Saturday, 12 December 2009

The Future for POD sites ? (Part 2)

As a lot of my recent work has been digital, I've been including a message in the image description about the availability of limited edition prints direct from me.

I've kept my POD prices low.. simply because I think they are unsigned reproductions. I would hate one of my unsigned POD buyers to contact me in the future and ask me to explain what the difference is between their unsigned POD they paid $100 for and the unsigned print they have just seen in Walmart for $15. (Ok I don't sell through Walmart but stranger things have happened)

I get a steady stream of Limited Edition sales from several POD sites.. and have made more money from selling LE prints online than POD's in the last 12 months.

I get quite a lot of contact from people thinking of buying POD's who maybe want to know which paper I recommend.. in my experience these people can often be persuaded to buy LE prints.

But I know other artists have different pricing strategies.. and I really don't think there is just one route.

I think traditional artists really do have to get over their reservations about online and computer generated art sold as prints. In my opinion it can only a good thing that new buyers are buying POD prints and IMO this expansion of interest can only add value to traditional forms of prints.. like lithographs etc. With print sales it is very obvious that there is a correlation between rarity, artists approval and the amount a buyer will pay.. at the moment there is no limit on the number of POD's a site could sell of any artists work and this makes them more like Walmart and less like a way of buying genuine ART print with a long term value. If an artist sells a million POD's and makes $100 per print essentially these POD's will be worthless to collectors... you may be happy artist.. but your likely to have a lot of not very happy buyers.

I think that many buyers on POD sites are not "savy" art buyers.. just people who like a work and want to buy it. Crazy as it seems I don't think that many YET understand that the authetication and a signature adds hugely to the value. But I do think they will learn, so for me its important they don't feel in the future they have paid too much for what are basically unsigned prints.

I think the question is "how can POD sites effectively add value for the buyer.. and provide extra income for both artists and POD sites ?"

I think POD sites are missing a trick in simply selling basic POD's.. they have generally settled for a relatively low cost low margin product. I do believe if a POD sites became a supplier of "authenticated, numbered and approved reproductions of an artist" it would have some extra value for the buyer in the long term. This authentication and numbering could all be done in house. I currently provide authentication written on a small b&w art print.. and many buyers say they are delighted to get two art works for the price of one and all this could be set up via POD sites. The signature is the only problem. I wonder if artist signing tours might be possible in the future.. in the same way that authors have book signing tours.

I think the following would be worth trying for both POD sites and artists..

The POD site becomes "an approved print reproduction supplying site for artists" and in addition to normal POD's offers.. a numbered and authenticated POD which are essentially the same but with a certification of authenticity. The artist could then decide how many of these "authenticated prints" to offer for sale. None of this prevents artists from offering signed limited edition prints as well. I just see it as a way of adding value for buyers.. and extra income for artists and POD sites. I think the POD site would have to make it very clear they are supplying "artist approved prints"

Online art sales are here to stay.. and we want POD's to be collected.. and traded. I think the next stage for sites like this will be need to start adding value for buyers.. and making more money per print for artists and POD sites in the process. I'm less interested in making $10-500 dollars on a single POD than building a relationship with a potential collector who I want to help build up a valuable collection, I want to profit from this long term relationship but I also want the buyer to profit from this relationship both in terms of accrued value and enjoyment. At the moment POD sites simply don't provide anyway of acheiving this.. POD's need to become approved online print sellers providing a complete service.

Anyway that will give everyone something to think about over Christmas..

Seasons Greetings to all creatives everywhere.

Andy Mercer

Buy Fine Art Originals and Prints
My Red Bubble - Art Prints
My Zazzle Shop- Cards, Mugs T Shirts etc urban greeting cards

No comments: