The global art market is not in the greatest shape. The worldwide sale of art rose a modest 1.7% in the past year and is now valued at around $45 billion. This follows a seven percent drop in sales between 2014 and 2015. If you are an artist, or at least someone interested in launching a business selling art, this may not seem like the right time.
In reality though, this could be the most opportune moment to launch your business in the art world. The TEFAF art market report quoted earlier in this article estimates that nearly $28 billion of the total $45 billion came from private sales. As customers drift away from galleries to the online world, new age entrepreneurs stand to benefit from taking advantage of these changing dynamics.
Before you can start your own art business, you will need to build a portfolio. If you are an artist, you may want to start with your own paintings. Alternately, you could choose to be a marketplace where other artists could find buyers for their paintings. In this model, artists and the seller sign a revenue sharing agreement for every sale that happens through the website. To build a collection, you could start by contacting art schools and independent artists through email or their Facebook page and offer a revenue sharing agreement.
Launching a store
Once you have your portfolio ready, the next step is to set up an online store. Unless you have very good reasons to do so, it is recommended not to build your own eCommerce platform from scratch. For online art stores to be successful, you will need to establish sellers’ credibility and build buyers’ trust. Building credibility will need extensive investments into security and this could be an unnecessary distraction to a startup art entrepreneur. Most of the online eCommerce platforms are quite affordable and help you minimize these concerns about credibility and trust. Shopify has a detailed article about online selling targeted solely at art.
According to studies conducted by researchers at the University of California, San Diego, emotions that are shared online are contagious. For example, a negative post triggered by rain in one city tends to contagiously also spread to other cities where there is no rain. Given that art is all about expressing thoughts and connecting with the customer at an emotional level, social media tends to be an inherently ideal platform to market and sell art.
Your marketing strategy needs to involve a lot of investment into social media marketing, especially Facebook and Instagram. Both these social media channels are great for products that have a visual appeal. It is also recommended to invest in Facebook advertising that will help you reach out to a targeted audience of art buyers. Art can be an expensive but impulsive decision for a lot of customers, and social media is a great platform to target such buyers.
Another area of opportunity is through partnerships. Art is emerging to be one of the more popular gift items and partnerships with online stores that sell gift items is an opportunity to be seen by prospective buyers. As a startup art seller, you may also serve as a seller to larger online stores or galleries. This helps you get a foot in the door of the online art market and helps you establish yourself as a reputed seller.
Being a successful online art seller cannot happen overnight. But this is an attractive business opportunity that one must not miss if they are an artist or even someone who knows a lot about art.