Debate: Should Artists Include Pricing on Their Websites?

As I am discussing the internet and marketing online with artists, the question of whether or not an artist should include pricing information on their site often arises. I spend quite a bit of time looking at artists’ websites, and, from my observations, most artists do not include pricing on their websites. I’ve also found that a good number of galleries don’t include pricing information either. The lack of pricing information is always a little surprising to me, but perhaps it shouldn’t be as there is a warm debate over the issue.

I’ve heard both sides of this debate. While I suspect that a large number of artists (and galleries) don’t include pricing information because they see that very few others are including it – those that do put thought into the issue seem to have pretty strong opinions one way or the other.

Briefly, to frame both sides of the issue, those who don’t include pricing seem to omit it for one or more of the following reasons:

  • To encourage contact from the potential buyer. If there’s no pricing information, the reasoning seems to suggest, the client will have to call the gallery or artist and ask for the pricing and now the salesperson has an opportunity to actively engage the customer and push toward the sale.
  • Including pricing can lead to complications or confusion. As I understand this concern, if there is inconsistency in pricing between the artist’s website and the gallery website it can lead to obvious customer service problems. The same would be true if the site is out of date and a price has not been updated after a price increase.
  • Including pricing makes an artist’s website site seem too commercial

There are probably other arguments, but these seem to be the primary positions I run into.

I come down firmly on the other side of the argument and am in favor of including art prices on artist and gallery websites. My arguments against the points above, respectively are:

  • If you are waiting for someone to call you or email you for pricing you are missing the point of the internet. Visitors to your site aren’t going to contact you, they are just going to move on. In the internet age, people want to find information easily and instantly. We have always included pricing on xanadugallery.com– instead of getting calls asking “how much is it” we get calls saying “I want to buy it, here’s my credit card” or, even better, we get the order right from the site. Pricing is the single most important thing people are looking for on the site, you’re only frustrating them if you don’t give them this information. 
  • Running into problems due to inconsistent pricing is not an internet problem, it’s a pricing problem (or a laziness problem). An artist’s pricing should be 100% consistent across all venues. Eliminate inconsistencies in pricing and you won’t have any website pricing problems.
  • As far as the “too commercial” issue, I am truly dumbfounded by this one. Aren’t we trying to sell the art? If not, if you are just trying to create a web museum of your work – then pricing probably isn’t necessary. If, however, your aim is to sell, then you need to overcome your fear of commercializing your site. Collector’s will buy only if given the opportunity.

Of course there are other considerations for an artist. Some galleries prohibit their artists from sharing pricing information on their sites. I think this is counter-productive for all involved – especially if the gallery isn’t generating strong online sales, but it is wise for an artist to accede to the wishes of their galleries if the gallery is generating sales for them. It wouldn’t hurt though to have a discussion with your gallery and talk about the pros and cons of including pricing on their site and your site.

Of course, this debate is close to moot if you aren’t getting strong traffic to your site. If you’re not getting 200+ unique visitors to your site weekly, you should start there before you worry too much about pricing (more on this in a forthcoming post).

What do You Think?

Do you include pricing on your site? Do you have arguments one way or another that I’m overlooking? Share your thoughts, comments and questions in the comments section below. Your feedback improves the dialogue and I appreciate your participation.

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93 Comments

  1. Good to know your thoughts about this for sure. I have not included my prices yet – but I will once I update the art I show on my site as available to an commerce option! Thanks for the reassurance! I am restructuring my website soon!

  2. I completely agree with you Jason. People want to know. I also agree about the integrity the price needs to be the same with the gallery and the artist. Someday I hope you and I and your gallery will be able to work together and I will be able to Work with you and your gallery.
    Sincerely, Ciel

  3. Jason, as a collector of original art now for 16 years, I agree with your arguments completely. Notably, this one: “Pricing is the single most important thing people are looking for on the site, you’re only frustrating them if you don’t give them this information.”

  4. Hi Jason,
    I do include pricing on my website and have made sales as a result. As you indicated, these people appreciated having the information readily available and it make it just that much easier for them to take action.

  5. Jason, I tend to agree with you. The advantage of on-line pricing is it gives the artist/gallery a chance to test pricing in the market. The issue we have is that we do have gallery representation and we do not want to create a conflict by appearing to compete with our channel partners. Any comment you may have on this is appreciated but I think we will start our re-tooling for our website to test the on-line pricing concept. Thanks for your overview on this.

