7 Critical Features your website needs to Sell Art OnlinePart 1. What the market trends are showing and what Artists need to know to Sell Art Online  

According to the highly regarded, UK based ®The Hiscox Online Art Trade Report 2017  it would appear that the Global Art Market whilst continuing to grow overall is seeing demonstrated growth particularly in online art sales. In fact the total online art sales is estimated to have reached $3.75 Billion in 2016, up 15% since 2015 and now equates of more than 8.74% of the overall art market.

“For those who say the online art market has had its day – it hasn’t even had its morning yet, it’s still waking up.”  Robert Read -The Hiscox Online Art Trade Report 2017

This is very good news for Artists indeed!

However, that is not to say that this is good news for everyone, especially those with their own artist websites as their report went on to say that over the past 10 years, significant investment has been made into creating a buying experience for the customer that goes well beyond their interest in the art itself.  The report identifies  ‘Hesitant art buyers remain unconvinced about buying art online. The conversion of online art buyers remains static for the third consecutive year, signalling that the online art market could be struggling to convert sufficient numbers of hesitant art buyers. The good news is that existing online art buyers have been acquiring even more art in the last 12 months. The number of online art buyers that have bought more than a single artwork in the last 12 months has increased to 65% in 2017, up from 63% in 2016. ‘

So who are these ‘hesitant art buyers’?  What makes them hesitant?  And for all the non- hesitant buyers buying up  – what’s happening there?  Something’s going very right.   According to the surveys done by Hiscox, the top reasons people are hesitant to buy online are ‘the lack of physical inspection and worries about the work’s condition, authenticity, and the seller’s reputation.’

This leads to another observation made that artist’s own individual websites are often struggling to convert sales as they fail to address the key issues that are required to overcome these obstacles for the hesitant buyer, or in fact, may create a hesitant buyer due to the lack of features offered to support the buying experience.

While it’s understandable that buying online comes with certain risks, it puts further pressure on the Artists themselves to now become Webmasters with sophisticated software and IT knowledge just to compete to sell their art.

Over the coming weeks we’re going to explore the 7 critical features  that must be addressed if your own artist website is going to convert lookers to buyers when they visit your site.

Obstacle number 1.  Friction  

A catchy term that has been coined through the e-commerce world that basically describes any time your customer experiences

  1. Confusion
  2. Doesn’t know what to do next
  3. Are unsure
  4. Have questions or objections that your website design or features do not address.

You’ve probably experienced it yourself when you visit a site that does not adequately direct you through the site, or makes getting to the next step difficult.  There can be many causes of this, from pages being too long with not enough entry or exit points, or information scattered through the website that takes you on a mental excursion to find what you’re looking for.  Perhaps the sales process is too arduous or pictures confusing.  Missing detail.. freight and shipping unknown at checkout.. there can be a long list of things that can contribute to FRICTION for your site visitors and customers.  In an online world where the expectation is that everything should be provided in an instant, you can find only the very determined will persevere with you.  The rest have simply clicked off, opened a new google search and you and your site are a distant memory.  And how long do you have?  Less than 3 seconds!  If your customers experience friction for more than 3 seconds, you begin the slippery slope of having them click off.  However, take your visitors by the hand, make them feel welcome, and walk them through the process and you may just find they not only stay a while, but actually buy something while they are there.

This week’s action tip:  take a ‘visitor’s walk’ through your website if you have one and see where you encounter friction.. Ask a trusted friend or colleague to do it for you.  You’ll soon see start to notice where you are scrolling too much to get around or spending too long which may start to cause frustration or Friction.

Part 2 – we start to look at how to solve some of these issues the easy way.

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