What Artists Must Know About Selling Art Online

by Carolyn Edlund

Online art sales are mainstream now. Are you taking advantage of this opportunity?

 

A guide to places to sell art or craft online, with pros and cons, as well as selling through your own website.

 

When surfing channels recently, I clicked on HGTV. I settled back, waiting to go into a coma watching people deciding whether to renovate their house or move, when a commercial was aired for Pixels.com, selling art online.

You know online art sales have gone totally mainstream when millions of people are being exposed to national advertisements that make shopping for artwork seem this appealing, easy and fun.

Have you jumped into this exploding marketplace?

Pixels.com is part of Fine Art America, a powerhouse on the internet for art sales. There are tons of other places to sell art, craft and handmade goods online, too. The biggest directory on the web is right here on Artsy Shark!

Bookmark this directory link and come back often as the list is continually updated to bring new opportunities for selling to artists of all types.

There are many different ways for artists to do commerce online. Quite a few artists are selling right from their own websites, using shopping cart plug-ins or linking to storefronts like SquareMarket that seamlessly integrate into an easy experience for the buyer.

Third-party sites offer further options, from selling original work and reproductions to working with print-on-demand providers, having artwork printed on clothing, phone cases, mugs, as well as canvas and other substrates. There are websites that encourage buyers to commission artwork, and sites that offer unique tools that help you sell your art on platforms such as Instagram. Many of them are free to join, at least at a basic level.

Internet art sales are a growing trend that won’t be slowing any time soon. Buyers of all ages have indicated that they are willing to make an art purchase after seeing an image online. Apps make picturing art right on your own wall easier than ever, so the comfort level is high for buying art in the comfort of your own home.

Do you sell your art online? What is your favorite e-commerce site? If not, what’s stopping you?

 

Art Credit, left to right: AlyZen Moonshadow, Dawna Ellis, Donna McCullough, Eric Hudgins, Janet Vanderhoof

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. I’m on both Fine Art America and Etsy. I broke even with my frst year on FAA but get at least 2-3 commissions a year from people on Etsy, so I will stick to Etsy for that reason and give FAA one more year to see if sales increase if not then I will look around for a different sight. I only know one artist that sells a lot on FAA, most artists from my art groups have done about the same as me. But FAA is very user friendly with excellent customer service and pays on time. Lots of good things about both for different reasons, but so far Etsy has proven much more profitable for me.

    • It’s interesting to see how certain artists have better results on different sites. Do you have an idea of why Etsy is working for you vs. FAA? Do you think it may be easier to get “found” there?

  2. I am on Artspan as of October 2014. I have set up the E-Commerce cart which was easy to do. I don’t know what took me so long to get my own website for I should have done this years ago. Renee Phillps article in the Professional Artist magazine convinced me that it is time that I should invest in one and lucky me that I also found Artspan in the same magazine (how convenient no?). Just having a nice and easy to navigate website has opened up quite a few opportunities for me.

    • Roopa, I’ve come to know the people at Artspan pretty well, as they are sponsors of some of the business workshops I run for artists. And I’m glad you have found them to be useful for your own website. I understand they work really hard to help promote the artists who are members there.

  3. I haven’t had much success with ETSY, probably because I have not spent a lot of time working it.
    Fine Art America has been much better for me, I average about 100 sales per year there, however you cannot just put your work on one of these sites and wait for the sales to roll in. I work lots of art fairs and pass out hundreds of cards directing folks to my own and my FAA sites. I also post quite a bit on Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter too, always including a link to my sites. You cannot just put your work on one of these sites and wait for the sales to roll in.

    • Great comment, Catherine – thanks for adding this. It is so true, you need to work persistently to get the word out and help direct interested viewers to your site and your artwork. Best wishes for a successful selling year!

  4. That’s really nice to hear that Pixels.com is advertising on HGTV! I know everyone had hoped that Etsy would do the same. But, even with advertising, Etsy has been much better for me over the years. I just set up a new website with wordpress following Lori McNee’s tips on her blog. I just launched it this month so can’t say how it’s doing yet, and I haven’t set up an Ecommerce shop but have linked my Etsy shop to it. I plan to get to that soon. I definitely agree though, online art sales are still going strong!

    • Great news that you set up a separate website – the important thing here is that you are the one in control of your own site. Many artists use Etsy as their shopping cart, linking it right to the website, and it works for them.

      But just the other day I spoke with an artist who sells quite a large volume on Etsy, and her shop was simply shut down by them without notice. She got an email saying that they wanted to verify she was in fact making what she sold. She was able to prove this, but not before her shop was down for a number of days, losing her hundreds of dollars.

      I’m sure this wouldn’t happen to everyone on Etsy, (and it is a good thing that they are doing some policing of work that is claimed to be handmade) but it goes to prove that you don’t own your Etsy shop. Etsy does, and they have the last word.

  5. Oh! That would be awful if that happened to my shop! I still haven’t started selling directly from my website. I think the least I’ll do is put a paypal button on my images but that might take time too. What I’m having trouble with is getting people to transfer from my blogger to my new site. I’ve had my blogger blog since 2009. I’ve been posting on there asking them to come over to the new one, a few times, and they’ve visited but some are having trouble following on the wordpress format.

  6. I’ve just started and Etsy works best for me. I’ve tried FAA as well but no success. I promote my creations on social media a lot but when Googling Etsy SEO seems to work best.

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