  6. This article is very timely for me. I’ve always included pricing and work to ensure my prices are kept up-to-date. Lately I have questioned whether I should eliminate the price on my sites because so many of my peers to not publish their prices. And, yes, I did find it frustrating to find a piece I like but don’t know what it costs…so I have been in a quandary as to which way to go…..price or no price!!
    Your article just answered my question…..I’m keeping my pricing on my site!!
    Thank you!!! 🙂

  7. Whether or not accurate, I tend to presume that if there is no price displayed with a painting that has caught my eye and that I’d consider purchasing, the asking price is very likely an amount that I can’t afford (or is not priced rationally), and I just move on. The unfortunate consequence is that the price might have been at the very top end of what I’d spend, and I might even have been willing to breach that limit for this particular painting, but the moment passes before I go get my credit card. (Almost all my art purchases occur within hours of the first time I view the pieces.) As both an artist (oil painter) and buyer of art, I have no recollection of ever having been moved to enquire about the price of a painting. Again, I figure that there must be a reason they’re not telling me up front, and I turn the page or walk to the next offering.

    1. I strongly agree w you- and not just w art, or just online either. If im in a store or gallery and i dont see a price, it must b out of reach- “if you gotta ask, then you cant afford it”(;

  8. I agree with including prices too, including if you are providing a service. I have never inquired for pricing before, if is not there I move on.

  9. I am fairly new to the art world and *may* have found a happy medium. I do believe it is important to display pricing online, however I don’t like it plastered everywhere either. In my online gallery you click on the thumbnail of the painting to see a larger version where the price and more information about the piece is displayed. So far it seems to be working, but I am open to suggestions. 🙂

  10. Hi Jason,
    I have wrestled with this only because I sell in fine art galleries and some do not want pricing listed, yet I get calls for pricing even though I list gallery. I’m getting ready to
    re-do web. And how do the galleries feel if you are on-line and with them even if price is
    consistent which it needs to be.! Suggest. I am on line with Xanadu and of course list prices….

  11. I’ve had customers tell me they want the prices shown. I would think it makes it easier for them to make a decision. Personally I’m always wary of any online sales sight that won’t tell you the price of an item until you’re well into the sales pitch. R.

  12. Hi Jason,

    I agree with you that artists and galleries should include prices on their website. But I also understand the concerns you mention some others having, and that is not appearing overly “salesy” (to use a made-up marketing word). So here’s what I’ve done on my website.

    I have pages for my artwork that just show galleries of each piece with titles and basic information, but no prices. Below each is a button that invites interested parties to get more information. When they click that button, they are taken to a page that provides more detail on the piece and the pricing. It’s connected to my “Shop” page, which they can also access directly from the top menu or the hamburger icon on a mobile device.

    I think it’s a reasonable compromise between having a traditional art site with no pricing while allowing those interested in getting that information to do so easily. At least it works for me.

    Cheers, and keep up the great work!

  13. Jason,
    I agree that consistent pricing should always be posted. In my experience most potential buyers want to know the price BEFORE they inquire too deeply. In a lot of cases they often think the work is more expensive than it really is. I post a price on my personal website with FASO. That price is the same whether they buy direct or from the Gallery.
    Each work is designated as ” through Gallery” or ” available “. In this manner gallery owners need not worry about displaying a work in their facility since my website clearly indicates where the work is available and the price. In that manner we work together. Integrity is priceless and any one who thinks that they can double deal on prices is open to failure.
    Don Rankin

    http://www.donrankinfineart.com

    1. Thanks for your comments. I totally agree with Jason and I like your idea of giving the information that indicates where the work is available.

  14. Hello Jason,

    It’s always a tough question to answer. I’ve tried to apply a balance by including pricing on my smaller pieces. My larger, unique items are POA. I believe if a buyer is truly interested in one of these pieces, they will make contact and the fact that it is POA only, shouldn’t deter them if that’s a piece they truly desire.

  15. I agree with you Jason. I have prices on my site as well as several other sites that insist on pricing each piece. The Internet is for efficiency. People want to know what they are getting and for how much in one fell swoop. I’m always frustrated when I’m trying to shop but don’t see prices.

  16. I have a slightly different situation in that nearly all my work is done on commission. I don’t include prices because each pice is unique. I’m an artist blacksmith and much of my work is site specific. Perhaps I should include a range of prices? I’m just not sure how to do that fairly.
    Thanks for the interesting posts.

  17. Thank you for the confirmation. I too believe in placing prices on my website. When I shop on-line, if I don’t see prices, I assume it is too expensive and move on. My website is a boon to my business and I like people to know the value immediately. I keep the prices the same as the shows and galleries I am in and all works pretty well.

    Thank you, Jason, for the information you share with us always.
    Pamela Shearer
    paintingbypamela.com

  18. I very strongly feel that prices should always be posted. I’m certain that sales are lost as a result of not posting them. You’re right—people want information and they want it quickly. If they are simply considering options, they will not contact the artist for a price, they will move on to sites that do have complete information.

    Often people simply assume that pieces will be out of their price range, and do not want to be embarrassed by having to decline interest when they learn the price, or be repeatedly contacted by the artist. However, the piece may not be as expensive as they assumed, so a potential sale is lost.

