Artists do not need to go behind corporate galleries to make a living anymore; now, they can sell art online. With the rise of eCommerce and social media, now even relatively unknown artists can find plenty of customers who love their work and make a living. So, here you will learn how to sell art online.
The process of selling art online is fairly simple. All you have to do is start a website with eCommerce features as your primary selling platform. Then, be active on Facebook and Instagram to build an engaged following for your work. Next, you can submit your work to other online art marketplaces to develop additional sales channels. Also, you can sell print-on-demand merchandise, like t-shirts or mugs, featuring your artworks to boost sales. Finally, you have to handle the process of delivering your artwork or merch to your customers.
So, in this guide, you will go through all the above steps in details, and more. Let’s have a look.
Please share this guide with your fellow artists
How to sell art online – The overview
There are different ways to sell art online. And, some of them are super effective, and some are just a waste of your time and money. Here you can find the steps to the most effective and low-cost way to sell art online.
1. Start a website with eCommerce features
Starting an eCommerce website won’t cost you a fortune. With the right tools, even you can create a website as a weekend project. When you have a website, you can have a lot of possibilities to sell art online. For example, you can link it to Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram to add “buy now” buttons right on your posts. This will create a frictionless purchasing path for your customers. And, needless to say, having a website is a great way to showcase your work to your following. Read more…
2. Be active on Facebook and Instagram
Social media is the best place to build an engaged following for your art online. Also, you can share the purchasing links of your work on social media, which would eventually help you to sell art online. So, be active on Facebook and Instagram, and perhaps run a low-cost paid ad campaign to get started. Read more…
3. Sell print-on-demand merchandise to boost sales
Selling art only as a “painting on canvas” will not help you to make a lot of sales. Also, if you do so, you can only sell it once. But, you can use a print-on-demand service to sell merch, featuring your artwork, to make recurring sales. For example, you can design t-shirts, mugs, prints, or tote bags with your art. Read more…
4. Sell art online on marketplace websites
There are hundreds of different online art galleries where you can showcase your work and sell them to prospective buyers. If you are just starting up selling art online, listing your work on those marketplaces will help you to reach a wider audience quickly. It will help you to get your name out there and create a following for social media channels. Read more…
5. Plan your shipping strategy
Before you start selling art online, you need to decide how to deliver your products to your customers. Also, you need to decide how much you should charge from your customers as the delivery fee. There are many good local and international delivery services that offer the least amount of headaches and lower costs. So, in this last section, you will learn more about how to handle shipping when selling art online. Read more…
Start a website to sell art online
Having an own website opens up so many opportunities to sell art online. For example, you can create a gallery website with an eCommerce shop to sell your art and merch right there. Of course, you can sell art on other online marketplaces as well. But, by having a website of your own, you can have a lot more control over the whole process. Let us see.
Choose a dedicated eCommerce platform to build your art shop
As an artist, you might already have a gallery website to showcase your work. However, if you are using only a blogging platform as your CMS, it is always better to build your online art shop using a dedicated eCommerce shop building platform. The reason is, when you choose a dedicated platform, you can find plenty of features and tools that make your life so easy. For example, from synching your store with your social media accounts, integrating payment gateways, and adding shipping rate calculators, such platforms have simple one-click solutions to help with your online selling process.
If you do not have any web design skills, you can use Shopify to create a portfolio website with an online shop. They have a free trial program, so you can just register and play around before making any commitments. Shopify has all-inclusive plans, where you get the domain name, hosting service, and content management system on the same platform. So, it is headache-free!
Also, they have a beautiful collection of art inspired themes and templates to create a stunning website, almost instantaneously. So, go ahead, register for a free trial, and see how it works. It won’t cost you a thing.
Or else, if you know a bit about web development stuff, you can use WordPress.org and WooCommerce to put together an eCommerce website to sell art online. And, by using WordPress you can have more flexibility to customize your site with simple HMTL and CSS edits. The best thing is that you can start an online shop on WordPress for under $20 a month (for the hosting and domain). So, explore more opportunities and give it a try. Read more on how to start an online store.
