Sunday, October 05, 2008

eCommerce Can Work For Artists

eCommerce Can Work For Artists

Electronic commerce, also known as e-commerce or eCommerce today, has had many developments in the last 30 years. During that span of time the meaning of electronic commerce has changed and its reach has grown. What started as Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT), and automated teller machines (ATM) has expanded to meet the needs of an internet driven culture. Today, electronic commerce involving the World Wide Web is a relatively new manner of buying and selling products and services if you think about it. Since 2000 the development of eCommerce as a viable marketing tool has taken off. I feel that artists, specifically self-representing artists, can benefit from this growth. Some already have.

Don’t let the new kid on the market block fool you-- eCommerce is here to stay and the sooner business-minded artists embrace it the sooner they can make a profit that they otherwise would not have made. By selling art online an artist can reach millions of potential buyers with just a click of his or her mouse. In fact, some artists have been able to earn a living selling their art online while avoiding brick & mortar gallery representation all together. As I have mentioned before, savvy artists would be wise to combine efforts by embracing both conventional and unconventional paths. In other words, the potential for success online and offline is only limited by your ambition.

Ambition… the drive to succeed can make or break a marketing plan. With each passing day it is easy to observe the fact that ambitious companies and individuals are thriving due to eCommerce. This is why it is vital for artists to think of themselves as web entrepreneurs in that the validity of eCommerce as a profitable form of exchange must be considered for ongoing success within the art market of tomorrow. Artists must embrace this aspect of the market and grow with it. eCommerce can work for artists as long as artists work to understand and utilize eCommerce. In other words, leave your doubts at the door so that you can embrace the direction that the market is going.

Doubts can hold an artist back in the studio as well as in marketing. That said, the problem facing eCommerce as a valuable tool for selling art online is the fact that it had problems early on. There is no question that the art sites of the mid to late 1990s and into the early 2000s failed to some degree as far as selling art online is concerned. That early failure caused many art professionals to scoff at the idea of selling art online. The wounds are still present today in the words of some of those professionals who have failed to grasp how much eCommerce has changed since those early years. The market has changed and eCommerce has developed far beyond its early roots. While it is true that many galleries are missing out on the potential of eCommerce it is also true that millions of artists have had success selling art online. The eCommerce of today can work for artists as well as galleries as long as they set the fears of the past aside long enough to benefit from it.

One should also remember the fact that eCommerce in the 1990s and in the early 2000s was no where near as profitable as it is today. For example, it has been suggested that the combined profit from eCommerce in the United States will reach $204 billion by the end of 2008. That is an increase of 17% from 2007. Those profit numbers were considered pipe dreams during the early years of eCommerce. In other words, if every professional avoided eCommerce those numbers would have never been reached. Those savvy enough to explore the potential of eCommerce have become wealthy in the process. In the end I think the same will be said for artists and galleries who-- with an entrepreneurial spirit-- explore the potential of eCommerce within their marketing plan. Again, eCommerce can work for artists!

Take care, Stay true,

Brian Sherwin
Senior Editor

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