at Palm Beach State College in Lake Worth, Florida. You can visit her website at: VictoriaRoseMartin.com.
For more tips about selling your artwork, check out the 2014 Artist’s and Graphic Designer’s Market.
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