Do not have the skills to create a website?
Hire a professional freelancer for less than $50 to get your online store up and running in no time.
How to sell art online on Facebook and Instagram
Selling art and building a following on Facebook and Instagram is a no-brainer for an online art seller. If done right, those two social media platforms can be the cash cow of your business. So, let’s see how to sell art online on social media.
Start a Facebook page for free
The first step of having a social media strategy is to have a Facebook page for your art sales. When you start a Facebook page, there are two options to select. You can create a page either as a business or a public figure. Actually, your selection should depend on how you are planning to sell art on Facebook. Let’s see.
If you are thinking of doing custom paintings for clients or selling art directly on Facebook, you should pick the Business or Brand option to start a Facebook page. On the other hand, if you are thinking of becoming an influencer in this business, and selling art for collectors, you can start a page as a public figure.
Start an Instagram account and link it with your Facebook page
Instagram works on visuals. And, as an artist, you can create high quality engaging visuals continuously. So, be on Instagram to build an engaging following for your work. Once you get more than 10k followers, you can apply for an Instagram business account and get shopping features for your account. Instagram is a great platform to find followers and make sales. So, it is worth vetting how to sell on Instagram as it must be an essential part of the process.
Keep it social and engaging
Instagram and Facebook are social media platforms. So, keep things social by following the right social etiquette on those platforms. for example, give replies, add likes, and share to maintain a good connection with your following. However, do not mix up your work content with your personal content unless it makes sense. Remember, people follow and subscribe to your page or the account for a reason. So, keep your content aligned with their intentions. Read more about how to start Facebook marketing.
Follow other artists who are crushing it on social media
Networking opportunities are one of the best benefits of using social media. So, reach out and follow your peers and other inspiring artists to network and see how they are doing it on social media. Then, comment, react and share their work to reach new audiences for you to sell art.
Use selling features on Facebook and Instagram to make in-app art sales
Both Facebook and Instagram have shopping features. For example, you can create a shop on your Facebook page to list down the art and merch that you are planning to sell on Facebook. Similarly, once you get the approval for a business account on Instagram, you can start creating shopping posts and stories with purchasing links to sell art on Instagram as well.
Connect your store with Facebook and Instagram to make in-app sales
By using Shopify, you can let your followers discover, shop, and buy your art directly from your Instagram posts/stories and on Facebook stores.
Sell print-on-demand merchandise to boost sales
Other than selling your original fine-art, do you know that you can sell reproductions to make a recurring income when selling art online?
Think of the following art reproduction methods.
- Digital downloads – like computer wallpapers or stock photos
- Merchandise – T-shirts, phone cases, hats, tote bags, mugs, or enamel pins
- Limited edition prints
- 3D-printed sculptures
About 3D printing your art, here is an example of how Joan Cornella (@sirjoancornella), a Spanish artist, is selling 3D printed characters of his art.
How to sell art as print-on-demand merchandise
Selling art reproductions online as print-on-demand merch is fairly a simple way to handle sales and fulfillment of your work. Many print-on-demand companies offer dropshipping. That means, they will print, pack, and deliver those products to your customer’s doorsteps. So, without having to worry about any of those behind the screen tasks, you can simply list down those products on your online store, and keep your focus on creating beautiful art. Read more on what is print on demand?
Start your FREE Printful print on demand account today
Sell tees, mugs, hats, and many more without worrying about any upfront fees.
How to sell art online on art gallery websites
Submitting your work to existing online art galleries gives a lot of benefits to aspiring artists. Unless you could post something viral, it takes months to build an audience for new sales channel. So, by working with online art galleries, you can piggyback their popularity to find new audiences for your work.
Here is a list of the 10 best websites to sell art online
Top 5 picks
- ArtPal – ArtPal is an online marketplace, where artists can sell their work online. There are no membership fees and no commissions. So, ArtPal is a great place to sell art online for free. They also offer a print on demand service for the artists who want to sell reproductions of their work.
