How to Increase Every Sale You Make

A reprinted article by Carolyn Edlund from the Artsy Shark blog.

Do you want to increase your income on every sale of your art or handmade items? Here are three simple and accepted methods of marketing and selling to add value to your customers’ purchases and increase your own profits. Using these with a mindset of creating a win/win situation is your best way to gain repeat clientele and get business referrals.

Cross-selling – If your customer has a purchase in mind, offer them additional items as well. Here’s a classic example. You go to a bank to open a checking account. The banker offers you a savings account too, and asks if you are interested in opening a line of credit.  This is cross-selling. You don’t have to be pushy, but offering more items that go together can make a lot of sense.

How can you cross-sell?  If you work in leather, offering leather conditioner or cleaner is a nice touch for your customers who will appreciate your having such items available.  Are you a painter? How about offering packs of notecards or postcards showing your art or even a book you have been featured in as an additional purchase to a collector. Make a list of ways that you can cross-sell in your particular business. Brainstorm until you have at least ten possibilities.

Up-selling – Your customer has a purchase in mind, and you increase the ticket on that item by either offering it with extras or you upgrade them to a more expensive purchase. Upselling exposes the customer to other options he or she may not have considered previously.

This technique is NOT a “bait and switch” tactic, which is illegal in the U.S. and is defined by Wikipedia as:

a form of fraud in which the party putting forth the fraud lures in customers by advertising a product or service at a low price or with many features, then reveals to potential customers that the advertised good is not available at the original price or the list of assumed features is different.

Here’s an example of upselling that makes a lot sense for artists: Rather than just selling a print, offer to mat and frame the print and ship it to the customer. Or, have pre-framed prints available for purchase then and there.

Make sure you are paying yourself well for providing this kind of service. Customers love it. Pre-framed art is the fastest growing product type out there in the mass art market, and retailers know this. It also avoids having your customer get cold feet when they start wondering how expensive it will be to frame your work.

Bundling – Think of merchandising you have seen in stores. Winter hats are often bundled with gloves and scarves as a set rather than sold separately, increasing the ticket. It just makes sense. Do you make handmade items that could be sold in multiples or joined with other items in a gift basket for the holidays? Earring and necklace sets are a natural bundle.  So are pillows, clothing sets and metal or wood utensils.

If you have art, why not sell pairs or threes, or even fours? If you have a set of four designs that would look good in a kitchen for instance, frame them all to match and sell the set to be hung together. A pair of prints with a wine theme would look great paired above a bar or in a restaurant.

You can break up sets if you like, but if you make the offer as a “bundle” and not separately, you may well find that the customer goes for the higher priced item, and actually is glad to do it.

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  1. thank you for the tips – it really just makes sense that we are adding value to a customer’s purchase. I have just recently begun to package my pendants and earrings as a set in one of my retailer’s stores and so far the results have been great. I did give them a price break for buying the set but overall the bottom line sale has increased.

  2. Bundling definitely works, A friend of mine who was hosting a small art show had a wonderful oil painter there. the painter set up her booth herself the first day and sold only 1painting. My friend rearranged her paintings in groups of like subjects and the next day, she sold 8 originals. You have to show your customers what to do with your art once they get it home.

    • Customers actually appreciate having framed prints, already packaged gifts, sets and bundles. It becomes a “no-brainer” for decorating or for gift-giving. They don’t have to match things or choose other small gifts to combine. Selling as a bundle only communicates “these go together, this is how they are sold and used.”


  1. […] that carry these products. How are they displayed? What are the best sellers? What other work would cross-sell well with your own […]

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