Making It Know

How to Sell Art Online

Whether you’re a creator or a collector, selling art online can be both exciting and lucrative. There’s also more opportunity now than ever before; online art and antiques sales passed the $12 billion mark in 2020. Here are a few easy steps you can follow to sell art online.

Decide between originals and reproductions

Art isn't necessarily a high-volume business in brick-and-mortar stores, but by removing the limitations of geography, the internet allows independent creators to access a much bigger audience. To get started, focus on what kind of art you want to sell. There are countless kinds of art that might appeal to you and your audience, so start narrowing it down by deciding whether you’ll sell original works or reproductions. 

While many artists focus on selling their own original works piece by piece, selling a run of print reproductions is a sales strategy that can increase the sales volume from just one item you created. Other ways to sell reproductions include licensing existing designs with the original artist’s legal permission, or taking images from the public domain to sell as ready-to-hang art. You can search for “commercially available free images” online, or look through Squarespace’s integrated Unsplash collection to find images in the public domain.

Find your niche as a creator or a curator

Are you an artist or a collector? Both types of people can sell art online, although their approaches may be different. Some artists take time to build up a portfolio of completed works before putting them up for sale in their online shop, while others focus on creating works based on client commissions. If you are selling artworks that you haven’t made yet, be sure you have the resources and time to create quickly in the happy event that the orders start pouring in.

Curators, on the other hand, should devote time to developing an aesthetic. Decide on the style of art you plan to sell, or specialize by focusing on works created by an individual artist or collected from a particular region. Curators can also focus on an artistic medium, organizing their shop around watercolors, portraits, or found art, for example. Identifying the unique elements that unify the vision of your curated art business may help you develop a reputation and build rapport with your customers.

Sell in more than one place

Starting an ecommerce website is a great way to sell your art online. But if you’re already set up as a seller on a third-party platform or marketplace, such as Etsy, it’s still a good idea to link those accounts back to your website. That way customers who don’t use apps to shop can still buy from you by visiting your website.

For example, Squarespace makes it easy to integrate your Etsy inventory into your website so that everything from images to prices and product reviews will be reflected on your site. Importing details from your Etsy seller account will give you the confidence that your customers will see the same available inventory everywhere. It also makes for a better shopping experience; instead of building a beautiful website and then sending customers elsewhere to buy, the integration will let your clients shop without clicking away from your digital space.

Deliver your art in pristine condition

Some pieces of art are as thin as a sheet of paper, while others are heavier and bulkier. No matter the details, it’s important to make sure that you can get your art into your customers’ homes in perfect condition. 

If customers are local, you can offer a pickup option for their art. If you’re mailing orders, avoiding bends, folds, scratches, and dents may require special packaging considerations depending on the kind of art you’re shipping. If you’re shipping printed photographs, you can use heavy card stock to keep items from getting bent during transit. While glass sculptures are fragile and may need a lot of bubble wrap and packing peanuts, marble sculptures require the protection of sturdy padding since they can get very heavy even if they’re small.

If your customers are investing in expensive artwork, it’s especially important to provide shipping information they can track closely. With a Squarespace Commerce website, you can add third-party extensions that allow you to do everything from automatically generating shipping labels, to offering your customers worldwide tracking and real-time progress updates, to facilitating returns. Tracking lets your customers see exactly when they can expect their art to arrive. If there are any hiccups, either with your business or from your shipping partner, your customers will be notified immediately and supported through next steps.

You can also skip the delivery step completely by expanding to digital offerings that your customers can download or access online. For example, your online art store can list digital downloads like phone wallpapers, laptop backgrounds, icons, or screensavers that your fans can use on the devices they see every day.

Ready to start selling your art online?

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