- Fine art America – Fineartamerica is the largest online platform to sell fine art and other varients of reproductions online. They also offer fulfilment services.
- VSUAL – Vsual is another popular online art gallery where you can sell art prints online. It is free to start. All you have to do is create a shop, upload your work, and share the link with your buyers. Then, they do the rest by printing, packing, and shipping your work.
- Art finder – What we like about artfinder is that they have a juried selection process, and they feature artists from time to time giving you an opportunity to get extra visibility.
- Artist Stop Being Poor! – You can also join ASBP and sell your art commission-free. Also, they have a printing service, where you can sell reproductions of your work to your customers.
Other best websites to sell art online
Do the marketing by yourself
It seems great and easy to sell art online on art gallery websites. But, as you can see, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of other artists on those websites, and it is not that easy to be “seen” as a newcomer. So, do not expect to make sales from the first day. Therefore, you have to take things to your own hands and do the marketing for your listings. You can use the same social media marketing strategy that we have discussed earlier to bring in potential clients to buy your art.
Plan your shipping strategy
Handling shipping for an online business is quite a complex process for a newbie. From packing your art to finding the best shipping partners, there is a lot to be considered.
There are two ways to deliver your original art, prints, or merch to your customers. You can either do it all yourself or use a fulfilment service. If you are selling print-on-demand art merchandise or canvas prints, most probably, your printing company will offer a fulfilment service as well. If so, you can directly get the shipping cost calculation from them to use as the shipping charges on your site. However, if you are selling fine art, you will have to handle the shipping process all by yourself and it can be a little bit tricky. Let’s have a look.
Packing your art without causing any damages
You package getting damaged during shipping is a nightmare for an online seller. Especially when it comes to an un-replaceable product like a piece of art, it can be even worse. So, you need to take special precautions when selling art online.
The best method to pack a painting is to use mailing boxes covered with a water-resistant polythene sleeve. Sometimes you can buy that packaging material from your shipping company, otherwise, you can also buy them on Amazon as well.
If you are selling framed products, you will have to choose other packaging options as well. However, rather than trying to ship a stretched canvas, you can drastically reduce the shipping costs by rolling and putting it into a tube.
Select a good shipping carrier to deliver art to your customers
The choice of your shipping carrier depends on the price tag of the art that you are selling. However, whatever you sell, pick a plan where you can track your shipments. So, you can avoid half of the headaches related to shipping delays. If you have built your store on Shopify, you can use Shopify Shipping to get discounted shipping rates from reputed carriers. Otherwise, you can always check with UPS, USPS, FedEx, etc, to get shipping rates to display on your online art shop.
Calculating shipping charges to sell art online
Shipping charges depend on many factors, especially the location of your customers. So, unless you have added an automatic price calculation to your online shop, it is not practical to define a fee for each and every city in this world. Therefore, here are most common delivery pricing strategies to sell art online.
- Free shipping – Include the shipping fees to your product price with a markup and offer free shipping option for your customers. This makes the process a lot easier, and your customers can also see an all-inclusive price tag from the very beginning.
- Automated shipping rate cal – There are apps and tools to display automatic price calculation to your product listings. If you are using such apps, you can charge the exact shipping cost from your customers.
- Flat rate shipping – Similar to offering free shipping, use a flat shipping rate to buffer the price variations and offer your customers a simple price tag.
Now you know how to sell art online
Selling art online is a great way to make money as an artist. The secret behind the success of this gig is to build an engaged following for your art. And, social media offers a great platform to build that audience. Next, you need to have a website to sell art online. It won’t cost you a fortune to have one. Apart from selling original art, you can also start selling merchandise featuring your work. This can bring in more money on the side.
Hope this guide has helped you to get an overview idea of how to sell art online. If so, share the word with your fellow artists. Also, you can read our other guides to learn marketing tactics to sell more.