Ensuring a smooth selling process is the best way to build long term relationships with online collectors and encourage repeat sales. This article will help you strategize your inquiry responses, Buy Now and Make Offer order fulfillment, and shipment practices.
Responding to Inquiries
You’ll receive your Artsy inquiries through our direct-to-collector messaging tool located in the Conversations tab of Artsy’s CMS.
Designed to save you time and grow your collector network with ease, the Conversations tab simplifies online communications for Artsy gallery partners. To help your gallery make the most of this feature, we’ve identified best practices for managing your Artsy inquiries successfully.
Tip: ACBs are experienced, online buyers. Once a sale on Artsy has been verified, the user receives Artsy Confirmed Buyer (ACB) status.
Speed is the most important thing to consider when responding to an inquiry. The faster you respond, the more likely you are to see a sale.
Datapoint: Two-thirds of all reported inquiry sales on Artsy occurred when a gallery responded within 24 hours. Monitor your response time in your Analytics tab.
Approach your Conversations similar to how you might approach your email: Aim to have zero inquiries without a response by the end of each workday. The longer you leave inquiries waiting for a response, the more time is lost from connecting with new collectors or facilitating a sale. If you do not plan to reply to an inquiry, you can dismiss it instead—keeping your inbox clean and your response rate high.
What to Include in Your Response
The most successful responses take a conversational tone and contain more information than just price negotiation.
Tip: Streamline your inquiry process with visible pricing. Selecting “Exact price” or “Price range” as listing options when you upload artworks is the best way to increase the quality of your inquiries and speed up the sales process, and focus on what matters—the artwork.
At this point, your prospective buyer will still be in the decision making phase of their path to purchase, which is typically the most emotionally turbulent. We recommend making this process as easy as possible by sharing detail or installation images for the collector to review in lieu of long-winded descriptions. You can attach images, videos, or documents within a Conversation—the file size limit is 20MB.
In addition to questions about price and availability, your buyer will also be wondering about additional costs like framing, shipping, insurance, and taxes. Include this information as soon as possible.
If the original work inquired on is no longer available, consider offering other available works and remember to update the availability status of the original work in CMS.
The “Quick Follow Up”
If a collector has not replied to a gallery’s response within 48 hours, Artsy sends an automated survey, the “Quick Follow Up,” to gauge their interest level. User responses to the Quick Follow Up are shared with galleries via the Conversations inbox.
Note: These survey responses are only available in Conversations and are not delivered directly to your email inbox. Aim to check your Conversations tab in CMS on a daily basis.
You have a number of options for processing payments from online buyers. Here are the most common ways we see payments being processed on Artsy and when to use them.
- Wire transfer: Wire transfers can be facilitated by most banks and transfer service agencies. With this payment option, you will need to provide your wire transfer instructions for the buyer with your invoice. Wire transfers require more effort on the collector’s part and typically take a few days to process once the request for the electronic transfer of funds has been submitted.
- Personal check: Your buyer can also send a check to your gallery. If you are dealing with an international buyer, you may incur additional fees or not even be able to cash their check at your bank.
- Escrow.com: Artsy has partnered with Escrow.com to provide a secure option for partners and collectors to transact safely off of Artsy's platform. By holding funds until the artwork has been exchanged, Escrow.com shields buyers from the risk of paying for goods not received and protects partners from the risk of chargebacks.
Re-Engage Known Collectors
Once you know a user is interested in a specific artist, why not get in touch every time you have newly available work by the artist? Galleries have reported multiple sales from one inquiry.
Revisit old conversations to nurture new relationships and keep previous collectors engaged with your program. Gallery news, event invitations, and private offers can reignite a sales opportunity even months later.
Fulfilling Buy Now and Make Offer Orders
Note: Buy Now and Make Offer listing options are available to galleries based in the U.S. or select European countries. Read Countries eligible to list with Buy Now and Make offer selling options for an up-to-date list. For a technical guide on how to manage your orders in CMS, review Managing your Orders & Offers.
Buy Now and Make Offer listing options are best for making fast sales, increasing visibility online, and improving your collectors’ buying experience. We suggest listing your works with Buy Now and Make Offer whenever possible, and ensuring your gallery is prepared to complete these orders quickly and efficiently.
Confirm Orders within 72 Hours
Online buyers expect speed and convenience. Submitting an offer or clicking “Buy Now” gives online art buyers an easy way to buy. Make sure your gallery responds quickly to these orders to give collectors the best online art buying experience.
Once you confirm a buyer’s order, their payment will be processed. If your gallery fails to respond to an order within 72 hours, it will expire and the sale will be lost.
Be Ready to Ship Orders within 7 Days of Confirmation
Note: We understand that there may be shipping delays due to the COVID-19 outbreak. We’ve updated the shipping timeline on our buyer FAQ and are informing collectors on an individual basis so they know what to expect. Review our COVID-19 Art Shipping Updates for guidelines and information.
As with any other online buying experience, collectors expect works they order online to arrive in a timely manner. Remember, your buyer is eager to see the work for the first time, get it installed, and see it in their home. With Buy Now and Make Offer orders, shipment is expected within 7 days of order confirmation.
Tip: If you don’t directly manage your shipments (e.g. shipments come from an artist’s studio or warehouse), make sure the individual responsible for sending the works understands and can meet this 7-day deadline.
If your buyer chose pick-up as their delivery option, Artsy’s Marketplace Support team will facilitate the pick-up time.
Note: If you anticipate a delay in sending out an order, let our team know at [email protected].
Choose a Provider
Deciding which shipping service to use can be challenging. In some cases, you may find a buyer who already has a preferred carrier, but having your own go-to carrier is a must. Ultimately, this should be decided by you based on the value of the work, what you feel most comfortable with, and what you think your collectors will be satisfied with.
For most works (excluding difficult to pack or high-value items), we find that most galleries use UPS, FedEx, or another standard shipping provider for fast, efficient, and cost-effective service.
UPS has a handy packing and shipping guide you can use to safely pack a work for shipping.
More information about shipping works can also be found in The Guide to Parcel-Shipping Your Artworks.
Proactively Share Shipping Costs
Free or inexpensive shipping is one of the best things you can offer to help sell your works.
Data point: Buy Now and Make Offer works with free shipping are 40% more likely to sell on Artsy than those without. When possible, we recommend offering free shipping. Even if you simply price shipping into the overall price of the work, the psychological value of free shipping is still important.
If you must include a shipping price (e.g.. if the cost of shipping is more than the price of the work), price it as competitively as you can. We find that galleries with above-average shipping costs on works receive fewer sales than those with competitive pricing.
To help you set shipping costs on your works, we’ve compiled this shipping table of average local and domestic interstate shipping costs.
For estimated shipping costs in the U.S. and U.K., review The Guide to Parcel Shipping Your Artworks.
- If buyers have the option to request a work framed or unframed, make sure they understand how that will affect the cost of shipping.
- With Make Offer, your gallery can see the location of collectors who submit offers on your works, which will help you calculate shipping costs or VAT fees specifically for them.
- Take care to pack your work well and with high-quality materials. How your collector receives the work they bought shapes the way they experience it. A poorly packaged work can lead to buyer’s remorse or even damage to the work and initiate a return.
- Purchase insurance whenever you ship.
- Follow up with buyers after they’ve received the work. This can help foster repeat sales, and improve their overall buying experience.