    I had a well-to-do aunt who asked an artist the price of his unmarked work at an art show. She claims that the artist looked her up and down before quoting the price. Rightly, or wrongly, she believed he was assessing how much she would pay. She was offended and left without making a purchase. Inconsistencies, assumptions and misunderstandings are eliminated with clear pricing.

    I think that another reason some artists don’t post prices is to give less info to their competition, which I can understand, but not at the expense of losing sales.

  19. I am in Canada and my work is only available direct from me in my own gallery. I mention Canada because the exchange rate between Canada and the US is constantly changing and I have a lot of US clients. With over 250 piece pieces available, manually changing the prices is a huge task. In addition to that, I have clients in 27 countries and I feel I am not a large enough organization to justify a fully automatic integrated currency POS system.
    To be honest it hasn’t made any difference in terms of inquiries or sales.

  20. I don’t include prices on my website because I sell work to interior designers, who mark it up to their clients. The alternative is to give designers a “to the trade” discount, which I have thought about. I would be interested to know how other artists handle this situation.

    1. Most definitely this is what you should do. Have the full retail price on your website and an unadvertised price to your designers. This is exactly what a gallery is doing, so what’s the difference? When I get a request for a lower price if a piece is sold directly, I tell the buyer that it’s unethical to undercut the gallery or I ask them to contact the gallery and then I make sure the piece is there. But one thing I can do is include taxes or ship at my expense for a private buyer.

  21. Thanks for this. I agree, and I believe there is another reason to include prices: The customer may think the retailer is trying to give the impression, “If you have to ask, you probably can’t afford it.” What the customer is imagining then may be over and above what the work is actually priced at, and will certainly act as a deterrent.
    Moreover, for us introverts, the act of having to call and discuss it with someone (who may try to upsell in the process) is a definite strike against buying…

  22. If you’re showing the world your artwork online, put a price on it. And staying consistent with your own pricing formula is tbe only way to go, website or gallery. I totally agree with you,Jason. Thanks for this information.

  23. I ran a six-month experiment “without” because I wanted to prove the debate myself.
    “Without” was more a time waster; I answered emails and phone calls … no sales resulted strictly from my website.
    After adding prices I knew every inquiry was an interested buyer. Slower traffic, of course, but when I did receive one I knew they were serious. Generally, the only thing to be resolved then was payment method and delivery. I’ve kept prices thereafter.
    The only caution is to make absolutely sure your prices match your gallery’s. To be that careless undermines your gallery and you lose credibility. A responsible business will not do that. If a party is interested in a piece hanging at one of my gallery’s or commercial site I immediately refer them to take myself out of the loop.
    If I am showing at a local venue and the buyer asks for terms or a discount I can freely do so.
    I get annoyed with a website when there is no price … on anything. I can’t think of another product available online other than art that is not priced. Even high end products with endless options state, “Priced from ….” People are uncomfortable when they can’t find a graceful way out of a casual inquiry; neither does art have an add on package. Definitely vote for pricing.

    1. A person could, instead of adding the price, say, “Available at — Gallery only” and include the gallery’s telephone number, or say, “Price available at —Gallery in Whatever City”, and include the phone number. That would mean, probably taking that piece out of your catalog, temporarily, or get a number from the buyer and call them right back after checking the price with the gallery (if you don’t already know it). Having the ‘gallery’ notation there might even make the buyer more interested in the piece.

  24. My horribly out of date website which needs to be fixed had no prices under advisement in 2004. If the lack of pricing encourages dialogue and contact that can’t be proven by my site which I will admit is a “backwater”.
    It was also recently that I discovered what supposedly every artist knows which is their per hour rate. I am in a much better place both mentally, cyberally, and physically to offer pricing. (Aside- I “lost” a sale because the person said my work was too cheap and wanted to know what was wrong with it. the conversation turned pretty quickly to what was wrong with my business thinking. (Whether or not the person was serious is beside the point because i;m taking the “lesson” to heart- and you book will arrive this week).
    Both artists and the public need to know the price and the artists need to know what that price is and how to get there.

  25. I’m a collector as well as an artist. I’ve never understood not including pricing on a website. I certain,y want to know if a work is in a price range I can afford before contacting the artist or gallery.

  26. Jason: Here’s a question I’d love to see:

    How many artists on this board have actually sold art as a direct result of the internet with no other influences? I’m talking about selling art priced at a minimum of $200 to someone who had never heard of you, never seen your work in person, or had never dealt with you in any way before (eg: family member, colleague, friend) . The decision to purchase was based solely on seeing it on the web and nothing more.

    I can tell you that even though I have sold over 9000 pieces of my art (99% of new sales which were sold under the criteria above), I have only ever sold one piece ($325) to a complete stranger in 15 years.

    Keep up the great work Jason!

    Kenneth

    1. Hi Kenneth,
      To answer your question, I have! The web has provided the majority of my sales. My first large commission ($1500) was for a client in California whose designer found my artwork on the internet. That was back in 2007. Over the years I have had numerous purchases from complete strangers who just happened to find my website or saw my artwork listed on other art sites on the internet.

