Over the years, selling art online has become more and more common. Even galleries, places where in-person sales are often the norm, are starting to use technology to their advantage. In fact, some newly opened galleries report that more than half of their sales happen online, so most of their collectors are never met.
From exorbitantly priced works to niche pieces, many art lovers have started buying art online. This industry has taken longer than others to join the world of online sales, but a lot has changed in the last five years. Some artists have even bypassed galleries, deciding to sell their art themselves without the need for an intermediary.
With a plethora of options available for each type of gear, making a decision can be overwhelming. We have decided to help you narrow down your options and explain everything you need to know to sell art online. This way you can focus on designing a good website to showcase your art to the world.
Do you want to sell art online but don’t know where to start? Don’t worry, we help you.
You can make money selling art online! These are some of the best sites to sell art online.
If you already have a well-designed website, you may want to cut out the middleman and create your own online store. Shopify is a great choice for building your own eCommerce site thanks to its accessibility and flexibility. If it’s designed well, customers don’t need to know it’s a Shopify page, ensuring a smooth shopping experience.
Does making your own online store sound too complicated? There are plenty of other options for selling your art online, from print-on-demand to luxury artwork.
Amazon? Yes that’s how it is. In 2013, the online retail giant began merchandising art with the opening of a dedicated Amazon Art section. They even have a selection of guest curators to make the experience more gallery-like. Selling your art on Amazon requires you to go through a pre-approval process. It’s important to know that only certain types of art are eligible: original paintings, drawings, watercolors, and two-dimensional mixed media works, as well as limited-edition photographs and prints, are allowed. Unfortunately, sculptors will have to look elsewhere, as three-dimensional art is prohibited.
Are you going to sell other types of creative products? You can still register as a seller on Amazon Handmade, a space dedicated to creators. This section seeks to support individual artists by giving them access to Amazon’s professional selling plan at no additional charge.
Since its inception in 2005, Etsy has become the quintessential online marketplace for selling vintage and handmade items. Their motto, “buy whatever you can think of from creative people around the world”, explains it all. Are you a fashion designer looking to sell your creations, or a craftsman making handmade furniture or jewelry? This is the place for you. Etsy charges a nominal listing and transaction fee, but makes it very easy to open your own shop.
Etsy also provides a wealth of resources to its sellers, from branding and marketing manuals to practical information on how to keep your accounts without dying trying. It is no coincidence that the site has more than 1 million active sellers.
Like Etsy, Storenvy is an online marketplace where emerging brands can create a custom store in minutes. It doesn’t matter if you’re an artist, jewelry designer, or even an aspiring musician, there’s room for everyone here. Creating your online store is free, and there are two ways to sell: you can offer your products on a marketplace and have access to thousands of buyers, or create a professional store that looks like your own business (similar to a Shopify store). Additionally, there are monthly subscription plans that give you access to virtual trading tools like automated discounts and social media promotions.
Many artists use eBay as they have no restrictions on what media you can sell. A quick look at eBay’s art category shows the wealth of what is available. Since its creation in 1995, eBay has become a benchmark in online sales and offers a lot of support to its sellers. Their how-to-sell guides show step-by-step what artists can do to ensure they are displaying their artwork in the best light possible, giving them a better chance of selling.
Photographers, illustrators, and graphic designers should check out Minted, a great resource for wedding invitations, custom Christmas cards, and more. The artists are selected through design competitions, in which the winners are chosen by the public. In addition to receiving their own display case on Minted, the winner can earn a cash prize and earn commissions on their designs.
Looking to sell reproductions of your art or see your work printed on a wide variety of products? Society6 makes it super easy to transfer your artwork and photos to a wide range of objects, from prints to iPhone covers. As an artist, you retain all rights to your work, and Society6 handles all order fulfillment, so you don’t have to worry about packaging or shipping. They even let you set your own royalty deal on prints and canvas, with flat rates for the other items they have for sale. If you want something quick and easy, or if you’ve ever dreamed of seeing your artwork on clothing and home products, Society6 is the way to go.
Would you like to see your designs on things that people use every day? CASETiFY makes it easy to reach customers by customizing accessories like cell phone cases and Apple Watch bands. Simply upload your work and decide which designs you want on your products. Once you make a sale, CASETiFY will produce it, pack it, and ship it for you. You can keep the rights to your work and make a profit for each piece sold.
Zazzle has the best of both worlds, giving you the option to sell as a “creator” (to sell products) or a “designer” (to sell art). Many artists, graphic designers, and photographers simply upload their art to the site, making it available to print on demand, either as prints or on a wide variety of products. Building a store is free and you can set your own royalty percentage. Zaazle takes care of everything else.
Founded in Australia in 2006, Redbubble is another site that allows you to make prints and on-demand products with your art. Redbubble allows artists to set their own profit margin, so you can order your income however you like. When selling from stationery and stickers to womenswear, and with the ability to analyze your store traffic, Redbubble is a great option for artists looking for a good print-on-demand partner.
Based in London and Miami, Artfinder exhibits a mix of works by British, American and international artists. To join you need to go through a selection process: artists must submit their best work and a brief description to be considered. Once accepted, all you have to do is set up your online store for free. Artfinder receives 33% to 40% commission on sales and only allows original pieces—no posters or reproductions—with a focus on painting, photography, digital art, collage, sculpture, drawing, and prints.
Don’t want to have to pay a commission every time you sell a piece? Then Artplode is a good option for you. Created in 2014, the site works with artists, galleries, dealers and collectors and specializes in the sale of original works of art and of prints and limited edition photographs. Instead of charging a commission with each sale, Artplode charges a flat fee per piece. For an additional fee, they can even put you in touch with art consultants who can help you position your pieces among collectors and assist you with pricing. Artists can also decide to absorb the cost of shipping or let their buyers pay for it directly.
UGallery believes that browsing its art collection should be like spending a lazy afternoon visiting local galleries in the real world. Founded in 2006, this company is serious about curating and they seek to avoid the endless internet art sales sites. Instead, his team selects each artist and each work they exhibit, making all of their pieces exclusive to UGallery. This site encourages emerging and mid-career artists to apply to show their pieces. If selected, sales will be split 50/50, and the artist ships their work in a custom box (provided by UGallery) from their studio.
When looking for a place to sell your art online, it doesn’t hurt to have one of the most respected names in the art world by your side. Saatchi Art was created by the company of Charles Saatchi, and although it was sold in 2014, the site still bears the prestigious name of its founder. Artists can set up a free shop to sell original pieces, with prices ranging from less than $500 to more than $10,000. The site receives a 35% commission per sale, but the shipping is at your expense and even sends a courier to pick up the part; all you have to do is pack it. In exchange for this, artists have access to Saatchi’s huge audience, which includes more than 1.1 million social media followers and a print catalog that reaches more than 1 million households.
If you’re already represented by a gallery, check to see if they’re already taking advantage of online sales.
Artnet has alliances with some of the largest auction houses and galleries; This, together with their news and event listings, has made them a benchmark for contemporary art collectors. Working as an online showcase for galleries, artists represented by partner galleries can request that galleries place their work on Artnet. Their work will be viewable through the gallery listing or artist listing that displays news, events, auction results, and available artwork.
“Artsy’s mission is to make all the art in the world available to anyone with an internet connection.” Like Artnet, Artsy isn’t open to independent artists, but it’s worth investigating if your gallery is willing to list your work on the site. This online gallery addresses the world of contemporary art with live auctions, information on art fairs and exhibitions, as well as gallery listings.
Partner galleries can offer artwork from their represented artists, which will showcase their work to a wide audience of potential collectors.
This article has been edited and updated.
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