Choice Overload | Cramming in too Much Art Hurts your Sales

I recently watched a TED talk that reinforced my opinion of the importance of limiting the amount of art you try to display when you are trying to generate sales.

I have long maintained that it’s a bad idea to try and show too much art at once. Whether the art is being shown in a gallery, or at a weekend art festival, I believe it’s better to show a limited number of pieces instead of trying to cram everything you can into your space.

I believe that having too much art in one space hurts you in several ways. First, it makes your display look crowded and unprofessional. Most art needs some space to breathe.  Your display will look better if each piece has its own visual space.

Many galleries and artists feel like they are more likely to make a sale if they offer a wide range of work. This is a kind of shotgun approach. The more you show, the thinking goes, the more likely you are to have something that will appeal. I would argue that the problem with this approach is that you may have a better chance at having the right piece in front of someone if there’s a wide range of work, but the problem is the person won’t be able to properly see the art.

Another critical problem with this approach is that offering people too many choices often makes it impossible for them to make a decision. The TED talk I watched gave me some scientific backing to this opinion. Sheena Iyengar, a prominent Psycho-economist (whatever that is!?) has done research that shows that when customers are faced with too many options, they freeze up. It’s well worth watching her talk at TED and thinking about how it applies to the art business. Iyengar’s insights about “choice overload” show that when people are confronted with too many options, they choose not to choose.

You will see in the video below that having a broad range of choice can attract visitors, but it discourages buyers. Think about that for a minute. Have you ever been at a show where you had great attendance, but didn’t make the sales you would have expected?


Have You Experienced Choice Overload?

Have you ever experienced the choice overload Iyengar refers to, either as a consumer or when trying to sell your art. What are your thoughts about decreasing the amount of art you show customers to boost sales? Share your insights in the comments below.


Starving to Successful

StSBookSHave you always wondered what it takes to show your work in galleries? Is your work being seen by qualified collectors?

In his best-selling book, Xanadu Gallery owner Jason Horejs shares insights gained over a life-time in the art business.

Learn more and order today.

2015-01-07 14_43_10-CSS Button Generator

  1. MiMi Stirn
  2. Tina Huston
  3. Matt Philleo
  4. Karen Blanchet
  5. Susie
  6. Dru Marie Robert
  7. Stephen Hall
  8. Jane H
  9. Yvonne Magee
  10. David Terrar
  11. Barry
  12. Lori Woodward
  13. Lisa Noble
    • Beth MacLaren
    • Mimi stirn
      • Hannah
  14. Diana Carey
  15. Lisa Gibson
  16. Jackie Knott
    • Susan Wiley
  17. Chrissie J
  18. Julia Lesnichy
  19. Gordon Binder
  20. Susanne Sheffer
  21. Cody DeLong
  22. Ruth Bauer Neustadter
  23. Wendy
    • Jackie Knott
      • Ivette
  24. Carol Rondinelli
  25. Homaira Ahmed
  26. Susan Hess
  27. Fred W.
  28. Brenda Delle
  29. Mimi stirn
  30. Gaia Orion
  31. Clio von Doggel
  32. Susan Helen Strok
  33. Charlene
  34. John Scheele
    • Mimi stirn
  35. Susanne Sheffer
    • Mimi stirn
      • Hannah
  36. Terry Walsh
  37. LaMerle Deca
  38. Nancy Pirri
    • Jason Horejs
  39. Christene
  40. Clare Winslow

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *