The continual emergence of the online marketplace makes it easier for artists to have a venue for sales, but it also presents certain challenges that are very different from making sales in person at an art fair or a gallery.
However, any artist who can embrace the online marketplace and learn how to deal with the pros and cons of it will be in a better position to make a living off of their art.
So here is a mini guide for selling art online!
What are the Challenges of Online Sales?
When someone is interested in buying art, they typically prefer to be able to look at it in person. Art is a very personal choice after all, and it is important to most people to be able to truly gauge the impact of the piece. Because of this, it can be complicated to get people to commit to an online art purchase. Many artists have found that offering a short return window, such as within 14 days, will make it easier to get people to go through with a purchase. Most consumers will decide to keep something once it is actually in their hands, but you do need to be prepared for the possibility of dealing with some returns. If this is going to be too cumbersome for you, then you should not offer to accept returns.
Another challenge of online sales is directing people to your online store. There are literally millions of artists online, and it can be hard for people to sort through all of their options. Because repeat sales are always a good possibility, you should set up a Facebook fan page for your art to promote new pieces, and you should also hand out business cards at any art fairs that you attend to encourage people to like your page. Regardless of which online store platform you are using, it will be easier to link your Facebook followers to your new pieces than to try to get a large audience to visit your store on a regular basis. Another perk of having a Facebook page is that your followers will have the opportunity to communicate with you, and a lot of people want to learn more about the artist before they buy their work.
Online Sales Resources
A lot of artists do not have the money or time to invest into creating their own online store platform, and there is really no reason to do so, either.
Etsy is a great resource for artists because it enables you to post your creations on a very popular website that handles the entire payment process for you. This not only has the potential to expose new people to your work, but it also adds a feeling of legitimacy to your store.
If your work can be reproduced into prints, there are several options for print on demand websites that can enable people to order your work in any size that they would like. For example, Fine Art America has artist galleries that any artist can sign up for. Once you upload your work, they will make it available to anyone who visits their website.
They handle all of the production and distribution, and the artist receives a commission based on a pricing structure that they set in advance.
The Best Sales Approach
Being a successful artist requires a diverse sales approach, so it is important to both have a strong online presence and to continue to focus on art fairs and gallery shows. Many of the most successful artists utilize multiple online sales platforms, and this is the best way to get your work in front of a large audience.