After many attempts at selling images on the web, it strikes me finally, and clearly, that for 99% of your audience – it is quite enough to see your image for a few seconds on the web.
The idea, which is probably old-fashioned, that people would grab the high resolution images and print their own for the price of a cup of coffee – or less – that seems not to be at all true.
And I think that I know why. Unlike music, which you want to own and listen to over and over again. The only time that you want to purchase art is either for your wall, or as a gift.
In fact, the one thing that you can't do with a web image is give it as a gift. That's why when the Christmas season comes around, the images that you couldn't give away during the rest of the year, sell like — well like Christmas trees.
Every year (and I'm at it since Christmas of '99) there is a rush to buy gifts that begins around Thanksgiving, and continues until about the middle of January. That last part, I never did understand – though my theory was that people saw actual prints that their friends / family had and went to the site to get their own copies.
However, there is a market for fine art prints and they are happy to get a good deal through the web – and that's the art buyer and to some extent the interior decorator
They make their income by finding the appropriate artwork for corporate entities, hotels, and luxury buildings. And they simply double what you charge them or treble (if that's a word) to charge their client.
However, if you are going to target the art buyer / interior decorator then it can work against you if your prices are made public. The simple reason being that the client sees that they were charged double or treble what the print sold for.
I remember seeing many sites, early on where prices weren't shown. I couldn't understand that. But it dawns on me, that you have the best chance of "making it" if you can get steady orders from the art buyers. And now that the economy is slowly turning – I notice that I'm starting to get inquiries again from the art buyers. Good. I begin to think seriously of taking a completely different tact and simply removing pricing and carts and making the site geared towards professional buyers.
The same idea goes for galleries. How can you have your work in galleries if someone can go to your site and purchase the print for $100? The same idea applies.
In other words, what I tried to do over the last few months was to sell in volume at a low price. That did not work. So next stop will have to be selling at higher prices to those who can still make a profit at that price.