Best Place to Sell Art Prints Online – All about where to sell prints online
You are probably ready to get started and wondering where the best place to sell art prints online is – there are a few I would definitely recommend but some I probably wouldn’t waste time with. Each platform is slightly different and your choices will be greatly influenced by how much you want to get involved with the sales – some you can just upload your artwork to and earn commission and others you will have a shop and will be involved with dealing with customer service and the physical production.
Selling Portals – best place to sell art prints online
These are sites which allow you to create a ‘shop’ on their portal (examples include Etsy, Handmade at Amazon, Folksy). They usually take a fee for each sale and some will take a monthy fee and a relisting fee (there are also some other payment fees involved with each one). The benefit of these is that they have massive audiences and the ‘shop part’ i.e. the look and feel, the e-commerce, security etc is all taken care of . The downsides include lack of control over how your shop looks, SEO and search algorithms. I aim to discuss these in a future page but for now here is a quick run down of some of my favourites.
- Etsy – This is where I started selling art prints as the set up is relatively low and your shop is easy to set up. You can opt to sell digital versions of your prints or sell a physical product either produced by yourself or a production partner.
- Handmade at Amazon – Everyone has heard of Amazon (unless you live under a rock!) and the Handmade at Amazon arm is the etsy equivalent on Amazon. Amazon gives you a massive audience so selling here could propel your business very quickly – especially if you sign up to sell on FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon). I find the back end a little trickier to use than etsy and the SEO is a lot less intuitive. However if you persevere with this and get to grips with it you will reap the benefits.
- Folksy – This is a UK equivalent of etsy however I found that after 2016 it just seemed to die a death for me. It’s more expensive to sell on than etsy (the fees on the basic package are higher than on etsy) and in my honest opinion it lacks the audience or back end functionality to justify the higher fees. Also when I used to use folksy the back end was sadly lacking and SEO non existent so as sales dwindled I went looking elsewhere. Who knows I may go back to it if it ever starts being well known but at the moment I don’t find investing any time in it as being time well spent.
- Ebay – I spent about a year selling prints on ebay however I found sales dwindling over my time there; To get sales I had to offer a lower priced product with free packaging and shipping and it just stopped being worth it for me after a while. I also found that the SEO on ebay was very tricky to analyse or improve easily so I just found it wasn’t worth investing my time here.
- Not on the High Street – this is a site open to UK sellers which I have not tried myself as yet. I’ve heard good things however – sales are amazing apparently however there is a joining fee and the fees are also high. This one is on my to-do list!
- Your own website – this is BY FAR the best way to start selling because you own your website which means you have complete control over all aspects of it – how it looks, what your sales process is e.g. processing/shipping times, you don’t get charged every time you change, list, sell something or renew a product. Admittedly it is harder and you have to drive traffic to your site via good SEO and Social Media but if you are just starting out then this is definitely a good place to start. I use shopify for my website and have been very happy with them – my website is very easy to set up and manage and there are an array of free apps which will make life a lot easier. The helpdesk support is also incredibly useful and you can either chat to someone online or via phone – great if you are starting out. You can set your site up easily yourself or there are also lots of Shopify developers which can set your site up for you for a fee. There are also lots of Facebook groups for support and questions which can be invaluable.
These are e-commerce websites where artists upload their artwork. Customers can then buy their artwork as art prints or have it printed on a t-shirt, mug, cushion cover, bag or even phone case. You get paid a percentage of the sale (very often set by you) and the site is responsible for the production/shipping of your item. Obviously because of this the commission you get would be lower than with a selling portal where you are responsible for creation and shipping. I certainly wouldn’t rely on these as my only source of income however they can be good as an extra income stream. There are a few different ones but here are some of my favourites :
- Society 6 – This is a big and popular site and I have not used it to it’s full extent yet! You can get your artwork printed and framed (on canvas, tapestries, murals!), get it printed onto wallpaper, clocks, pillows, furniture, bedding, bathroom accessories, stationery, phone cases, clothing and apparel…the list goes on! It’s certainly worth investigating.
- Redbubble – Redbubble are great and I have sold a few things through them; The way it works is that you apply to Sell Your Art on the site and once you become an artist you can upload the images (JPEG’s) of your work up to the site; You can then choose which items you would like to sell with your artwork printed on e.g. if you have an picture of a dandelion then you may want to print clocks or cushions with this image on but you may not be interested in getting this image printed onto clothes. Once you’ve chosen what you would like to sell you save your settings and that’s it. You can then sell your items yourself through a portal such as etsy or alternatively Redbubble also sell your items in their online store. When you sell something you get an email telling you what you sold and your commission (which you can set yourself); I have sold all manner of items through redbubble – tshirts, stickers, notebooks and cushions.
Physical places – not online but…
Here are some other places – not strictly online but I thought I should include these in here to give you a fuller picture of where you can sell. Some people do make a lot of money selling via physical outlets – and it helps if you have a well known brand!
- Physical shops – There are lots of little local gift shops / craft shops around where your work can be sold. All you need do is pack up your art prints in bulk with a few of each design and ask the shop owner to sell them for you. They will expect a wholesale discount and traditionally this is roughly 50% depending on how many items they take – though obviously you can negotiate here but be aware that the shop will need to make a profit too so you must strike a fine balance.
- Markets / Fairs – If you find a good market/fair with lots of traffic, especially at a busy time of year, then it can be a real money maker! However the opposite is true if you happen to be at one without any customers – you may even walk away having paid more for the stall than you took in sales (and don’t forget the time you spent at the fair!!); For me this is my least favourite way of selling art because it is so hit and miss. It requires a lot of prep and setup as well as a lot of ‘gear’ (I’m thinking stands, frames, a table, tablecloth, boxes, hanging materials). I have been to fairs where I’ve paid £20 for the stall, spent an hour setting up, another hour packing away and 3 hours at the fair and then walked away with £50. I sold a small number of items so ended up earning the equivalent of about £5 per hour which in my book is a waste of my time and energy which could have been better spent designing new products or even posting on social media! I’m sure there is a way to crack these but I have not found it yet and these are not going to be my priority anytime soon…
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