Statistics show that the online art market grew 9.8% by 2018. It is a great time to sell your art online. It is worth investing some time to learn how to sell your art online if you want success.
Although selling art online is easy, there are many steps. This guide will help you set up an online art shop and discuss the various options available to you.
Ecommerce platforms: The pros and cons
You should now have an idea of what you want to do with your art online. Let’s look at the pros and cons to using eCommerce platforms such as Squarespace, and Square Online Store before you make your final decision.
These platforms offer many benefits:
- You have complete control over the design of your store thanks to the built-in customization tools and a wide selection of premium and free themes and templates
- Third-party integrations and apps allow for additional functionality, such as integration with CRM or email platforms. This allows you to sell on multiple channels and platforms simultaneously.
- You have full control over how your store appears in search engines with detailed analytics, sales reports and integrated SEO features.
- You can make higher profits by not having to pay listing fees and commissions
There are some disadvantages to using eCommerce platforms:
- Set up of your store requires a greater learning curve
- Monthly or annual fee for the store and any third-party apps
There are pros and cons to selling on third-party marketplaces and galleries
As we mentioned, third-party marketplaces can be the most straightforward way to start selling your artwork online. There’s no learning curve. You only need to sign up, create your store and start selling.
However, marketplaces such as Etsy don’t give you much control over your store. They can also take down your artwork at any time, or your entire store, if they feel you are violating their terms of service.
The disadvantage of not having control over the design of your store is that it can be difficult to differentiate yourself from your competitors.
We’ve now covered the pros and cons for ecommerce platforms as well as third-party marketplaces. Let’s look at the steps to start an online art shop with Shopify.
How to present your art
You should now have an idea of how to set-up your online art shop with Shopify. Before you start selling your first item, there are a few things you should consider.
Your store’s presentation of your artwork is what you should be paying attention to the most. Customers won’t buy the artwork if they don’t like the photos.
First, ensure that your photos of art are well-lit and high-quality. You shouldn’t make them blurry or grainy.
Second, ensure that your product photos are optimized to be used on the internet. You’ll need to save the images in JPG format. Also, ensure that they have the same dimensions. To achieve the right balance between image file size and image quality, you will need to adjust the image compression settings. The file size is important. Otherwise, your website may load slowly.
Slowly loading websites can impact the user experience as well as your search engine rank. This is why product photos should be optimized for the internet.
To reduce the image size without compromising image quality, you can use tools like TinyJPEG or JPEGMini.
You can categorize your art
You can also make your art look more professional by categorizing and organizing it. This will make it easier to find the art pieces that interest your customers and allow them to browse your store.
Your images can be categorized based on the technique used, type or artwork sold, a theme, such as portraits, black and white photos, etc. You can also create art collections that are based on your career, or a collection of your finest work or limited edition pieces.
Customers should be able to sort artwork by price, material, size and shipping options. It will improve their purchasing experience and make them more likely to return to you store.
Art Product Descriptions
Product photos play a crucial role in your store’s success but so do product descriptions. Your product description and title should contain keywords that potential buyers might search for. You should include the keywords naturally, and not overdo it. Keyword stuffing can cause your store to be pushed down the search engine results pages.
Tell a story about each piece to intrigue potential buyers. People relate better to stories. Include details like why you made each piece, how you chose the materials or technique, who or what inspired it, and similar.
Make sure to include details such as weight, dimensions, delivery and other information so that customers can better visualize your product. To ensure that your product descriptions are accurate and current, you should regularly review them.
A great tip to write product descriptions that are clear and concise is to use bullet points and short paragraphs.
Alt tags are important for product photos. This makes them more likely to be found in Google’s image search results. These tags also aid Google and other search engines to understand your site more effectively.
Final, make sure to check product descriptions for spelling and grammar mistakes. Grammarly is a browser extension that will ensure that your website copy is correct. This will ensure that your store does not look amateurish.
Protecting your art
This section ends with a last tip. It is important to think about how you will protect your artwork from copycats. Unfortunately, art theft and plagiarism can happen online just like it does offline.
Although copycats will always find a way around it, malicious users and malign artists will often use it. There are many ways to protect your artwork online.
- You might consider putting a watermark on product photos. Lightroom and Photoshop can be used to create semi-transparent watermarks that will deter copycats who may download your images and display them elsewhere.
- To prevent others downloading your product photos, find an app that disables the right-click
- Hotlink protection is used to prevent people from embedding them on your website.
