Ready to turn your hobby into a side hustle by selling your art online? These days, selling art online has never been easier. With all the tools available for building an online store for artists or hosting through an established sales platform like Society6 or Shopify, ecommerce for artists is something that every creator should grasp, at least in a basic sense.
Whether you’re brand new to selling art online or you already know how to market your art, we’ve boiled down what you need to know to go from “starving artist” to successful entrepreneur.
Why You Should Create an Online Store
An online store is not only a great way to showcase your talent, it’s also a way to reach consumers around the globe and earn income 24/7. With more than 79% percent of consumers buying the majority of their goods and services online, it’s more important than ever to have a platform to sell your work online.
For most artists who are selling art online, it helps to set up the online store as an integrated piece of your overall website. This allows you to connect with fans and potential customers on a deeper level via features like an online portfolio or artist blog. As customers are reading your blog and becoming more acquainted with both you as an individual and your work, they can quickly navigate over to the online store and buy their favorite pieces with just a couple of clicks.
8 Websites Where You Can Sell Your Art
If you’re not quite ready to build out a full online store—or want an additional place for people to be able to discover your work—you can start by listing your artwork on third party platforms. This is also a great option for those who are still learning how to market art online.
Most third party platforms make it easy to create an account and list your art, and they’ll even handle the credit card processing and shipping fulfillment for you. Here are eight popular options:
Did you know that Amazon has an art section? Website viewers can search this massive online store for artists by category, image type, size, color, and price, allowing you to reach the audiences that are looking specifically for what you create. The process for creating an account is simple, but there are a few requirements you must meet before you are approved to begin selling your art online.
Since 2005, Etsy has been the go-to online space for over a million sellers of handcrafted and vintage items. Although Etsy isn’t as well-known for higher-ticket items, if you’re selling mid-range or affordable work, it’s a great platform to use for selling original art online.
If you are looking to sell reproductions of your art or have it printed on a wide variety of products (think stationery or tote bags), Society6 will handle it all. All you have to do is upload your artwork and make it available for sale. Once a consumer purchases a product that features your design, Society6 will produce it, package it, and ship it, so that you can focus on making more art!
Singulart markets your work and profile to collectors and online buyers around the world, making it a great choice for artists wondering how to start selling art online. Once someone makes a purchase on their platform, they take care of the online payment, shipping, and delivery and even offer insurance and 24/7 customer service.
ArtFire is an online marketplace for a variety of different types of artists, much like Etsy and often makes the list of “selling art best sites.” They charge a nominal monthly fee (starting at $4.95) plus a listing and valuation fee. This platform is ideal for artists looking to sell their work under $50 due to the demographics of the sellers on this platform.
Artfinder is a great website for artists to sell their work online and has a worldwide community of over 500,000 art lovers. Their platform is completely free to list with, and they only take 33% commission on artwork sales (a much lower figure than most brick and mortar galleries charge). The platform also has a dedicated support team and tools to help you build your career.
Artsy is another excellent website for artists to sell their work. The platform makes it easy and effective to consign and resell your art. They partner with premier auction houses and galleries to remove the stress from the selling process, and to give you access to the highest level of service as well as competitive offers.
With over 12 million monthly page views, artists across 100 countries, and buyers in over 80, it’s no wonder Saatchi is one of the most highly sought-after platforms for original fine artwork and ecommerce for artists. The setup process is easy, and they have fair and transparent prices for sellers. It’s free to create an account and once someone purchases your work, they handle the shipping. They also allow you to accept and negotiate offers from collectors, or work with curators on original commissions.
9. Fine Art America
Fine Art America is a worldwide platform and one of the largest marketplaces for artists who want to sell their work online. From famous artists to up-and-comers, many people consider this to be the website for artists to sell their work. With just a few clicks, you can open an account, upload your images, select the products that you want to sell, set your prices, and begin selling your art to buyers all over the world.
Artspan, which was founded by artists, offers integrated ecommerce for artists while also providing a dedicated online marketplace for artists to sell their work online. Though there is a cost for membership—between $10 and $25/month depending upon the chosen package—artists who use Artspan appreciate the ability to host their website and shop all entirely within Artspan’s space and services.
