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  1. #1

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    Internet sales vs. sales in person.

    I'm after comparisons between sales made on-line and those made in person (i.e.where a person has seen the real print before buying). I'm referring to prints bought as art to be used for decoration or collecting, rather than for reproduction or portraits/weddings etc.

    My own sales in the last year have been 481 prints in person and 3 on-line. Does anybody have figures which could show me that my on-line sales are too low by comparison? What sort of ratios do you see in your own sales? Does anybody sell more than 5 prints a year on-line from their web sites or on ebay?

    I guess I'm trying to quantify my belief that trying to sell prints to people who haven't seen the real thing is a waste of time.

    Cheers,
    Graeme Hird
    www.scenebyhird.com

    Failure is NOT an option! It comes bundled with your software ....

  2. #2
    Mongo's Avatar
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    Graeme-

    Not to be a stick in the mud...but are you sure that the three people who did buy your prints on line last year hadn't seen them in person before making their purchases? I'm just wondering if any such analysis can be accurate unless sellers are collecting "Have you seen my work in person?" data at the point of sale on the web.

    Dave
    Film is cheap. Opportunities are priceless.

  3. #3

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    There is only one gallery in Stockholm, Sweden that offers fine art photographic prints for sale, and they are not doing that well because Stockholm is too small a market. The advantage for me of having an online gallery where my prints are for sale and as a member of the Contact Printers Guild (with our Ebay Store and Ebay Auctions) is the ability to have my work seen by many. Of course I have given away workprints to certain people to give them a sense of what the real thing looks. This has helped build confidence in the quality of my work, resulting in eventual purchases. My website has been up since May and I have sold about 15 prints at or very near my asking price. I have been participating in the Contact Printers Guild for about a month now and I have sold 8 prints so far. The Contact Printers Guild is where I focus most of my online efforts now. My objective is not money but, at least in the near term, it is to get my work out there, with collectors and enthusiasts and hopefully they approve of its quality enough to come back for more and to tell their friends. If I can do this and have enough to finance my work with more materials then I am pleased.
    Francesco

  4. #4

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    Mongo - I can be certain that the two people from the USA who bought prints have not seen my work in person (my gallery is in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia). The other person was from Western Australia and could have seen my work in the window of the gallery. I didn't make it very clear, but I own my own gallery which is the only outlet for my physical prints. I collect all the information I can on people who buy my prints.

    Francesco - Thanks very much for that information. It's exactly the type of information I'm after. I'm very glad to hear you've sold 15 prints on-line, since it gives me some hope that it can be done. However, it's interesting that you are sending your potential customers samples of your prints to inspire confidence in your quality of work. That seems to partially support my theory that on-line images don't sell well without the support of the real print.

    I noticed that there are no prices for prints on your site. Are you relying on people making enquiries though email to start the selling process?

    Stockholm is too small with 9,000,000 people? I find that very hard to believe (my gallery is in a mining town of 25,000 people, and 95% of my sales are to locals rather than tourists). My guess is their marketing strategy is wrong, rather than the size of the population. It's a shame, because there really is a market out there for good photography, if the galleries would just give us a chance to sell our work more sensibly.

    Cheers,
    Graeme Hird
    www.scenebyhird.com

    Failure is NOT an option! It comes bundled with your software ....

  5. #5

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    I agree Graeme, there has to be some concrete encouragement, in my case via sending print examples so that when viewing my work online potential customers have an understanding of the true print quality and know that the scan is but a pale representation.

    Stockholm itself has 1 million (total in Sweden about 9 million) and you are again right in that it is the marketing of photographs as fine art that is lacking. This is why I characterised the market as small, i.e. only a few would collect fine prints because only a few are exposed to it. In fact, the only reason I learned of this gallery's existence is by inadvertently taking the wrong street home. The quality of the pictures in the gallery ranges from average to downright horrible. All the photographs are matted poorly and the frames are inconsistent. It seems that their intention was merely to fill the walls with photographs. The prices are very high in my view. On average about 1000 bucks!

    There were prices on my site. But as I am now focusing on the Guild and our ebay auctions and ebay store, the site is now to (a) market my portfolio (the grouped prints), (b) to show that there is cohesion in my work (theme projects like Places of Worship or Landet) and (c) to direct the potential customer to the auctions and ebay store.
    Francesco

  6. #6

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    Francesco, your last sentence sounds familiar to me in that I mainly use my website to direct people to my physical gallery or as an electronic catalog of my work rather than as a sales outlet in itself. Perhaps they're not bad uses for the online images, but it might also explain why my online sales are low.

    However, I hope others have some stories that contradict my thoughts.

    Cheers,
    Graeme Hird
    www.scenebyhird.com

    Failure is NOT an option! It comes bundled with your software ....

  7. #7

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    Unfortunately I have no direct experience with gallery sales versus online/website/ebay sales and thus cannot speak with any authority on the matter. However, Jorge's experience on this subject is quite astounding.
    Francesco

  8. #8
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    I have sold in person 15 to 20 photographs and about 400 hundred on ebay. The in person sales were for 10 to 50 times the ebay prices.

    It sounds as if you have no need to go online.

    I will continue to sell on ebay but not at the fire sale prices. I will be producing prints specifically for ebay (and for my portfolio) that will be smaller and more expensive. If this fails such is life. I can not justify selling large prints at below my costs. If I double my price and reduce the sizes from 16x16/20/24" to 10x10/12.5/15" I will make a few bucks. This will help offset my operating costs and help to maintain cash flow. Selling 'Art' is my goal but alas a small profit center.

    Because my gallery prints are much larger I hope that ebay will not interfere with my ability to get into gallerys. If it does I will reconsider my choices.

    *

  9. #9
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    Wow. 481 prints sold into a population of 25,000? That's darned impressive, Graeme. I'd say you live in an unusual community. While your work is excellent, it's unusual for that high a percentage of people within a community to be sufficiently interested in art to buy it.
    [COLOR=SlateGray]"You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus." -Mark Twain[/COLOR]

    Ralph Barker
    Rio Rancho, NM

  10. #10
    roteague's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Graeme Hird
    I guess I'm trying to quantify my belief that trying to sell prints to people who haven't seen the real thing is a waste of time.
    I think that may be the case, although I'm sure that there are photographers that are selling this way.
    Robert M. Teague
    www.visionlandscapes.com
    www.apug.org/forums/portfolios.php?u=2235

    "A man who works with his hands is a laborer; a man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman; a man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist" -- Louis Nizer

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