Artists who shop online are different from those who shop at local art supply stores. A key difference is local shoppers are more people-oriented. Local art supply stores can use this information to compete with online. Storefronts should take advantage of their human presence and offer promotions and services that online stores cannot: in-person art classes, product demos, and special events like gallery openings, contests, art consultations, and participation in community events.
Before the advent of online shopping local stores did not have to excel at in-person services and marketing. The game has changed. Art supply stores can choose their competitive niche: low-cost high-quality but no in-person services (online) or moderate-cost high-quality great in-person services (brick-and-mortar). Being neither is not a competitive option today.
This insight is backed up by The NAMTA Artists & Art Materials 2012 Study which includes the results of surveys of 3,600 artists and 125 art supply stores, business tools based upon the data, and an executive summary with an art materials market size estimate. Join NAMTA and get access to this landmark study produced by Hart Business Research.