If you’re interested in selling original art online, UGallery may be the answer. The distinguishing factor between UGallery and other online marketplaces for artists is that they only accept original artwork for sale—no prints or reproductions. When an artists’ work sells, UGallery sends shipping supplies and a label and the artist is responsible for getting the artwork to their customer. UGallery is also known for having partnerships with companies like Crate and Barrel, who feature UGallery artists’ work on their websites.
Pictortem is a free gallery service for artists and uses a unique model for selling art online. Artists set the price for their work and Pictorem makes it available to customers through on-demand printing service. When a customer selects an artists’ work, Pictorem handles printing and the artist simply collects their fee, which is free from commission.
If you’ve decided to also sell art on your own site, there are a few additional factors to consider, the first of which is building your site itself. Not a developer? No problem. Shopify, used by many artists and ecommerce sellers, is known for its app integrations that help you automate and grow your new online business (including more than 50 apps specifically created for artists). It’s a whole lot easier than trying to build something from scratch! And this Skillshare course will walk you through everything you need to know to build your Shopify site, including adding products, creating store collections, and enhancing the look and feel of your store overall.
Selling Prints vs Original Art
Oftentimes, and certainly in the beginning stages of selling art online, artists may have more success selling prints versus selling original art online. Why? First and foremost, prints are easier and more cost-effective to produce: You take one piece of original art and replicate it as many times as you’d like, bringing down overhead.
This allows you to offer the same work to multiple customers, and at a price point that’s more accessible to the masses. Having a higher inventory also means that you can grow your customer base and community faster; which is a great tactic for building a successful career as an artist.
How to Photograph Your Art
According to some market studies, 75% of online shoppers rely on product photos when deciding on a potential purchase. If you want their business, you have to be sure that website visitors are able to see the quality of your work in detail.
Make sure to take high-quality images in proper lighting and with the right equipment (this guide can help!). If you don’t have the time to invest in taking beautiful images of your work, consider hiring a professional.
Need a Crash Course in Photographing Your Art?
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How to Package and Ship Art
If you’re planning on shipping your own products, you’ll need to plan ahead. Prints and posters are best shipped in cardboard mailing tubes, while frameworks and canvases require additional precautions. Depending on what type of art you are shipping, you’ll need sturdy boxes, premium packing tape, and materials to protect the art, such as cardboard sheets, bubble wrap, or even specialty styrofoam containers. Finally, you’ll want to place “Fragile” stickers on your packages to help ensure they’re handled with care.
While this may seem like a lot, it’s always better to err on the side of caution—you want your creations to make it to your customers unharmed! Consider consulting with your local mailing and shipping store to see what materials they recommend—as well as if they can offer you a discount if you buy those materials in bulk.
Looking to design your own packaging to strengthen your brand as you are selling your art online? Try this Skillshare course for a step-by-step guide.
How to Protect Your Art from Copycats
One of the most common problems with putting your work online is that you open yourself up to copyright infringement. This is especially true if you begin selling reproductions as digital downloads or on merchandise.
What do you need to do to keep your artwork safe? Although registration is not mandatory for copyright to exist, it is technically implied the moment the unique work is created. But in order to exercise your legal rights in a case of copyright infringement, it is advisable to register your work officially. In the United States, a copyright lasts for the life of the creator, plus 70 years. Artists should always seek the advice of a copyright lawyer to help protect intellectual property before the infringement happens.
Grow Your Social Media
Many new artists get their big break on social media by sharing their work and engaging with online artist communities. If you want to start a creative brand or sell art online and want to use social media to market yourself, start small with a single highly visual platform, like Instagram, then add other social media platforms as you go.
You can grow your following and fan base and learn how to sell art on Instagram by using common art-related hashtags on your posts, commenting, following, and engaging with other artists, and connecting with their followers to increase your own.
Not sure what type of content to post on your page? Design-forward pages like theartofyost, icecreamandcupcake, and even Skillshare’s own Instagram can be used as inspiration to get your creative juices flowing.
Now that you know how to start selling art online, there is nothing stopping you from making great money as an artist and an entrepreneur. Start small, figure out what works for you, and build your business from there. You could be an online art superstar in no time!
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