How to Sell Art Online: Best Platforms and Tips
This post was last updated on July 1, 2020.
With the internet at our fingertips, it’s now easier than ever for artists, designers and illustrators to share their work online and monetize their success.
Selling your own art can lead to a unique sense of accomplishment in every dollar you make, whether it’s through your own art store, a print on demand service or through a mix of the two.
From picking the right online platform and mastering its website design to promoting your store and naming your prices, here are the most important things you need to know about how to sell art online:
7 best platforms to sell your art online
Wix provides multiple opportunities for selling your artwork online, helping you find the right fit for your needs. One option is to set up an eCommerce website for selling your original pieces.
The design of your online Wix store is entirely in your hands, with plenty of eCommerce templates to get you started. You’ll also enjoy a selection of advanced professional tools for managing your business and sales.
You can also integrate print on demand services Printful or Printify with your online Wix store. That way, you’ll be able to custom-design a wide array of products, such as posters, T-shirts, mugs and much more, with these easy-to-use dropshipping apps. The fulfillment and shipping of the products will be taken care of by Printful or Printify for each new order.
In addition, Wix Art Store offers a print on demand service for selling digital images, prints (both framed and unframed) and other merchandise. You can choose to sell anything from tattoo permits and digital licenses to mugs, canvases, bags and more. Choose between creating your store as a standalone site, or as a section within your portfolio website.
The Art Store’s all-in-one solution takes care of the packaging, shipping and payment for you, so you don’t have to worry about technicalities. It’s also free to install and completely commission-free to use.
Etsy is a marketplace for creative goods that specializes in handmade or vintage items and craft supplies. Sellers can create and customize elements in their shop, such as the shop banner and profile image.
Etsy charges nominal listing and transaction fees. Their store comes with added marketing and promotional tools for managing orders and promoting your listings. Etsy merchants can also use the print on demand service Printify.
Society6 was founded in 2009 with the goal of carving a welcoming space for both independent artists and their audiences. This print on demand service offers a wide variety of products, from wall art to home decor, furniture and apparel.
All order fulfillment aspects are taken care of by Society6, including printing and shipping. The website pays artists a set percentage of each product they sell.
With over 47 million users, DeviantArt is the world’s largest art community. Artists can personalize their profile and set up a shop to promote and sell their deviations, either in the form of commissioned work or prints and digital downloads.
05. Big Cartel
Geared towards artists, makers and small brands, Big Cartel is a platform for creating and customizing stores for selling your art online. The store can also be part of your portfolio website.
While Big Cartel doesn't charge listing fees, artists can choose from a variety of monthly plans depending on the amount of products in their store. For budding merchants, stores with five products or under are free of charge.
eCommerce platform Shopify allows users to set up their own storefront and sell products directly on their websites, social media platforms and other marketplaces. Artists can sell physical products, digital products, services and more.
Storefronts can be customized using various themes and integration of code. First-time users are offered a two-week free trial, and can later pick out of various pricing plans.
Redbubble is a marketplace for print on demand products created with user-submitted artwork. Designs can be printed in the form of posters, T-shirts, vinyl stickers, mobile phone cases and more.
Redbubble coordinates the printing, shipping and customer service for each of its sales. In addition, artists can choose their preferred profit margin and retail prices, based on a set base per product.
Tips on how to sell art online
Think of yourself as a brand
Many designers have a hard time promoting their own work because of how very personal it is for them. For many artists, their products are a representation of who they are as a person.
In order to give your pieces the promotion they deserve, you must put all that aside and focus not on yourself, but on your brand. To separate yourself from your work, it might help to give your brand a name that is different from your own.
When building a brand, think about the mood you’d like to evoke with your products and online store. Create a consistent visual language to make your brand feel tailored and unified, with a well-crafted color palette and a selection of one to three fonts.
Once you set the right tone, make sure to carry it across your entire brand – from the design of your online portfolio and store to your logo, social feeds and marketing materials.
Design your storefront window
Part of what makes shopping fun is how welcoming the stores and products appear. Given the right design, you can create an experience equally as alluring when starting an online store:
Bring your products to life with photos or mockups: Show your work out in the real world as a framed poster up on a wall, a tote bag hanging on someone’s well-dressed shoulder, or anything else. Achieve this either by setting up a photoshoot of your products or with the help of mockups. In any case, make sure to keep your visuals aligned with your brand.
Add interactive effects: Add some pizzazz to your store with the help of interactive effects, such as hover effects or a magnifying glass. Not only do these design features make shopping for your products more engaging, but they can also convey more information about your offerings: Hover effects: Provide more information about a product each time a customer hovers over it. This will entice them to click and ultimately, make a purchase. Hover effects can be used to zoom in on a product, show it in a different setting, or introduce a different version of the same product, such as an additional color scheme for the same item.
Magnifying glass: Allow site visitors to zoom in on your product pages using a magnifying glass, giving them a view into the intricacies that make your artwork one of a kind.
Promote your store on social media
Once your store is set up and ready to go, it’s time to start promoting your online art store. Harness the power of social media to form a community around your art and products, keeping the best Pinterest and Instagram tips for designers in mind.
Use a personal tone: Be authentic and speak honestly about sales, creativity and your inspiration, helping followers to get to know you better. Let your fans know if you’re excited about the launch of a new product, or when you spot a color combination that sparks your imagination. This will make your personal brand feel relatable and foster a more meaningful connection with your audience.
Offer sales and discounts: Use social media as an outlet for announcing sales, discounts or contests. Giveaways are another way to introduce your products to a new fan base, but be careful to not give out freebies too often, so as not to make it into a habit. Whichever type of promotion you go for, keep it aligned with the rest of your branding in terms of your color choices, typography and general look and feel. You should also try to sync your promotions to holidays and special events. Plan ahead by creating a social media calendar so that your posts are designed and ready to go up by each holiday or special occasion that you’d like to commemorate.
Announce new or upcoming products: Let your followers know each time you add a new item to your store with a post inviting them to check it out. You can also build anticipation by offering a sneak peek into something that’s about to be released, prior to actually putting it up for sale. This helps your fans feel like part of the process and keeps them more involved in your work, a big part of how to sell art online.
Engage with followers: Cultivate a community around your work by building relationships with your followers. Share others’ posts of their own images of your products. These honest, real-life testimonials are gold. They show just how happy your customers are with their purchase – and they can make new customers excited about the items, too. Other ways to engage with users include quick polls with questions about your products, asking anything from which design they like better to which new items they’d like to see in your store. Be sure to respond to followers’ comments and messages with authentic, genuine replies, follow other accounts whose work you like, and repost content that inspires you.
Manage your shop
Set your pricing: Determining how to price your products is always a tough call. Going too high risks scaring off potential customers, while going too low won’t provide you with your well-deserved profit. The best way to go about it is to check out a few of your peers’ stores to gauge what customers are willing to pay. Look for designers who are roughly at a similar level as you, or have a similar number of social media followers. Once you’ve found an average price range that feels right, price each piece or product individually. Here, take into consideration different variables such as the type of item (is a T-shirt more or less expensive than a poster?), the amount of time you spent creating it, the cost of the materials and the popularity of the design.
Deliver it with love: If you use a print on demand service such as Wix Art Store, Printful or Printify, then printing, packing and shipping are all taken care of for you. In case you choose to pack and deliver your goods yourself, be sure to make your parcels just as branded as everything else you do. Include a small note or a stamp of your logo to add a personal touch to the packaging.
Text Eden Spivak
Featured Image Valeria Monis