Selling art online is an art in itself. After graduating from art school you may know everything about color theory and watercolor techniques but did you know anything about business. Even putting up a basic portfolio website for your work is a challenging task, without the eCommerce. But, to do business, you need an eCommerce site where you can sell your art online. To succeed in art, you have to succeed in business.
Probably 20 years ago, graduated from art school didn’t have the opportunity to set up an eCommerce store to sell their own art, but now they do. Plus, with the ever-increasing social media presence, it has become absolutely essential to have an online presence to succeed.
Ecommerce and social selling are quickly becoming an effective means for all independent artists who want to self-sufficiently fund their craft. By selling their art they are creating their own niche audience.
It has enabled curators to represent more artists in order to expand their reach to a larger audience worldwide.
How to sell art online
There are many who are actively making a living out of selling art on Shopify or other similar platforms. Here, I will help you sell art online by taking tips from top merchants on the internet.
Part-Time or Full-Time
Many new artists have got their big break on social media such as Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and other channels. They are quickly growing a devout fan following simply by sharing their work to the online artist communities.
Artists didn’t just succeed overnight and they have to supplement their income in the beginning, while at the same time slowly growing their fanbase on social media platforms. When you are starting out you are making zero dollars so you have to do some contract work to support yourself.
However, if you have some business skills it would be easier for getting your own eCommerce store up and running as well as maintain it for the rest of life cycle. If you are working somewhere you can tap into employer resources and get some opportunities to grow your art business on the side. Would you be able to take enough risks to get what you want? If you don’t get your temporary space, would you think of signing up space on the lease?
Selling Your Own Work or Selling Someone else’s Work
If you are yourself not an artist, you can still make a living out of selling arts as a curator. Artists who are not interested in the business part of the deal they rely on agents and galleries to do it for them and this is where you come in.
While working with artists, you can sell originals or prints and even license their works to be printed on the merchandise and make money. Here an artist would generally set a commission on the number works that gets sold.
Most galleries would give a 50% consignment split for original art. This is the industry standard for all original art. For prints, the split is usually 50% after the cost of production.
Being an artist, you can completely cut the middle man and set up your own shop to sell prints and merchandise. You will be able to keep the costs low as well as learn a lot about the business world in the bargain. However, for original artwork, you can contact galleries which you will get to know once you set up your own shop.
Online galleries can bring your work to new audiences and you can have access to resources and professionals to help promote, handle and ship artwork.
Selling Original Work or Reproduction Work
Some arts such as sculptures are not easy to reproduce or use for merchandise application, however with art on canvas you have multiple options for generating bigger sales on a single work. A few options for 2D arts include fine art, framed and unframed paint on canvas, digital downloads, original work in a digital medium, merchandise, repeat prints, etc.
Creating Your Online Store
We have already discussed a lot about creating an online store in our previous article. Take a good look at all your options starting from Shopify to BigCartel for your eCommerce platform. Pick a theme that has lots of white/negative space, enables large images and also is mobile responsive.
You could add other tools, apps or extensions to keep your business smooth and automated. If you are selling artwork with print and merchandise you can integrate apps such as Kite and Gooten to take out the burden of shipping and fulfillment from your business.
You could use gallery apps to feature your past and out-of-stock works which will work as a portfolio for other merchants looking to work with you. If you are using Shopify you can use the variant to provide customers the option to buy products of multiple sizes, finish, and framing.
Photographing & Scanning the Art
Photographing and representing the products clearly is essential in e-commerce, irrespective of the industry you are in. Because they are not getting any tactile feel of the product, they should at least get a sense of what they are getting through a sharp and detailed image of high-quality.
Photographing art can be challenging as the basic light setup would create glare and color irregularities. Which is why you will need a professional photographer who has experience in this industry. For all 3D arts such as sculpture, you have to photograph it but for 2D works, you can go with scanning as an efficient option.
Open or Limited Edition
An open edition work such as a design on a t-shirt can be reproduced multiple times over various items; however, some galleries opt for limited edition art that is much like the limited time offer and it creates a sense of urgency and scarcity. Providing works as limited edition really adds value to the art.
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