    2. Kenneth. Yes I have sold artwork from my website to complete strangers in a couple of cases. Each was looking for a certain subject matter or place that I paint. I’ve sold other work from my website to people I’ve never met in real life, but yes, they’ve heard of me.

      I have marketed my art on line and I had an instructional column in Watercolor Magazine. I used to show in galleries, and people who bought my work at galleries in the past have looked me up and bought again. So it wasn’t that these sales came from nowhere.

      I have experienced that whether an artist sells from their website or through a gallery, gettin the work seen online is important.

    3. Dear Kenneth over 50 percent of our (my husband and I are both artists) art is sold to “new” customers. Most from the Internet, some from art fairs. Our internet customers have kept us going in the bad times. And my husbands biggest commission ever was from the Internet – over 30 k. In fact all our biggest sales have been from the Internet – which amazed me at the time. One person spent over 7000 pounds on something he had only seen on the Internet. We did post a video (it was sculpture). There are rules in the UK which have to be followed ( in the UK this comes under the Distance Selling Rules) when selling from the Internet. The buyer has a legal right to return it for whatever reason if he/she doesn’t like it. I assume it is the same in the US. But I can honestly say we have never had anything returned. We always try to post “honest” photos rather than enhanced photos. Packaging also needs to be excellent and we do charge a bit extra for this. But this all rather gets off the point of pricing. We do have pricing on our website. I hate sites without pricing. There are exceptions – when something has been sold and has to be commissioned or if we have removed price because we are in negotiation with someone. But we feel it is a must have.

  27. I struggled with this question for years but now I definitely put prices on my website. I didn’t use to until I had a collector question me as to why I didn’t. He said he believed artists who didn’t list their prices were waiting to see if they could charge a higher price depending on the buyer and their location; therefore, he wouldn’t buy artwork if the price wasn’t listed. That convinced me it was time to list my prices. After doing so, that particular collector purchased four of my paintings!
    I also learned that listing the prices on my website helps eliminate disappointment. Before listing them, I would have inquiries about the price of an artwork and the potential buyer would say they wanted it but then never completed the purchase process. Even though I initiated numerous followups, they never responded again. So, I am a firm believer in listing artwork prices on websites. It saves time and disappointment in the long run.

  28. Unless you, the artist, are extremely well known and have a loyal following of collectors and fans, I would agree about listing your prices. Also, about being consistent with your pricing. All paintings of the same size should be the same price, then there is no confusion for the buyer, or for you, the artist and seller.

  29. Jason, I agree with you and would like to show pricing on my website, however, I have been asked by 2 galleries to NOT include pricing on my website. Both of the galleries are in high price range markets and I they pump up the price higher than I had been asking. Their reasoning is that if customers see my lower price on my website, they will contact me to sell to them directly. I also sell through interior designers who add on a commission to whatever I am asking.

    1. I, too, am represented by a gallery that adds a few percent to my retail prices. Also I am represented by some galleries who don’t. (So far, none of my galleries show prices on their websites.) I am interested in how anyone else deals with this predicament when putting prices on their own artist website. And if someone inquires about a painting on my website that happens to be at a gallery, not in my studio, I ask them to contact the gallery directly.

      1. When I worked with galleries, one gallery raised the retail price without my knowing it and when the gallerist sold the painting at the higher price, they kept the extra amount and paid me the commission on the retail price I had stated. One of my collectors saw the inconsistency when the gallerist took paintings to her home, and my paintings were in the mix. It messed up my price range with collectors. Needless to say, I pulled out of that gallery.

    2. I was always told that once you sell in galleries, you should be keeping prices consistent across the board, regardless of where/how you sell the work. So if the price is $1,000 at a gallery, it should be listed at about $1,000 on your website (+/- 5 to 10%). I’m not in galleries yet, so this is just what instructors and fellow artists have told me. I’m also not sure how that works if you have pieces in galleries across the country where going prices might vary a lot.

      1. This is my conundrum. I live in rural North Devon UK, and have had paintings in local galleries and with a London agent. London prices are perhaps double what could be expected locally. I do believe in giving a ‘price guide’ (= negotiable) but if I listed all work to conform to London prices I’d sell little if anything locally and would, at a stroke, exclude myself from my ‘home’ galleries.

        For work in a gallery, pricing must be consistent but for studio work I use my ‘price guide’ system, which seems to work quite well.

        As a matter of interest I sell more work in the US than I do in the UK! So, yes, to total strangers. Have yet to work out why that should be.