- You should contact the person who stole your product photos or artwork if you suspect they are not you. Sometimes people won’t understand that copyright violations can be committed by using your artwork without permission. It is possible to politely request that they take down the image or artwork. If all else fails, you can file a DMCA Takedown Notice and contact a copyright attorney.
How to price your art work
Pricing your artwork is the most difficult part of selling it. People will doubt the value of your artwork if the price is too low. If the price is too high, people won’t buy it. Although it can be difficult to get the price right, it is possible. When putting a price tag on your artwork, there are many factors to consider.
First, understand that the market demand for your art and your niche will dictate the price.
Your sales history and overall artistic experience will also play a role. If you are a new artist, for example, your artwork won’t be as expensive as that of someone with a long sales history and a well-respected reputation.
When pricing art, consider the style and time taken to create it.
Pricing your artwork requires upfront research to get a good idea of where you should begin. Look for artists who sell artwork similar to yours, and then use their pricing as a guide.
Alternativly, you could work out your ideal hourly salary and divide it by how many hours it took to create that particular piece. Include shipping and material costs.
Keep your pricing consistent across multiple platforms if you are selling artwork on more than one platform. If they find your artwork cheaper elsewhere, they will be angry at you.
Transport and packaging your art
Your store is now up and running. You have amazing product photos and product descriptions. Your artwork is priced appropriately and you feel confident selling it online. There are a few things you need to do before you launch your online art store.
First, decide how to package your artwork and what shipping method and courier you will use. If you don’t want third-party vendors to manage this process, this step is crucial.
First, decide the size of your artwork’s package. It will depend on the dimensions and type of the artwork. Paintings will need different packaging materials than sculptures. You will need to offer a range of packaging options to accommodate different sizes and dimensions if you are selling a variety artwork.
Protective material is also important. You should have padding and bubble wrap to protect your artwork.
Here are some general tips:
- Mailing tubes can be used to send artwork such as posters and prints that are larger than usual.
- You can use cardboard envelopes if you are selling small prints
- You will need bubble wrap, padding or boxes if you plan to sell sculptures.
After you have figured out how to package your artwork, you can now choose the shipping company that will deliver your products. This could include USPS, Fedex, or UPS.
When comparing these companies, the first thing to do is to compare their prices for different package sizes that you are likely to need. This will allow you to determine the shipping cost.
Shopify allows you to easily connect to these services, so that you can display live shipping rates at checkout depending upon the package dimensions and weight, the location of your customers, and your location.
ShipStation is another option to ship your products. ShipStation, a fulfillment company that stores and packs your artwork, is another option. ShipStation will handle shipping once a sale is made.
Once you’ve sorted your shipping model, and product packaging, you can access the Shopify Settings panel to set shipping options for the store.
Shopify lets you set different shipping rates for international and domestic shipping. You can also create custom shipping profiles to suit certain products or locations.
Here are some examples:
- Flat rate shipping can be configured. This means that regardless of how large or heavy the package, shipping costs will remain the same. This is an excellent option if your art is of the same size as it is heavy.
- Weight-depending. This option is available if you are selling a lot of artwork with different weights.
- Local pickup or store pickup. This option is great for local art stores. It allows you to establish a personal relationship and build trust with each buyer.
After you have set your shipping rates, it is possible to adjust your package sizes according to the criteria and customize your packing slips.
Next, enter your shipping addresses. You can connect your store to services such as UPS and Fedex, as well as other fulfillment services.
You can use carrier-calculated shipping by connecting your store to shipping couriers. Your shipping cost will automatically be calculated according to their rules and regulations. Shipping costs will depend on the package’s weight and size. This is useful for art with different dimensions and sizes.
It is worth noting that your customers will have a better experience if you offer more shipping options. Customers will be able choose the shipping method that is most convenient for them. This includes both the price and delivery time.
Protecting Your Art
While insurance isn’t the most exciting thing to consider when you are selling your artwork online, keep in mind that accidents can happen. You can protect your artwork and yourself with the right insurance.
Most companies such as UPS and FedEx have some limited insurance you can use. There is nothing to stop you from getting insurance that covers your art in the event of damage.
Your art should be covered with more insurance. You don’t want to save money, as possible artwork damage will cost you more.
Start your own art store
Now it is time to launch your art shop.
Begin by looking around the store to ensure everything is as it should be. To verify that product descriptions and photos are correct, click on the product.
Make sure to check each page for typos.
Final step: Make sure you test the checkout process. After you have checked everything, go to Online Store > Domains. To create a store, you will need to purchase a domain that customers can use to navigate your site.
