E-Commerce for Artists: How to Market and Sell Your Work Online

Ready to turn your hobby into a side hustle by selling your art online? We’ve boiled down what you need to know to  go from “starving artist” to successful entrepreneur.

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 accounts as you go.

You can grow your following and fan base 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.

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.

Save Time With Apps

Wordpress and Shopify are known for app integrations that help you automate and grow your new online business. Shopify has a list of over 50 apps specifically created for artists. WordPress has significantly less options for automating shipping and fulfillment, making it a less attractive option for sellers.

Sell on Third-Party Websites

If you’re not quite ready to build out a full online store, you can start by listing your artwork on 3rd party platforms. Most third party platforms make it easy to create an account, list your art, and they’ll even handle the credit card processing and shipping fulfillment for you.

Amazon

Did you know that Amazon has an art section? Website viewers can search for art 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 a word of caution: there are a few requirements you must meet before you are approved to begin selling your work.

Etsy

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.

Society 6

If you are looking to sell reproductions of your art or have it printed on a wide-variety of products, Society 6 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, Society 6 will produce it, package it and ship it, so that you can focus on making more art!

Singulart

Singulart markets your work and profile to collectors and online buyers around the world. Once someone makes a purchase on their platform, they take care of the online payment, shipping, delivery and even offer insurance and 24/7 customer service.

Art Fire

Artfire is an online marketplace for a variety of different types of artists, much like Etsy. 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.

Art Finder

Artfinder 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 dedicated support team and tools to help you build your career.

Artsy

Artsy 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.

Saatchi

With over 12 Million monthly page views, artist 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. 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 our curators on original commissions for Art Advisory clients.

Take Great Product Photos

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. If you don’t have the time to invest in taking beautiful images of your work, consider hiring a professional.

Lock Down Packaging and Shipping

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. Need a step-by-step guide? RedDot Blog has a great article on how to ship your artwork in a way that will keep the work in-tact and save you money.

Protect Your Work

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, 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.

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!


Want to learn more about how to build your creative e-commerce business? BigCommerce has a great Skillshare class on e-commerce essentials to help you get started.