  30. Absolutely, prices should be included. When we had that homework of listing/contacting 100 galleries I can’t express the intensity of irritation when I had to make contact and then wait for a return email for prices (sometimes 2 days). If I were a real purchasing client I would be so put off by this, it’s doubtful I would have bothered. Another issue that arises is WHAT IF I WANT TO KNOW THE PRICE OF 5 DIFFERENT PAINTINGS.
    One experience was to make inquiry on a painting, wait over 24 hours for a reply which in essence offered the painting IF THE FIRST RESPONDING CLIENT OPTED OUT. It was stated in such a way that it sounded like I might win the lotto (or not).
    I have two thoughts on that: why did the first client decline and then putting me in a position wherein I have to politely decline.
    I think it reflects badly on the gallery policy.
    I think the same applies to personal websites. I get the feel that the PRICE IS NOT THE SAME TO ALL INQUIRERS.
    It’s like going into a high end exclusive restaurant where there are no prices listed.

  31. Jason I strongly agree with you! I want my website to be very commercial. It is my goal to sell my work and therefore I reflect that message whenever I can. I do know artists that have referred to us as sell outs because because our art is constantly for sale. But they also wonder why it is not possible for them to earn anything from their work. Many thanks for you time and efforts on these conversations.

  32. I always have had my prices listed. Some galleries don’t put the prices readily visible even in the gallery which I don’t agree with either.
    As you know whatever price you place on things there is often an inclination for clients to try to negotiate a lower price anyway. For some reason it’s ok to haggle over art pricing but not so much other things as much. I have found it endlessly annoying but handle it better now than I used to. I’m more inclined to make an offer to work out a deal if they buy multiple pieces.

  33. This is interesting. When I look at an artists website that displays art but no pricing, I consider that art not for sale. Simple as that. I have assumed it was an inventory issue and that the artist has sold the work but still wanted to show some of their archives. In fashion if something is mentioned in a magazine as it says “call for pricing” the assumption is that is either one of a kind and most likely unavailable or priced very very high. It’s funny what messages we can send with omission.

  34. Jason your point is well made for listing prices. That being said, it is also very important that artists maintain consistent pricing between their studio and galleries. In a world qued to ‘sales and discounts’, artists need to be prepared for the the impact of mass cosumer marketing expectations from the public. It can be a challenge to maintain fine art prices when doing art fairs, studio openings, and at the same time supply wholesale vendors with derivaive works of original pieces. It is vital to be sure to work this out ahead with any gallery that represents an artist work. Creating a sales formula, on how your pricing is set, and sticking to it, is key to maintaining consistent prices in the broad selling marketplace. Some artists define prices by size, and some by what similar works has sold for in the past, which in a shifting economy is difficult. Certainly now as never before, 2 formulas are needed for pricing. One for originals, and one for derivitives made from originals. Buyers in all venues need to be well informed as to ‘what’ they are purchasing, because picing is very different for original work, fine art original editions vs derivative works from the same images, not done by the artists ‘hand’. In is important to know who the clients is that values an original vs someone who fell in love with your image idea.
    It is intrigal to maintain fairness, consistency, credibility by the artist to maintain gallery and client confidence.
    Mary Helsaple

    and

  35. Yes, yes, yes I never treat price as some sort of secret only to be revealed once a potential buyer is sucked into a discussion. When I show my works, I like to use labels with the price in much bigger type face than the title and artist info. I think price labels should be readable without having to get out your reading glasses. I walk away when prices of any product or service are not clearly and boldly shown and read without squinting. I have visited some foreign countries where laws require that items shown in shopkeeper’s windows must be clearly labeled with the price. If an artist is afraid to show prices, he / she might not think his work is that good.

  36. I have 3 active websites. Two have prices listed, the third I haven’t set up for sales yet, due to my computer illiteracy. There is no traffic on the third one.
    I have had many sales on the 2 sites with prices. Occasionally I get emails asking what the prices are for my paintings, even though the prices are listed. Usually those emails are scams.

  37. I agree with you about showing prices and most of the reasons have been stated above. My experience in selling real estate is similar that if a price is not shown clients assume they can’t afford it but also they don’t want to get tied to a salesperson chasing them for sales. People don’t like salespeople, it’s the old car sales mindset, they don’t trust salespeople. It’s hard to establish a trusting relationship and people will lie, avoid anyway they can until they are comfortable. Sales are the same in any field.

    1. I leave a small red dot in the caption, remove “available” and the price, then list the city where the painting is. It is a disservice to the patron to have their private business listed for the public to see. There is no positive reason to leave the price and plenty of negative ones. The prices listed on your other work speaks for itself. If they want to tell their friends how much they paid for the piece, that is their business.

  38. I do invlude pricing on my website. I agree that a potential buyer is going to feel more comfortable when purchasing a painting when the price is up front. I do have paintings in a gallery and these same paintings are priced differently than on my web site. This difference is due to the amount of commission the gallery gets when my painting is sold there. Subsequently I ask 40 % more for the gallery sale to cover their commission. The one thing I struggle with is mailing a painting to a customer. Boards, canvas boards and canvases when framed all weigh differently. I can’t or haven’t weighed out each piece so I’m simply letting the customer know that S&H will need to be established before the sale is completed. Needless to say this approach is risky since it can lead to loosing the customer when they feel they already deal are paying a lot. It’s just another problem I wish I didn’t have to deal with..

