Discounting at art shows, Art price labels and Artist name tags

Customers like to get a discount:

I find you encourage and get additional sales if you mark your items such as matted artwork with a single price and then a discounted price for multiple purchases. An example would be a matted print price of $65.00 or two for $110.00.  You can also do this on small items such as note cards $4.50 or two for $8.00.  While discounting will lower your profits on that specific sale, I feel it is better to sell to that customer for a reasonable profit than not at all. My overall pricing will average out between initial asking price and discounts sales to a fair balance.

Art discount

Some customers are afraid to ask you for a lower price.  If they are looking at a piece for a while trying to make a decision to purchase it, I usually offer them a discount such as a set amount or a percentage discount.  Many of my sales are when I offer a discount.  I sometimes think I should raise my prices and then offer all my customers a discount.

If the item cost $69.00, I may say “I can offer you that art piece for $60.00” or “I can give you a 15% discount on that print”.  If the customer is looking closely at two prints to determine which one they would like to purchase, I may say that “I can offer you a 20% discount on the second print”.  Sometimes they purchase both prints. Unless the discount for multiple purchases is printed and displayed at the booth, I do not have a set discount I offer and pretty much make it up based on my mood at the time.

Some artists do not offer price discounts to the customer as they do not think they should discount their art. If that works for them, then they should price as they seem best. I think in this economy that not offering a discount as a hard rule will just cost you sales. Even the most high end galleries in great locations offer discounts upon request even on more established artists.

Offering a discount is different than having a sale. I do not recommend having a sales sign in your booth or a sign that says 50% off. These type of signs will bother the other artist. Signs that say “Sale” make it more of a lower end show and give it a flee market type feel. The customers may feel that they can expect large discounts at other artist booths.

Ghost Town Photography

I will offer a set discount without the customer asking if I feel they are hesitant to purchase a piece of my art and I think price is an issue for them. I think all artists should offer discounts to customers, even if it is a small one to encourage sales. While the artist should not sell art at a price they are uncomfortable with, I do not feel that art has a set price such as purchasing a toaster at Walmart. With a little negotiating, you can end up with a happy customer bringing home a piece of your art to hang on their wall and some money in your pocket. If you have not tried offering a discount, try it out a few times and see how it works for you.

Quite often, I am in the situation in which either the husband or the wife are in the booth. The customer is interested in purchasing some art but wants to bring there spouse, who is in another area of the art festival, back to the booth to approve of the purchase. Many times, they never come back. I decided to try this year to offer the customer an incentive before they leave to encourage a return. I recommend that you try different sales discount techniques and see what works best for you.

Every once in a while I get called by Interior Designers for a larger multiple piece order and I think they expect a discount of 10 – 20% because it may be the standard in their industry and they might select another artist if you do not. Even though I feel my regular prices are reasonable, in the middle range of what other similar work sells for, I will give Interior Designers a discount. Due to the economy, I have been also giving 10 – 20% discounts for larger orders from individuals when needed. I may try in the future to offer customers an extra smaller print of their choice instead of a monetary discount. This may be of greater value to the customer and cost me less than the monetary discount in the end.

Pricing Labels:

Pants and Bra
I find that you really need to price all your items.  The price on the labels also need to be larger than you think would be needed.  It seems that many people just cannot find the price even if it is right in front of them. You do not want customers to walk away because they do not see the price and do not want to ask. Price labels can be hand written or printed off. My basic suggestion is if you hear numerous times the customer ask you what is the price of an item, you should adjust the location of your price label or make it larger.

Pricing Labels can be found on Amazon or at your local craft stores.For individual items, such as those lying on a table, I would price them all separately.I price all my framed work on my walls with a separate price label. I display my matted prints grouped by size which have the same price. If they are in a print rack or boxed container on a table, I generally have one larger price label on the front center of the print rack or box.

I have seen some artist not price the more expensive framed or original paintings displayed on the walls. Like any other business, different business owners make different decisions based on their own experiences. For artwork that has a title card you have room to display more than the price such as the artwork title, medium and size. I feel that if the artwork is not the original, you should state that on the title card that it is a print or other term you wish to use.

Name Tags:

I see most artists do not use a name tag but they seem to wear them if the art show supplies them.  I feel the artist should always wear a name tag.  The customer is not only buying art but also part of the experience is meeting with the artists and the forming of an emotional bond beyond just the artwork.

Often customers ask me if I am the artist even if I am the only person in the booth.  If you have more than one person in the booth and one is not the artists, then I feel it is even more important to have name tags.  Also if your booth is crowded and someone wants to ask the artist a question or make a purchase, they may not be able to tell the artist from anyone else in the booth.

Many times customer sees my name on my name tag, relates it to my signature on the artwork and seem to be surprised that the artist is in front of them. I am not really sure why this happens so often. Perhaps they are so used to purchasing items made in factories or faraway places that it does not occur to them that some items are still made by hand and sold by the maker.


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