How to sell art online

Learn tips and tricks that will help you sell art online, and discover the ins and outs of selling art on Amazon.
Art themed lo-fi UI illustration
Selling art is no longer limited to galleries, stores, or local art fairs. The world of online art sales is booming. In 2022, global online sales for art were estimated at $10.8 billion, up from $10.2 billion in 2021. With art making its way from galleries to ecommerce stores, it’s opened up a whole new world of opportunities for artists and curators to reach customers across the globe.

But how do you sell art online? We’ll cover key considerations—like whether you’re going to sell prints or originals, how you’re going to ship, and how you plan to market—to help you effectively turn your creative passions into a business.
art storefront Lucky Numen on Amazon

5 steps for selling art online

Do you want to sell prints online or original sculptures? Do you plan to do custom work or share your work across different products through a print-on-demand partner? These are some of the questions you’ll need to answer to get started. Here are five steps for how to sell art online.

1. Determine what kind of art you want to sell

The type of art you want to sell mostly depends on what kind of artist you are—or if you’re an artist at all. If you plan to sell your own original work, you may have to think about diversifying your approach to keep the sales flowing while you’re creating. But if you’re more of a curator than an artist, you’ll want to make sure you have a steady stream of artwork to sell—and the rights to sell it—whether you’re offering original pieces or prints. Let’s look at each option a little more closely:

Original work

Maybe you make incredible portraits, or perhaps you’re more into abstract paintings, digital collages, or sculpture work. Whatever your medium, you may want to start with a focus—like a specific series of work—as you build out your online store and determine how much you can handle selling.

This is where diversification can come in handy. If you do custom pieces or you sell out of original work and need time to make more, selling prints of your favorite pieces can keep sales coming in. It can also present a more cost-effective way for customers to access your work.

Curated artwork

What if you’re no Picasso, but you have a unique eye for talent? Much like a traditional art gallery, you can create an online store of unique artwork you’ve curated from local artists or throughout your travels. This approach is especially helpful for artists who want to sell their work online, but don’t want to spend time on marketing. As a curator, you help artists get their work out there and take a percentage of the artwork you sell for them.

Of course, you’ll want to make sure you have permission from the artists you want to feature in your store, making arrangements with them to ensure you’re representing their art the way they envision. You’ll also want to decide whether or not you want to sell original pieces or reproductions. If you’re selling reproductions, you’ll need to determine how those works will be recreated for sale.

Did you know?

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Now that you’ve determined which category you fall into, let’s look at different formats for selling your work:
  • Prints and other reproductions: One of the benefits of selling photography or paintings is the option to create prints of select works, and sell prints online along with custom pieces. You can either create the prints yourself or work with a print-on-demand partner. When printing recreations, you handle the process yourself and often have prints ready to go in your inventory. With print-on-demand, items aren’t printed until someone places an order. This eliminates the need to manage inventory or risk of creating too many prints that don’t sell.
  • Products: Putting your art on products like mugs, t-shirts, or tumblers is another way to get your work out there and diversify your offerings to create multiple income streams. But much like the printing option, you’ll need to find the right printing partner to maintain the integrity of your work across multiple products. This is also another area where print-on-demand is an excellent option.
  • Custom work: Whether you want each piece of your art to be one of a kind, or you want to give customers the option to request specific works, offering custom, one-off pieces is a great way to ensure each of your customers gets something special. Just keep in mind you may experience gaps between orders and that you’ll have to create requested works and get them to customers in a timely manner.
art storefront Lucky Numen on Amazon

2. Decide how you want to sell your art

How you sell art online will depend on the kind of art you want to sell. But the good news is, there are plenty of options, which include:

Launch an online store

If you already have an online presence, you may want to explore adding a storefront to your existing website. Determine if the service that manages your website offers a design template that makes it easy to add a storefront. If not, you’ll want to find a designer who has experience building ecommerce stores.

Remember, creating your own online store also means you’ll need to determine how you want to collect payments, manage related costs like taxes and shipping, and handle other related business and administrative duties.

Another option is to create an online store through an established ecommerce website like Amazon. Signing up for an Amazon selling account gives you access to programs and tools to help you launch and manage your online business. If you have a brand enrolled in Amazon Brand Registry, you can easily create an Amazon storefront that offers customers an immersive shopping experience—no coding or design expertise required.

Join an established ecommerce website

Another option is to sell your work through an existing ecommerce site that sells creative works. For example, Amazon Handmade is a maker-only community of sellers from over 80 countries selling their creative works with Amazon. To get started, you’ll need to create a Seller Central account and submit an application. Once you’re accepted, the Professional selling plan fee will be waived. Then you can create your shop and list your products to make them available on the Handmade store.

Work with a print-on-demand partner

Using a print-on-demand service means you don’t have to worry about where to store your art or how to ship it. Those responsibilities fall on the print-on-demand company. You just need to figure out how to digitize your artwork so it can be easily transferred to the products you want to offer.