  39. Prices should be consistent but the problem I’ve run into is that galleries will not take my work and customers won’t buy it either in my area unless the prices are considerably lower than they need to be for a national exhibit. Either I have to give up all sales and all galleries within a two hour drive from where I live, or I have to list prices when I enter national shows that are so low I won’t be taken seriously. I’ve already had the experience of having the lowest priced piece in an OPA show, yet the price was double what I can charge if I want to move my art here.

  40. I have been reluctant to list prices on my website or blog, primarily because of the Euro/Dollar differences. The official exchange rate varies so greatly over the years that it would be difficult to keep a single constant pricing concept for both currencies. As it now is, I have two distinct price scales – wouldn’t look very good on a web page. I would be most grateful to hear of an acceptable solution. I do most of my work/sales in Germany, but do have a studio in the USA, where I spend several months each year.

    1. What about posting a price in Euros and addding a link on the page to an online currency converter, so people can easily check the current price in US dollars?

    1. Hi tobie. Have you any issues where the payments via PayPal are fraud, or not funded? I understand sales thru PayPal is the only secure way to sell. Any thoughts are appreciated.

  41. I agree with having the pricing shown. Many will leave without asking the gallery or leave your site if they don’t see prices. The part that questions me is if a gallery chooses not to show prices I respect their right as it is their space. But our websites are our space. As long as the prices are the same as what the gallery will sell for, why shouldn’t the artist be able to post prices if they choose. Maybe I need more education on this but it would be my site, not the gallery’s. Or what if one gallery you work with posts prices and another doesn’t? That sounds like a tricky situation.

  42. I used to think like that about pricing my art work . . .that is was too commercial, too crass, etc. . . .I was marketing mostly on facebook and instagram at the time. Got lots of comments, but no sales to speak of. The minute I started posting prices I began receiving messages or emails saying ” I want to buy this”. Now I do it routinely and my sales are starting to take off. Marketing online has forced me to print out a price list for my original art and prints so that I remain consistent. I do a lot of portraits and when someone inquires I email them my price list and they pick the size. Very easy and straight forward. I do the same with prints. It seems so obvious now that sales are happening, and I totally agree with you about the response. People want to know. and sometimes they need to think about it, but I have found that by the time they contact me they are decided because they have most of the info. Don’t listen to other “starving artists” who put you down for being too “commercial”. We do after all want to make an income from our art!

      1. I absolutely hate when I have to go to a separate page for pricing on anything (art, or otherwise). My first thought it, “What are they trying to hide?”

        Immutable Rule of Websites and Internet:
        Website visitors are like water. They want to take the easiest, most direct route. NEVER make them work for anything! They will sooner leave than make unnecessary mouse clicks!

  43. I don’t have pricing on my website right now though I wish I did. I’ve not found a good e-commerce solution yet. I offer my photos in a variety of media and sizes and I’m not sure how to list that for each piece on the website. When talking to a customer, I like to tell them what media I can print each piece in and then ask what size they would like and give them pricing from there. The web host I’m with right now is adding an e-commerce element soon and I’m hoping to take advantage of that.

    While I agree it would be nice to have consistent pricing between my website and any galleries I have work in, the reality is people who desire to purchase art in one region may not have the same financial ability as in another region. To echo what Theresa Grillo Laird said above, the 16×20 piece that I can sell in Laguna Beach for $500 might go for a maximum of $350 in Springfield, IL

    When my work is in galleries, either in group/solo shows or just for sale, I am usually paying a commission to the gallery and since that commission is inconsistent, my prices have to change so I can still make a profit after the commission is taken out.

  44. I work in three media, and give a price range for each media. I don’t price individual works. I also don’t have e-commerce on my site. Most of my prices are high enough so that I don’t think they would lead to a spontaneous sale.

  45. Yep. Prices! I am also very adamant to make sure that all of my artists are across the board with the prices on their own sites, other galleries and their direct interaction with clients. It shows a high integrity level all around and that is THE my number one foundation of my business, all of our dealings and our relationships with our artists. There is no reason a piece of art should be a different price for a different person or someone who lives in a different place. I guess I just don’t understand that? I want all of my collectors to know exactly what they are paying for and it is rare that I would offer discounts, etc unless a client is purchasing multiple pieces. If pressed for a “better price” I will usually offer to cover tax or shipping costs or do a gift with purchase so THAT way the artist is getting what they are asking AND the client knows that we ask a fair price and that doesn’t change. I also don’t get the whole “build in an extra percentage to in turn discount the price so the collector feels like they are getting a “deal” or add an extra percentage to take it off whole thing..?” Just stand behind your artists (or art) and what they are asking. Period. So yes… hooray for pricing! Thanks as always Jason… lOve your blog!

