Selling Art Online: Six Places You Should Know
The internet has done much for the independent business person. As an artist, that means you whether you think of yourself this way or not. While creating art may give meaning to your life, selling art is what facilitates that life. There has never been a better time to dive into the world of online sales. Every day new programs and site emerge that reshape the way commerce happens online. So what are your waiting for? Sure the World Wide Web is big, but we have a primer to help you get started one site at a time.
Let’s start with Craigslist (www.craigslist.org). Sure you may know this online classifieds site as the place to sell an old sofa or find a part time job, but in amongst the for sale categories is one dedicated to arts and crafts. Bear in mind that Craigslist is a bit like a jumble sale, the arts and crafts section includes everything from original art to second hand Mardi Gras masks, but it can be a good way to test a small market for no cost.
A caveat about Craigslist: because of the nature of Craigslist, it is important to be vigilant about safety. Scams are almost inherent on the site these days, and anyone can contact you and show up to purchase art. Do all you can to ensure your security when selling through Craigslist. Arranging to meet buyers in a public place is usually best practice, and operating with a cash only system safeguards you from finding yourself without your art or the money you thought you were being paid.
Etsy (www.etsy.com) is a catchall site for creators of all kinds. Within the virtual walls of this artisan superstore you can sell anything large or small. On Etsy, you are fully in charge of your storefront which brings with it freedom and responsibility. The fees are low making this a top choice for many artists and artisans and Etsy offers secure transactions with direct deposit. For some the prospect of listing their art side by side with crocheted baby blankets and bedazzled sweatshirts may not sit quite right, but if you are willing to accept that Etsy is an equal opportunity site for creators from every niche, you can do very well. The site also offers resources for support and education as well as tools to help you grow your business from the ground up.
Social media is a thread that connects us all these days. You may not realize it, but social media can also be the connection between your art and ready buyers. It is now possible to sell directly through social media with a handful of apps and programs that allow you to create shoppable posts on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and more. One such program is Spreesy (www.spreesy.com) which allows you to create a virtual storefront and allows potential buyers to purchase directly from your posts. LikeItWantIt (http://www.readypulse.com/products/shoppable-instagram/) is another program that turns your social media into a virtual shopping experience.
Maybe your art is the sort that translates well onto a tee shirt or a coffee mug. Perhaps you have created something that would prove a blockbuster if only you could sell it in stocking stuffer style. You can with Café Press (www.cafepress.com). And since Café Press has been around since 1999, it’s safe to say that know what they’re doing by now.
Did you know that you can sell through Amazon? And since basically half the world uses Amazon to buy everything from coffee to couches, you already have an audience of millions at your disposal. Getting started selling on Amazon is pretty simple, and once you’re set up they offer you all sorts of handy tracking features to see how your virtual art gallery is doing. As with most of these platforms, selling on Amazon isn’t free. There is a subscription fee plus some additional selling fees, but since Amazon receives such heavy traffic already, it could be worth the money.
Ebay is another online selling giant. It is easy to become an Ebay seller, and like Amazon the site has a built in audience already. You can choose to sell on your own or, for additional cost, Ebay has experts who will create listings using photos you provide and help promote your product. Ebay is also dedicated to seller security. They have a huge team specifically tasked with protecting the privacy of both seller and buyer. I interviewed an artist who makes over 200k a year selling art on ebay by posting a painting every single day - her name is Abbey Ryan.
These are just a few online outlets for selling works of art. Keep an eye out for future posts about others, and in the meantime take a little time to research the ones we have given here. The internet can be the best tool an independent artist has when it comes to getting your art from the studio to the world.
If you want help getting into galleries, and selling art online, check out the courses I offer here.