Monday, October 15, 2012

My Venture into Marketing - Part II

The process of finding the right "fit" for a website/storefront takes time and no matter how much you think you know what you want, well - you just don't! I changed my mind over & over on what I wanted. Went back and forth between different online sites, second guessing myself all along. Each new feature I found in one software, I expected to find in the others - but not always so. Bottom line - each software had it's plus's & minus's. Here's my list of software, their hits & their misses.

1) Facebook page with Payvment app
I had once before tried Facebook with the Payvment app. I had set up a Facebook store & tried once to gather up followers & "likes" to the store. It hadn't succeeded, so I shelved it for another day.  My old setup, although still online (but made hidden so it couldn't be found) was intact - however, both Facebook & Payvment had changed considerably since the old store had been active. The new Timeline look in Facebook made my old storefont non-functioning, so I had to start over. I deleted all & then added a couple of items so I could experiment (how I learn things best).

Going through my checklist of items important to me:
Overall "Look" of my online site -- I found the Payvment look a bit juvenile for my taste. It may be fine for others, but I didn't care for it. Every item (painting) had 3 social icons that viewers would click to voice their like/dislike of the item, and I could not find a method to omit them. Here's a visual:

Discount codes -  Payvment offers the ability to do discount codes (called Deals) that had start/end dates, percentages or dollars off.
Inventory control - yes and no. It does not mark the art "Sold" - just gives user a message that it is unavailable when they attempt to place it in their cart
Price options pull-downs - yes and no. Pulldown options available on a painting, but choice did not affect the price. I think it is best used to offer things like size or colors, that normally does not affect the price of an item.
Monthly Cost -- FREE (Payvment does have a pay version with more bells & whistles, but the free version is plenty good)

Needless to say, the cost on this approach was most appealing. However, I just could not get past those reaction icons. I hated them and there wasn't a way to omit them. Also, this approach did not give me price options either.

Fine Art Studio Online - a very prestigious name for artist websites. This follows the website path, rather than a storefront. I found their user interface for setup a bit awkward and probably not the easiest for someone not computer comfortable.

My checklist of items:
Overall "Look" of my online site -- The look was good. Professional, stylish. FASO has many templates to choose from for looks, and you can alter colors and style in addition.
Discount codes - none
Inventory control - may exist if using their own BUY NOW button, does not exist if using outside code from Paypal (see below)
Price options pull-downs - none
Discount codes and price options are handled via HTML code - you create the button you want in your PayPal account online, then cut & paste the button/text into the comments area on EACH painting. Also, the ability to "Buy Now" is available directly in the FASO setup, but to utilized a shopping cart requires the cut-and-paste of a custom button from your PayPal account.
Monthly Cost -- Free trial for 60 days, then: Apprentice $8/month, 25 images -- Professional $28/month, 750 images -- Master $40/month, unlimited images.

I loved the look this option offered, I felt my website looked very professional. But having to do the discount codes and price options in an individual button per painting was too much labor. The Professional level for $28/month was reasonable.

3) ArtSpan Professional
This is a website specifically for the artist - all artists, including 3 dimensional art, jewelers, artisans, etc.  I emailed their staff & asked about the ability to do discount codes - their reply was "not at this time." For this reason, I did not try the free 30 day trial on this.

Overall "Look" of my online site -- I could not try this, but existing artist websites look very professional
Discount codes - none
Inventory control - may exist, did not test
Price options pull-downs - none
Monthly Cost -- Artspan Standard $14.95/month & 15 images / Artspan Professional $19.95/month & unlimited images

Again, liked the look, but no discount codes or price options. Monthly cost was reasonable.

This is an eCommerce (shopping) site, very robust package. It had all the options - discount codes, pulldown price options, inventory control. The overall look was whatever you could make it look like - much flexibility. Additional apps could be added for further flexibility & functionality. Basically, it hat it all - for $59 a month plus a 1% transaction. That price was just too steep for me. They had a basic plan for $29/month but it had a higher transaction fee (2% fee on each transaction) - but it did not handle discount codes.

This is the software I chose to use, and I will go into this further in my next post - as I explain everything I needed to do to make Nan Johnson Fine Art happen.


martinealison said...

J'avais manqué votre dernière publication et je viens de passer un moment très instructif, bien que je ne sois pas très douée en la matière...
On apprend toujours avec les expériences des uns et des autres.
Je vous fais de gros bisous

CrimsonLeaves said...

When you research, you do it thoroughly, Nancie. I like that.

Karla said...

Hi Nan,

I am really enjoying reading these informative posts. Thanks for sharing all of your research with us!


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