It is important to choose a domain name for your store. You can check if your existing art store is available as a domain and then use it.
You have two options if that is not the case:
- Your domain name should be your name. This will enable you to create a personal brand for your art.
- You can use a domain name that is more generic and relates to your artwork.
Although.com is the most preferred domain extension, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find good domain names with this extension. Other popular options are.store,.art and.me.
After you have settled on a domain, you can either purchase it through Shopify, or, if you already own a domain, connect it to Shopify from your third-party provider. The next step is to upgrade to Shopify’s paid plan. Shopify has three plans that you can choose from:
- Basic This plan allows you unlimited product sales and up to 2 staff members in your shop. This plan includes SSL certificates, manual order creation at 4 locations, discount codes, abandoned cart recovery and 64% shipping discount. This plan is $29/month.
- Shopify — This plan includes all the features of the previous plan, plus additional features like USPS Priority Mail Cubic(r), pricing for 5 employees, 72% shipping discounts, and professional reports. This plan is $79/month.
- Advanced – This plan offers everything in the previous plan, but with the lowest credit card processing fees. It also allows you to have up to 15 staff accounts and 8 locations. You also get a 74% discount on shipping and advanced sales reports. This plan is $299/month.
If you are just starting out, the Basic Shopify plan will be your best option. The Shopify store is the best option if you have an established portfolio and are selling your work in person. You’ll get professional reports and lower processing costs. If you are a well-known artist and have a brick and mortar store, the Advanced Shopify plan is for you.
How to promote your online art store
Once your store has been opened, you should now be focusing on marketing and promoting it. If you want to attract customers and keep them coming back, this is a must. Your store may be live but that doesn’t necessarily mean your art will be available for purchase.
Marketing is essential to get them to buy your products. You have many options to market your store, including:
- Building your email list
- Participating on social media
- Create content to promote your store
- Pinterest can be used to promote and pin your products
- Streaming your art process
- Offline marketing is a great way to promote your online store
Let’s look at each method in greater detail below.
Building your email list
Start building your email list as soon as possible. This is the most important tip in marketing. This will enable you to collect the information of people who are interested but not ready to buy your art. You can use their email address to send them information about your store, art, and maintain the relationship until they buy.
In exchange for their email address, you can offer them something. Offer them a coupon code or special deal such as a half-off on one print, or a discount code. In exchange for their email address, you could offer them a smaller version as a wallpaper or phone wallpaper.
After you have decided what incentive you will offer to get people to sign up for your list, sign up with an email provider. There are two options: SendinBlue or Klaviyo. These allow you to build your list free of charge and can be easily embedded in your store.
Shopify Email can be used to send your subscribers emails if you prefer to keep everything in one location. Shopify’s new service, Shopify Email, is currently free to all users. It makes it easy for you to create emails that match the design of your store.
Additionally, the Shopify App Store has many apps that can help you create newsletter sign-up forms that can be integrated with different email marketing providers.
Being Active On Social Media
A social media presence is a great way to promote your art store and it’s also the fastest way to get the word around. There are many options, but it is best to be active on the platforms where your target audience is.
You don’t need to be active on every platform. You can start with one or two platforms and become familiar with them before you move on to other platforms.
You can share behind-the scenes sneak peeks at new artwork, sales announcements, funny memes related to your niche and questions that will help educate you about your audience.
To make your accounts more interactive, mix plain text posts with images or videos. Engage with your followers by commenting on their posts and answering their questions. This will allow you to build a relationship with potential customers as well as a loyal fan base.
Instagram is the most used platform by artists due to its visual nature. You have many options to promote your art on Instagram. You can first promote your art on your Instagram account. This is a great way to create a visually appealing Instagram profile.
Shoppable posts can be enabled to make it easier for your followers click through to Shopify to make a purchase.
You can also use Instagram Stories to share behind the scenes photos of your creative process.
Lastly, IGTV video can be used to answer questions from customers about your products and to show off different art pieces that you have for sale.
Create Content to Promote Your Store
The Shopify features allow you to promote your store through blogging. Blog posts can be used to explain the creative process and give tips for how to display your work in their home or offices. Your artwork can be featured in gift guides.
Blogs are a great way to show search engines that you have new content regularly. This will increase the likelihood that they will scan your site more often. Search engines love sites that are frequently updated.
You can also create blog posts that include keywords related to your art. This increases the chances of your store showing up in search results for potential buyers who are searching online to purchase art.