  46. I will be adding a price list to my website .based on size of course . That way I only have to alter the one page instead of each image.
    And to answer Kenneth Smiths question- yes I have sold large works off my sight to strangers,but after a conversation and several photos etc. I’ve also recently been selling from my social media connections, as well as my commercial galleries of course.

  47. I price my work. I hate seeing the sticker shock. It eliminates wasting my time or that of the customer or potential customer. I love my art, and believe in the beauty and quality of my work. I am an artist, and I am also a businessman. I feel it is a way to respect my customers by pricing my work both at shows and on my website, and it dispenses with a lot of the pretense the artist is often stereotyped with.

  48. I also agree with including pricing. As a buyer, the key info I look for on websites is price, size, and contact info, regardless of whether I’m buying art to a t-shirt. If the information isn’t easily available, I’ll move on. As an artist, I want to let people know what the price is so that the potential client knows if they can afford the piece, rather than risk having to deal with people who aren’t ready or prepared to spend the money.

  49. Very interesting topic and good arguments for both sides of the coin. My website does not include prices because I let the galleries handle that. And the galleries that represent me have prices on their sites. I use my website a a portfolio and informational site and leave the commerce to the experts.

  50. Yes I believe pricing is a wise decision. I don’t have a web site yet and mostly sell by word of mouth. I also collect work and find that if no price is listed I make no further inquiry because I get the notion that it will be too expensive for me. I sometimes buy pieces at auction on various sites, and frankly, that’s all about pricing. So I am attracted to auction sites also because I know for sure there will be a starting price for me to contemplate. Seeing the pricing of other artists is also helpful in getting some kind of idea where my pricing falls or should fall.

  51. I agree with you, Jason. About a year ago, I doubled my prices so that when I approached galleries, my pricing would be in line with galleries that I wished to be in. Then, I added another 20% so that I had some negotiating room and could come down that much. I had not hooked up with a gallery as of July, and because I was about to do two very high-end art festivals in Chicago in July and August and I wasn’t yet affiliated with a gallery, I decided to cut my prices in half just for the art shows. After all, I didn’t have to give a gallery a percentage. I did not sell anything at either art festival and have learned my lesson that people are not going to pay a thousand dollars or more at any art festival no matter how affluent the neighborhood or how prestigious the show is and I will NEVER do another one. That being said, I re-evaluated my pricing and decided to begin to approach galleries again. Now, my prices are at 40% above what I feel I must get for them (and what they were priced at originally) and I have not added in any room for negotiating. I feel that I’ve finally figured out what my price point should be. I have always put prices on my website, so when I decided to experiment with my pricing for the art festivals, I spent a lot of time changing prices on my website so that people would not find two different prices, the price I displaying at the festival and the price on the website. As soon as I got done with the festivals, I changed everything again on the website…a huge amount of work, but absolutely necessary. I’m determined to stick with the current pricing no matter what. I sold two large pieces last year at the highest prices and now that they’re 10% less than that, I’m hoping I’ve finally figured out my price point and I’m ready to start approaching galleries again. I still feel it’s important to include pricing on my website.

  52. This is tough and either side will probably never agree. I believe if your goal is to sell independently, you must have prices. If your trying to get into galleries, you could go either way. The majority of galleries don’t have prices, so it would be fine not having them on your website. But it also wouldn’t hurt if you did list prices. If a gallery doesn’t want you to then this would be a discussion between artist and gallery. I have had galleries wanting me to remove myself from all online galleries and websites. I have declined all and at this time those galleries have since closed their doors.

  53. Agree totally, Jason. 90% of my sales are online through my site and online galleries. They’re not going to buy if they don’t know the price. I work to ensure that my pricing is consistent on all sites and that sold pieces are marked sold on all sites.
    Frequently on my site, instead of a price or in addition to a price (depending on my mood), I put a direct link to an online gallery where I want to generate sales.

  54. No prices.
    There are, for me, a number of reasons.
    (Online) purchase of an artwork is not comparable with the purchase of, let’s say an LED lamp. It’s a more exclusive item.
    Initially the artwork is important, then the price. The interest and the purchase of art is in most cases a matter of feelings. Placing a price is a rational given. You can compare it with what the absence of a clock is in a casino …
    A second reason is a very important one, in my opinion. Suppose a person has a budget of $ 2000 and ask for the price of an artwork. Suppose the price of that work is $ 3,000. If the price is visible on the site, the potential buyer may leave the site because it is too expensive and you have probably no contact details. If the buyer asks you about the price via e-mail, because the price is not known, you’ve got his contact details. This is extremely important. Perhaps now the buyer has a budget of $ 2,000, but possibly a higher budget in the future, who knows? Sure you have to answer more requests but I think it’s worth it.
    By keeping in touch with the potential buyer, there remains a possibility of a conversion.
    Of course this is just my opinion.

