Price discounting is a useful marketing strategy. 

If used correctly, it can benefit both you the artist and the buyer of your art. 

One big tip is to not rely on discounts to sell your art.

In other words, try to remain focused when using discounting strategies, and only use them to get those tougher sales over the line.

If you use discounts too much, people will begin to get the impression that your regular pricing structure is too high.

Additionally, art requires a certain amount of “perceived-value” attached to it.

So if you are providing too many discounts, you are in essence, deflating your art’s perception of value.

I have personally used discounts at my exhibits on a couple of occasions.

My studio was filling up with art that had not yet been sold.

As I wanted to move some paintings, I provided a discount on just a couple at each exhibit.

When I refer to discount, I don’t necessarily promote it up front as an obvious discount.

What I tend to do is bring the price down on a few paintings to sit under the “impulse buyer” range – which from my own experience is generally under $400.

So I am not suggesting you place a sticker on your art that screams, “Discount 25% off” – because I believe that is a little tacky and unprofessional for an artist promoting his or her work for sale.

Use your discount subtly.

Your buyers are smart people.

They will recognise value when they see it.

They will compare prices and sizes and know where the discount really is.

Some artists feel discounts compromise the credibility of an artist.

My response to this has been, “A profit is a profit, and less money is better than no money at all”.


Providing a Discount To Solve A Problem

Discounts can be a useful option for solving a customer problem and keeping them happy.

For example…

I once had a painting that was shipped to the buyers’ city of residence, only to be redirected back to my hometown as soon as it reached it’s proper destination.

The funny thing is, although there was no clear reason why this was happening.

I was aware of the problem and saw the whole debacle happening right in front of my eyes (I used a unique tracking code to follow where my painting was at any given time via the shipping company’s website).

When I saw the painting was on its way back to my hometown, I rang the shipping company and quizzed them about this “unusual” shipping route they were using to get my art into the hands of its rightful owner.

The shipping company apologised and took full responsibility.

There were no hard feelings at all.

In fact I thought it was all slightly comical.

After contacting the buyer and explaining the situation, and that the painting was going to be three days later than originally planned, I provided a discount on the original purchase price.

The buyer was of course, very happy.


The Discount Nudge

One area of marketing you will become quite efficient in the more you exhibit your work, is the ability to create that sense of urgency in your customer, in order to finalise a sale.

It’s a common trait amongst us human beings – we struggle to make a purchasing decision.

All we need is a little nudge – a little something that will inspire us to take the plunge or simply some kind of approval from someone to fully validate that our buying decision is going to be a good one.

The up front discount offer can often be enough incentive to get your buyer to commit to the purchase.

Once I had a lady who was so in awe of one of my paintings, but simply could not make a decision about purchasing it.

She had visualised a room in her home to hang this particular painting, but feared the painting would be too big.

I quickly recognised this lady was actually closer to committing to the purchase than she was to deciding not to.

All that was holding her back was a presumption she had with the painting not suiting her room properly due to its size.

After quizzing her about the actual size of the wall she would be hanging the painting on, I realised the painting would actually fit quite comfortably.

Her actual concern was that the painting would simply look too big – it wasn’t that she didn’t have the space for it.

Big tip: Always try to understand your customer’s situation and concerns, and try to educate him or her as best as you can.

It’s nice to ensure that they are being looked after before committing to a purchase.

So after ensuring that she did indeed have the space to hang the painting, I offered a small discount.

The lady did not hesitate for a second and bought the painting.

In her mind, she had now bought a bargain, and could now completely justify her purchase.


Seasonal Discounts

Depending on what kind of art you produce, some seasons can actually be a great time for providing a discount in order to make some sales.

For example (and this is just an example) you could produce a series of bright tulip paintings in spring and put them right up front of your exhibit stall.

Reduce the price you normally charge for paintings of similar intricacy and size, down by 25%.

Remember not to use any arrows, bells and whistles advertising.

Just put a price tag on it and let your potential buyer discover the value for themselves.

They will find it for themselves if your work is good.

What do you think might happen on a nice spring weekend when people are out and about looking for art that captures the mood in the air?

This could very well entice people who have never bought art to buy some of your work, and as a result you are adding to your collector base.


Get Creative But Not Addicted To Discounting

I remember reading an article some time ago that said something along the lines of, “If we spoke to a friend like some advertising speaks to us, that friend would slap us across the face”.

In other words, be creative with your marketing – but avoid any hype or over emphasising any so called bargains you may have on offer.

It can come across as insulting.

Treat your art and your customers with respect, and use discounts only for the purpose of getting those tougher sales over the line.

A few more discount tips:

• Avoid discounting your way out of making a profit.

• Never use discounts because you may be lacking faith in your art in yourself as an artist.

• Only use discounts to solve a potential problem with a customer or to get those tougher sales over the line.

• Avoid basing your discounts on perceived limitations in your work – add perceived value wherever you can.

Go forth, create and sell your work with confidence!



Artist/Coach/CAKUart Chief Inspiration Officer

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