Why Artists Must be Ready for Online Commerce

by Carolyn Edlund

Selling art online is here to stay. Are you prepared?


Credit Card and computer


Almost 20 years ago, I opened an e-commerce website to sell my art. Surprisingly enough it worked, although at the time customers had to print out a form, fill in their credit card information, and fax it to me in order to make a purchase.

The big headline that year was a new marketplace that had launched, taking the chance that consumers would be willing to use their credit cards online to shop.

The year was 1995. That company was Amazon. And we all know the outcome.

From that humble beginning, online commerce has now become a trend so prevalent that Cyber Monday is beating Black Friday.

A recent survey by Hiscox Group reveals some vital information and takeaways for artists:

  • Buying art based on a digital image has become the norm, and buyers are confident doing so.
  • 71% of art collectors have bought art online sight unseen.
  • Buyers of all ages are making art purchases online.
  • Art buyers want to purchase art with little or no contact with the intermediary (the gallery).
  • Artists selling directly to their fan base is a major trend.
  • Online art sales have grown exponentially and are poised for even more growth.
  • Online platforms are major incubators for emerging artists.

Any surprise here? Not really. Although the Hiscox survey was created for the gallery and museum industries, the bottom line is clear. Artists can absolutely sell their work online. They don’t need gallery relationships to do so. The opportunity is huge.

Although it’s widely accepted that  a website is essential, my experience is that many artists are lagging behind in creating an effective online presence. And unless you have relationships with galleries that are effectively selling your art online for you, you have to make a commitment if you want to market and sell on your own. It’s pretty straightforward:

  • If you don’t yet have your own art website, you need one.
  • If your website isn’t prepared to sell directly to the customer, you are losing out.
  • Since online art sales are here to stay, creating an artist website that works effectively for making sales is a wise business investment.

Take a look at your current situation. Do you have a site you are proud of? Are you getting traffic? Are you making sales? If your site needs work, give it the attention it needs to go to work for you, so that you are truly ready for online commerce.


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  1. Great advice Carolyn! Thanks for sharing this invaluable information!!

  2. Love all your articles Carolyn, but this one especially is the ‘kick-in-the-but’ I’ve been needing. Thank you!

  3. Artfuly is an easy to use online art gallery that can be casually browsed or filtered by subject, style, size, colour, price and artist. It is the digital marketplace for unique art, and within a few weeks will be opening up to artists anywhere in the world! Art upload takes under 2 minutes per artwork, and from there you or anyone else can social share to anywhere – plus you can use the individual web address to sell your artwork from anywhere (cafe’s, print ads etc), and transform that web address to a QR code if you choose.

    Apply at http://artfuly.com/artists/sell-your-art


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