  55. I don’t have a website but when I am shopping, across the board, I want to see, up front, whether the pricing is within my budget. If there is no price shown, I move on, and a potential sale is lost. Simple as that.

  56. Thanks Jason, for another great post. I do include pricing on my website. It was something I added several years ago. If I see something online that interests me, I look for the price. It would be a rare occurrence for me to inquire about a price. If there is no price listed, I move on. It would not make sense to do that to my potential customers. My pricing is consistent across the board, so there is no difficult recordkeeping.

  57. Thanks Jason, for raising this issue. I do think that online customers will tend to want the price to be visible and I have put prices on my website with one major qualification. Some of my paintings from the website are also in a brick & mortar gallery. Since my website uses PayPal and I have been notified of a sale after the price has been deposited to the account, I have worried about someone purchasing the painting from the gallery at the same time that someone else purchased it online. A highly unlikely event, but still worrisome. My solution has been to omit the price on lie for those paintings that are also in the gallery, and indicate on line to contact the artist for more information.

  58. Thanks, Jason. I absolutely agree with you. People want to know, and they want to know now. It’s gotten more and more that way as children and grandchildren grow up on computer games/devices that give them instant feedback and instant results for each mouse click. Delayed gratification is a learned skill, and we as a culture have not been teaching it for some time now.

    Even in brick-and-mortar stores, if the objects for sale have no price tags, I walk away. Simple as that. Going in search of, and then waiting for a sales clerk to answer such a basic question as “how much is this?” is very off-putting. I’m interested, but I need to know whether my budget will handle the purchase. I don’t care to discuss my budget with a total stranger or listen while they try to convince me that I really can afford it, or that I’d regret it forever if I walked away. They don’t have my best interests in mind, and they have zero information about my income and expenses.

    My thought as I walk away from unpriced items is, “Hmm. Well, they must not want to sell it very badly.” Same thing with websites unless I’ve already determined that I really need or want what is being offered.

  59. Great advise! I just updated my website and added prices. I’m glad to know that was a good thing to do.

    Since buying and using your “ART Sala” software two years ago, I no longer have to worry about giving the same pricing everywhere. Your software takes care of pricing and gallery commissions, inventory numbers as well as where and when a specific piece has been shown or sold. I love how I can consign pieces to galleries and have a record and photo of the piece. When I deliver my artwork, I take your printed sheet with me and have the gallery director sign and date the sheet. This takes care of all the paperwork for tracking my artwork!

    Thank you very much for developing a truly useful program and a very insightful book! Being part of your online community has been truly helpful.

  60. It seems to me that if you want to sell something that you would want to put the price. The only exception might be, and I don’t know if this ever happens, is if a retailer is buying the work then reselling it. However, I would think, then that you would advertise the price as wholesale or give a link to the retailer and other galleries.

  61. As an artist and a gallery owner who has worked in many areas of retail for over 30 years, I wholeheartedly agree with your points Jason. And always find myself making the same ones when I have this discussion with artists. Thank you for being so clear and concise. I have shared this post to my own followers on FB.

  62. I put my prices on my website and include a shopping cart. As a customer I want to have an idea of price before I even get interested. You don’t know if an artists prices are going to be $250, $2500, or $25,000. I don’t want to call and waste my time our the galleries if it is out of my league. My perception is, if you have to ask, you probably can’t afford it. Truth may be it is very reasonably priced, but I am probably not going to call to find out.

  63. I have talked to many galleries in my area about this, and the consensus was: Ten years ago this was considered gauche; now it’s essential. Those that are most successful do provide prices online. Even the most elite galleries will GROUP works according to price ranges: ‘If your budget is $500 to $1000, $200o-$4000, etc…” and then group the works in each category. I checked some NY galleries, and the ones who had no prices often had sites that were out-of-date as well. Why would I even waste my time?
    When I am looking at work to purchase for myself as a CONSUMER of art, I get REALLY annoyed if I have to click more than twice to get the information I want. I start to think, ‘Gee, these people are really making it hard for me, they must not value my time very much’, which then quickly devolves to, ‘I do not have time for this.” And I leave the site.
    I do not have a shopping cart, because I have work in several galleries as well as in my personal possession. Therefore, I have a page on my website (Purchase Info) to let people know how they can make a purchase. It begins with, “If you are interested in a painting, please contact me so we can determine if your purchase will be made with a specific gallery”, and a contact link right beside the statement. This also provides an the opportunity to make a personal connection with my potential client.
    Before I began to put prices on my site, people would contact me, but I could hear the embarrassment in their voices when the price was beyond their budget.
    One more thought: Designers or companies who gather work for clients will scan a site and write down those images that match the subject, size, and price parameters set by the client. If you do not have that information easily available, they may not wait for an email or phone call–they just move on. They are always on a tight time schedule.

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