Use Pinterest to Pin and Promote Your Products
While most people believe Pinterest is a social network, it’s actually a search engine. You don’t need to interact with other users beyond pinning their content. Optimizing pin titles and descriptions with keywords related to your products is what matters most on Pinterest.
Artists will find this a great platform as you can easily promote your products by simply configuring rich pins.
After you have enabled this option and set up it, visitors can go directly to your product page and make their purchase.
Signing up for a free account with a business is the best way to start Pinterest. Create boards that appeal to your target audience. These boards can include interior design or home decor. A dedicated board should be created where your artwork can be pinned.
Pin your content, but don’t forget to pin content from other people. Pin 80/20 content distribution. Create multiple pins for every product in your store. This will increase your chances of products being discovered and will also allow you to appeal to different people with different pins.
Streaming your Art Process
Video is a great way to market your products. Video posts get more engagement than text or photo posts, and 72% customers would prefer to learn about a product/service through video.
Live streaming is an excellent way to promote your artwork in video marketing. You can stream your artwork creation process and get your audience to buy it.
Live streaming is great because you can build relationships quickly with your audience. You can allow them to get to know you better and feel your art, which will increase their willingness to support you.
Twitch is the most popular platform for live streaming. Twitch is mostly geared towards gamers, but they have a section for creative streamers as well.
If Twitch isn’t your cup of tea consider Youtube, which is the second most used search engine.
Facebook is the third option for live streaming. With over 2 billion users, you are bound to find your audience there.
To ensure that your audio and video quality isn’t compromised, it’s important to have a better computer and a good webcam.
Live streaming requires that you have a schedule and be available often to build a loyal following.
Live streaming is not the best way to market your art shop if your budget is tight or you have limited time.
Contests and Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing, giveaways and contests are great ways to quickly gain attention.
Influencer marketing is where you pay someone who has a large following on social media and established presence to promote your art. This works well for Instagram. You can either pay the influencer for a shoutout, or arrange for an Instagram Takeover in which you post on their account daily.
You must first establish a relationship and ensure that your audience is interested in your art. Otherwise, this approach won’t work.
To promote your store, you can also use giveaways and contests. These strategies work best if you have a large following on your preferred social media platform and are well-known.
This works well when combined with influencer marketing, which exposes you to an even larger audience.
You have two options: you can give away a smaller copy of the original artwork, or you can go big by giving away an original piece in its original size.
Make sure you have rules and a method for choosing the winner. Also, ensure that your giveaway or contest follows Instagram’s official terms and conditions as well as any local regulations.
Promotion of your online store using offline marketing methods
Online stores don’t necessarily mean that you cannot use offline marketing to promote them. While some of these methods require you to spend money, others are free.
Promoting your product is easy if you include the URL to your website in your email signature.
Brochures that feature your artwork can be created and linked to your website.
Some other offline methods include:
- Advertising on billboards or traditional newspapers
- Flyers can be posted in your local area
- Add a decal to your vehicle with the address of your store
- To capitalize on word-of-mouth marketing, send your customers thank you notes that are handwritten
- Ask your family and friends to spread the word about your online shop.
Be creative and try different marketing strategies to find the one that works best for you.
Paid advertising to promote your art store
Paid advertising is the last method of marketing you have. Paid advertising can be a great way to get customers and sales quickly. It’s not the cheapest marketing option, however. Ad costs can be very high. If you have a large marketing budget, this is the best method to use.
You have many options for online advertising to promote your product. Google AdWords and Facebook Ads are the most popular. Shopify makes it simple to create ads for Facebook or Snapchat from your store’s backend.
Google AdWords gives you access to all their partner networks, which means that your ads will be visible everywhere on the internet. You can have your ads displayed on search engine result pages and on partner websites depending on what type of ad they are.
Facebook advertising lets you promote your products on both Facebook and Instagram. Text ads can be created as well as video and carousel ads, which usually bring in more engagement. Facebook has an excellent ad manager which allows you to fine-tune your audience according to their interests and demographics.
Ads are an effective way to make sure your audience sees your posts, despite the constant updates in Facebook’s algorithm.
Pinterest Promoted Pins, which are still relatively new in paid advertising, is the most cost-effective option. Promoted pins function in the same way as other paid advertising methods. You’ll typically pay per click to get your pin seen more people.
You need to ensure that your product pages work on every platform, no matter what paid advertising option you use. To ensure that your audience has landed on the right page, you will want to use the same branding and imagery.
It is important to monitor your ad performance and to let your ads run at least one week before you make any changes to your ad copy.