If you decide the print-on-demand approach is right for you, one option is Amazon Merch on Demand. When you become a content creator with Merch on Demand, your artwork can be printed on graphic tees, accessories, and more. You create the listing price, Amazon handles the printing and shipping, and you rack up royalties while continuing to create. Another opportunity to explore is Merch Collab, where you can work with qualified designers and manufacturers to create branded merchandise. You get to approve the products you want to sell, and promote them to customers. Amazon takes care of the rest.

Remember, not all print-on-demand companies are the same. Some limit their printing capabilities, while others have shipping restrictions depending on the product and destination. Do your research to ensure you’re working with the printing partner that’s right for you.

3. Calculate your pricing

Whether you’re a curator or an artist, you want to make sure to price your work in a way that keeps it competitive and profitable. Artists who manage their own online storefront need to account for creative costs, including materials and time, as well as packing and shipping expenditures. Curators will need to negotiate a fair cut of each sale that ensures it covers their costs, which may include website management and marketing. The key is to figure out your base operational costs, then set a price that covers those costs while also resulting in a profit. Start by doing some competitive research to see how others in your niche price their work. You can also use tools like Amazon’s Automate Pricing to adjust your prices quickly and automatically.

How to register as an Amazon seller

Use our step-by-step guide to create your Amazon selling account. Find out what you need to register, get answers to common questions, and learn what to do after you’ve created an account.

4. Figure out fulfillment

How you fulfill orders will depend largely on what kind of art you’re selling and how you’re selling it. Do you make large or fragile pieces that require special packaging? What kind of storage needs do you have for your products? These are the things you need to think about when you’re creating a fulfillment plan. You may even want to test out some shipping options to see how your art weathers its journey from one place to another. This allows you to adjust your approach before you start shipping to customers to ensure your work arrives in optimal condition.

If you’re selling smaller creations or starting out small as you build your brand, fulfillment may be as easy as setting up some space in your home where you can easily pack your orders, then heading to your local post office where you drop things off to be shipped. As your needs grow, you may want to consider outsourcing fulfillment to a service like Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). With FBA, you send your products into Amazon’s fulfillment network and we pick, pack, and ship orders, as well as handle customer service and returns.

Did you know?

You can spend less and offer fast shipping with FBA

Amazon sellers can use FBA to offer free, two-day shipping to Prime members. Shipping with FBA costs 30% less per unit than standard shipping options offered by major U.S. carriers and 70% less per unit than their premium options comparable to FBA.

5. Market your art

Now that you have everything in place, it’s time to bring customers to your digital doorstep. Some suggestions on how to get the word out:
  • Engage customers online: This could mean launching a blog on your personal site that discusses your inspirations, building a YouTube channel that shows off your artistic process and personality, or establishing your social media presence. Instagram is a great tool for artists that helps you show off your creations as you network and collaborate with others to drive sales.
  • Make your product listings eye catching: Taking high-quality photos and videos of your artwork is especially important when it comes to art to inspire potential customers. With Amazon, you can also use A+ Content to bring your art to life through videos, enhanced images, and more.
  • Try digital advertising: Online advertising can be a great way to attract new customers. Through Amazon you can use pay-per-click advertising solutions like Sponsored Products and Sponsored Brands to help drive more customers to your work.
  • Build an email list: Not only can you get information out about new releases and promotions, you can reward loyal customers with discount codes to keep them shopping.
Check out our guide to ecommerce marketing for more ideas.

Drive online sales for your products

Learn how to get started selling with Amazon.

Make your mark in the online art world

There’s lots to consider when it comes to selling art online. But if you take the time to think through your options and build out your online presence, you can set yourself up for selling success. If you still have questions about how to sell online, read our guide on starting an ecommerce business.

When you’re ready, Amazon is here to help. Whether you want to sign up as a maker on Amazon Handmade, offer print-on-demand creations with Amazon Merch on Demand, or take a more traditional route and build your own storefront as an Amazon seller, Amazon offers tools and resources to help you grow your business—and help your art get into customers’ hands

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I sell digital artwork with Amazon?
You can’t sell digital artwork in the Amazon store, but you can sell your artwork on a variety of products using a print-on-demand service like Amazon Merch on Demand.
Can I sell printables on Amazon?
Yes, you can sell printables on Amazon through Amazon Merch on Demand. You’ll need to create an Amazon Seller Central account to get started. Then you can sign up with Merch on Demand, which lets you print your artwork on graphic tees, accessories, and more. All you have to do is share your artwork, create the listing price, and let Amazon take care of the printing and shipping. You’ll receive royalties from every item sold.
What kind of art sells the most online?
Like most products for sale online, art trends ebb and flow. In general, abstract art tends to do well, as do landscapes and modern art. Prints are also a cost-effective way for art enthusiasts to start building their collections. You can always check out Amazon’s Best Sellers list to get an idea of what people are buying most across multiple categories, or the Movers & Shakers list to see what’s up and coming.
What is the best way to sell art?
The best way to sell art will ultimately depend on what kind of art you want to sell and whether or not you’re the artist or a curator. In recent years, the online art market has exploded in popularity, creating new opportunities for curators and artists alike to reach new customers. To get started selling art online, artists and curators can create their own online store, or they can work with an established site like Amazon to create an online storefront.

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