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Online pricing

Hello fellow Orchidians,

I am changing approaches to my business and would appreciate your
input. For the past several years, I have been selling to
collectors, friends, and assorted others. It’s now, once again, time
to up the ante. My site has a link to reach me and my phone #, but no
credit cards are accepted online.

I am now in 3 physical locations and have a pretty clear picture of
other shops/galleries I see as a great match for my jewelry and
tableware. I have no interest in opening a brick and mortar shop.
Online commerce is an aspect I am considering. But I also want to
support traffic going into the shops that sell my work.

The question is about pricing. I have suggested retail prices on my
site and have given permission to my venues to discount as much as
they want as long as I get the price we agree to (1/2 of the
suggested retail). As a loyalty/business-builder I am considering
making my prices on the site a bit higher than at the stores as a
driver of business to the venues, with direct online ordering
directly from me focused as more of a back-up.

Am I crazy does this approach have merit?

Thanks for your help.

Megin Diamond Designs

I would do no less than a 2.2 markup. 2.5 is probably better. You
don’t want to compete with your stores. You don’t want to be at the
same price, either. Many of my stores are really against artists
selling retail.

Some artists have mentioned to me that they have had no complaints.
But how many wholesale accounts have they lost that they don’t know
about because they saw that they sold retail from their sites and
didn’t bother contacting them? Many of my stores have told me that
they don’t bother even contacting a designer if they see retail on
their site.

On the other hand, retail sales from their sites have saved many
artists, especially recently in these lean times.

You have to make the decision to do what’s best for your business.

Amery Carriere Designs
Romantic Jewelry with an Edge


I don’t think you should have different prices, either higher or
lower, than you sell in the shops. It can just simply be confusing
to you, but also it isn’t fair to the people who shop on your site.
Remember, your on-line buyers might be 10 miles away or they might
be 1,000 miles away, and in either case going to a gallery where you
sell your work might not be an option. Come up with the retail price
that to you is fair and charge that. Simple. Fine if you have an
agreement with the galleries that they can have a sale if they want,
so long as you still get the amount you agreed on, it’s not that YOU
are charging a different price, it’s the gallery that decided to
take a cut in their income for whatever reason. There’s still a
benefit to the buyer if they can go to a gallery to buy your work
that they can get it immediately, they can see it in person first,
and they don’t have to pay shipping (although they do have to pay for
gas!), so leave that as their incentive to go to the gallery, not a
better price.

Designs by Lisa Gallagher

First you cannot set the retail price that a store sells your work
for. You can set the sales price to the store but beyond that you
can only really provide a suggested retail price but that is as much
control as you have. There was a recent major court case where a
vendor was sued by the store for refusing to sell to store because
the store was discounting the merchandise. The vendor lost the case,
the ruling basically reinforced the idea that the vendor has no
control over the store sales price to its customers.

Second you should sell on your site at the suggested retail price,
don’t discount as this will really upset your stores. It is a good
idea to set your suggested retail price above keystone as it will
allow your stores to always beat you on price and still make
keystone. This also allows you to tell your stores they have nothing
to worry about from your online/retail sales. You may still have
problems with stores that don’t understand online sales patterns but
if you keep statistics of zip code data on your sales you will be
able to show them that you are not really hurting their sales. And
they have no more right to tell you how and where you can sell your
work then you have to set their sales prices.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts