Sunday, April 15, 2012

Is Amazon Art Marketing for You?

Island Flowers from Picnic Island Series
We've transitioned from retail to online shopping by putting out of business the very retailers who helped us find the specific products we wanted to buy from Amazon. I do just the opposite--research online and go to the neighborhood retailer to buy.

Artists research and read a lot. We purchase equipment and supplies and plan travel to great venues for whatever our media or interests and keep up with what's happening. Visual artists have to know everything from brushes to marketing to online techie news and brand building.

Amazon is one artists' venue for managing the business end of inventory and shipping our works. I'm certain to move in that direction rather than find storage for hundreds of paintings, digging through them to ship one little piece. But as long as I have neighborhood retail stores where I can shop for supplies and all the other needs, I will.

Amazon and Apple, with suits and countersuits, have been under fire in the news lately for the pricing of digital books. E-books for Sale  We've been in a new marketing age for a decade. When I shop at my neighborhood Michael's, I see that everyone under thirty uses their phone to pull up their discount coupons. I'm still a Gutenberg printing out coupons the take to the store. The store is encouraging "bulk" purchases, as well. They'll ease us into ordering our product.

Just noticed a new sign outside my neighborhood Barnes + Noble South Tampa bookstore last week "20,000 square feet for Lease"  I didn't stop to ask details, but this doesn't bode well.

Since my Border's closed, I shop B+N several times a month. I spoke to the manager back in the Fall about student squatters having no limits set. Buying computer books at the time and needing to determine technical vs. my skill level (or lack thereof), after the manager located a chair for me and pulled it into the retail area, I stacked the books on the floor and tried to balance one by one on my too short legs or too tall chair to peruse. I chose two and left--quickly. The manager told me they needed to build a large separate cafe or just be a bookstore. They were aware of the problem and were "working" on it. Looks like they found the solution. Borders also had customers unable get tables because of students spreading out computers and in-store publications.

A month ago, while having Sunday brunch in Panera's during standing room only hour, again older students had already staked claim to the tables, some having brought their own beverages.

I'm not anti-student; I am pro retail. We're all guilty of freeloading off the retailer in difficult economic times. These students are but one piece of the overall marketing problem for booksellers and now for restaurants, electronics stores such as Best Buy, coming soon to all retailers, including art galleries.

We have no choice but to market online. Art Online Here's one of many e-books to tell us how. I haven't read this book and haven't done business with the publishers. I still  have a dream of opening a workshop/studio/gallery for multiple artists working in many media. It's only a dream that is likely to remain unrealized. I spoke with someone about a prime location (a former small gallery) who offered that you need something other than art to get people in. Okay. How about blood, sweat and tears? Art galleries are for art. Bookstores are for books. Restaurants are for dining. Libraries are for students, and Amazon...who knows how many markets they can service?

Comments are always encouraged.
If you're following interesting blogs, feel free to comment or post those links here, too. 

All the best,

Gail Kent
Gail Kent Studio

Find me or my work at the following addresses:  my Fine Art America gallery
Gail Kent Studio Notes  my Tumblr blog site 

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