As an artist, finding collectors and selling your art is always a key marker of success. Many artists envision success as exhibiting their work in prestigious galleries. But this offers only one of many available avenues. Artists today have more opportunities than ever before. With social media and eCommerce websites, you can sell almost anything online from anywhere in the world, including art. If you have been searching for a way to quit your day job to pursue your work as an artist, keep reading as we go through the steps of how to sell artwork online.
Any successful project starts with a good plan. It is imperative to get yourself organised and have an idea of each step you will need to take along the way. What do you want to sell? What platform should you use to sell your work? How will you market your artworks and find new customers? All of these are essential questions you’ll need to answer to sell your prints online successfully.
What do you want to sell?
Before you can start selling online, you will first need to select the artworks to want to sell. Think about your work and what makes it unique. Do some pieces fit within particular motifs? While you may want to include all of your works, it may be better to sell the pieces that best reflect you as an artist.
Now that you have selected pieces you want to sell, you’ll need to decide on your print specifications:
There are two predominant print types used for fine art prints: giclee and c-type.
Giclée is a style of half-tone printing that sprays tiny drops of ink on specialised paper to reproduce the desired image. Creating sumptuous, bold colours, giclée prints are ideal for colourful artworks. Giclée prints also have exceptional longevity, making them perfect for collectable works or limited editions.
C-type is a printing process that involves exposing silver halide treated paper to light to create an image. C-type printing has roots in photography but is now used to print digital artworks. C-type prints create smooth, tonal colours, perfect for seascapes, sunsets or skin tones. C-type prints are also ideal for those looking to offer larger artworks as they can be printed in sizes up to 182cm x 300cm.
Paper type can make a significant impact on the finish of your artwork. Do you want your work to have a matte finish? Or would you prefer your work with a high-gloss sheen? Will textured paper give your work a tactile quality? The print type you choose will also play a part in determining your paper choice. For example, C-type and giclée need different types of paper. If you are unsure what paper to choose, why not order a sample pack? Our sample packs include all of our paper types to help you decide which paper style will best suit your artwork.
Art prints are a dominant feature in interior design. As such, many customers purchasing prints are doing so with the intention of using them to decorate their home or office. While you may be tempted to make your artwork in a unique size, we recommend offering customers a range of 2-4 standard sizes. Standard sizes will also make framing options easier for you and your customers.
It is important to consider your demographic and where your customers will be shopping. For example, the US and Europe have different measuring standards and paper sizes. If you have a European customer base, list your sizes in centimetres and offer works in A-size. If your customers are based in the US, list your works inches. If you are unsure or have a diverse customer base, use both metric and imperial measurements.
Frames are an essential part of the finished artwork. While some customers may have their own frames, most do not. Having the option to buy the artwork with a frame makes the art purchase that much simpler for your customer. As mentioned previously, we recommend offering standard-sized prints that easily accommodate standard frame sizes.
Select a platform to sell on
Once you have decided what you will sell, it’s time to look into how you will sell your artwork.
Many artists choose to sell their prints on a custom or existing website. This option gives you the most flexibility but is also the most involved. You will have full control over every design and functional aspect of the site as well as any payment and shipment integrations that may be required. If you are a computer wiz with fantastic organisational skills, this may be a great option.
eCommerce websites have made setting up an online shop more accessible than ever. Platforms such as Shopify and Etsy have made it easy to offer secure payments to customers while offering you adaptable design templates, analytics and social media integrations so that even the technologically challenged manage their website with ease.
Many platforms offer dropshipping integrations as well. Here at Beyond Print we have our own app, you can just install the dropshipping app on your eCommerce website such as Woocommerce/Shopify or platforms like Etsy, and the printers will take care of the rest!
Promote your print store
If you want to make the most of selling your artwork online, you’ll need to promote yourself and your online store.
Social media is a powerful tool and a fantastic way to promote your print store. Take high-quality, engaging photographs of your work that will entice viewers. Instagram’s ‘Stories’ provide an excellent opportunity to give an inside look at your studio and process that will encourage interaction with your followers. If you’re looking to extend your audience, consider using Instagram or Facebook Ads. Targeted ads will allow you to engage with new demographics and audiences to sell more prints.
As the saying goes: it’s all about who you know. So spread the word about your new print store to your network of friends, colleagues, and social media followers. Use your network to your advantage by driving traffic to your website and creating buzz about your print store. Word of mouth is a great way to start a loyal, grassroots following. Get in contact with artist communities online and in the real world about your new print store. Some may be happy to list you in their artist directory or mention your print store in their newsletters.