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Should Artists Give Discounts to Art Buyers? A Never-Ending Debate

As an artist, pouring your heart and soul into your creative work and introducing it in a gallery for sale is quite exciting. But when it comes to pricing your pieces, things can get tricky. Finding the perfect balance between fair compensation for your hard work and making your art accessible to potential buyers is no easy feat. It leaves many artists facing a dilemma: should they offer discounts to buyers? 

This never-ending debate also raises important questions about the value of art and the role of artists in the market. Is art just a commodity that can be discounted like any other product, or is it something more that transcends mere monetary value?

You will get all your answers by the end of this article. Here we'll look at the circumstances where offering a discount can be a savvy marketing move. We will also examine situations where discounting your contemporary art may lead to undervaluing your craft. Let's explore more about your art and its market value.


When and why you may discount your artwork 

In the art world, the sole purpose of giving discounts is to reward customer loyalty, build a reputation and make up for a mistake you made previously. Offering discounts to people you encounter occasionally will only confuse them to question your art's value. 

You must have a strong plan and proper framework to get benefitted from giveaways.

For instance, if a potential buyer makes a substantial purchase from your gallery, tip the person with something extra like a free print. It could help you foster relationships with collectors who may become repeat customers.

Another situation where a discount may make sense is when you want to clear out inventory. Perhaps you have pieces sitting in your gallery for a while and want to make room for new work. Offering discounts on these pieces could incentivize buyers to take them off your hands, giving you the space you need to create more art.

Discounting artwork could also be a strategic move during tough economic times. If the market is slow, buyers may be more likely to purchase art that's on sale or discounted. It could help you move inventory and generate income when sales are otherwise slow.

Furthermore, offering discounts could be an excellent way to give back to your community and turn them into recurring buyers. Short promotional sales for a limited duration work wonders and help you catch eyeballs on your contemporary art.

Extent of discount:

The discount typically falls within the range of 5% to 15% and may vary based on the total cost of the piece as well as the policies set by the gallery. You can also discuss with any art consultant how to set reasonable discounts.


Negative impacts of putting discounts 

Offering discounts on art may seem like a quick way to attract customers and boost sales. But it can actually have significant negative impacts on your business in the long run. Some of the most common causes highlighted by art consultants are as follows:

1. Hurt your credibility and reputation

Art collectors and buyers often associate high price points with quality and value. When you offer discounts on your work, people assume it is not worth its original price. It can lead to a decrease in demand for your contemporary art, as buyers may question the value of your pieces.

More so, offering discounts can make it hard to set a steady price structure for your art. If buyers are accustomed to receiving discounts on your pieces, it can be challenging to justify charging full price for new samples. The same goes for artwork similar to previously discounted ones in a gallery.

2. Reduce profit margin

Discounts on artwork can readily reduce the profitability of a business by lowering the amount of money earned on each sale. If the sales volume doesn't go up enough to make up for the discounts, this can be a big problem. In other words, if you're offering discounts but not selling more artwork, you're leaving money on the table.

3. Decreased financial stability

Consistent discounts may also get you perceived as a less exclusive or prestigious artist in a gallery. It will ultimately make it more challenging to attract high-end buyers and charge premium prices for artwork. As a result, your business is more likely to suffer financially.

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     Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Alternatives of giving discounts to collectors 

Finding ways to incentivize collectors without constantly relying on discounts can be challenging for an art seller. Fortunately, several effective alternatives to offering discounts can enhance the value of your artwork and strengthen your relationships with collectors.

1. Emphasis on quality than quantity

The best way to win the trust of quality art buyers is to gain recognition in a community by providing quality instead of discounts. Whether you sell traditional or contemporary art, pay attention to showcasing the unique value of your skill and receiving testimonials. This way, you could easily stand out in a gallery and charge premium rates for your service.

2. Offering personalized experiences

Creating personalized and immersive experiences for collectors can also help you foster relationships with them. You can do this by hosting events or private showings where collectors can meet the artist, learn about the inspiration behind each piece, and even participate in the creative process. 

3. Creating limited and exclusive artwork

By offering a limited edition of your unique artwork, you can generate scarcity and make your art more desirable to people. Collectors often place a high value on items that are precious or hard to come by. So you have a good chance of scoring significant sums without offering discounts.


When you must never offer discounts on art collectibles 

If you're working with a retailer to sell your artwork, it's essential to establish clear pricing guidelines upfront. You may agree to allow temporary discounts during certain sales or events, but it's generally not a good idea to allow permanent discounts on your work. It can again devalue your art and create confusion about its true worth.

Moreover, offering a discount to a collector who contacts you directly is also not wise, as it suggests that your work is worth less than what you're asking for. It can make it difficult for you to sell your art at full price to other collectors in the future.

You can also consider hiring an art consultant to learn more about the experiences and technicalities where discounts can have a harmful effect.


RevArt - your ultimate partner for ensuring the best prices on your art 

In the competitive art industry, getting a fair price for your efforts is often troublesome. Well, worry no more! RevArt is here to help you sell your contemporary art to high-ticket buyers.

With a vast community of potential buyers, sellers, art consultants, and dealers, RevArt provides all the necessary support at every stage of your journey in the art world. Whether you're an experienced or a fresh artist, our artist program is a one-stop solution to grab precious opportunities and advance your career.

So why wait? Join RevArt today and thrive among the great artists of the art world.