by Rodney Laws, Guest Blogger - Global e-retail sales totalled $2.8 trillion in 2018, with most of that money spent via online stores. The economics behind online selling is so powerful that even industries that have traditionally made most of their sales face-to-face via physical stores cannot afford to ignore the appeal.
Although many artists make a living from selling their work in galleries, there are so many benefits to selling art online that make opening an online store a serious consideration.
From being less expensive than selling your artwork in a gallery to providing a place for you to exhibit every piece of art you make, read on for three powerful reasons why you should sell your art online.
1. It is less expensive to sell your art online than in a gallery
It is really simple – the purpose of an online store is to sell things (the hint is in the name), so the most obvious way artists can benefit from opening one is to sell their art. But it is not just that an online store makes it easier to sell, it is also less expensive than selling your artwork in a gallery.
Although “bricks and mortar” galleries always have and will serve an important purpose in the art market, they charge a commission for letting you sell your art in their premises. This is even true of places like cafes, restaurants, bars, and pubs. You may also need to pay a rental fee to secure a residency. This is not the case for artists who well their work via their online stores.
The only fee you need to sell your art on an online store is a monthly subscription fee. WooCommerce, Magento, Shopify are all popular store builders and how much you pay depends on which provider you choose. For instance, if you create an online store with Shopify, you will pay a flat monthly fee of $29. This means that instead of paying a commission to a gallery, you can make one payment a month and keep all the proceeds from your sales.
2. It is easier for people to find & buy your artwork when it is online
One of the major upsides of selling your art in a gallery is that you can lean on its reputation and location to increase the chances of people buying it. But the downside of using a gallery is that people have to travel to it to buy your artwork. Selling your artwork online makes it easier for people, worldwide, to find it and buy it.
Online stores are designed to make it simple for people to find them. How? By being made with an eye on keeping Google and the other search engines happy.
Online stores do this by coming with their own hosting services, ensuring the site runs faster and increasing the chances of it ranking well on Google.
They also come with built-in SEO optimization features. What does this mean? That your online store will give you a preview of how all the pages for selling your artwork appear in search results. This allows you to make sure that all the information is correctly displayed, making it easier for Google to put your artwork in the correct search results and simpler for your customers to find it.
You can take this a step further by adding an SEO plugin or app to your online store. One of the best you can opt for is Yoast. This is perfect for artists because it gives you the ability to optimize your images (among many other facets of your online store). This will improve the chances of your art ranking well in search engines and being found by potential customers.
3. You can exhibit & market every single piece of art you make
While the main reason for you to open an online store is to sell your artwork, that’s far from the only benefit you get. By launching an online store you are able to exhibit and market every piece of art that you make.
One of the brilliant features of an online store is that they often come with in-built marketing facilities. Once you have added pages to exhibit each of your art pieces, you can create a marketing campaign to let people know about them. Some of the built-in marketing features you can expect from your online store include:
While the use of these features is free, you will need to pay for your ad campaigns. However, you can often increase your budget gradually so you do not need to pay more than you can afford.
Your online store will also come with a range of free apps or plugins that you can download. These give you an even greater range of marketing options, allowing you to reach more people and to do so in the ways that are most likely to catch their attention.
One great example of a plugin you can add to your online store to help your marketing efforts is Mailchimp. It is renowned as the finest email-marketing tool on the market and the free version comes with a huge range of features you can experiment using without any investment.
While I have picked three of the most powerful benefits that artists can get from opening an online store, they are far from the only ones.
There is also the fact you can use customer data to create more engaging artwork, and that they are more environmentally friendly than a “bricks and mortar” gallery.
However, that does not mean you should take everything to do with your art online. You can connect with fans of your work by using in-person experiences, such as participating in art competitions and exhibitions (both online and offline), placing an advert at an art market and opening-up your studio to the public.
Recommended reading: 10 of the Best Sales Tips for Successful Artists
Also, check out this great YouTube video for some tips on how you can build an online store and then start to reap the benefits of selling on yours.
Rodney Laws is an ecommerce expert with over a decade of experience in building online businesses. Check out his reviews on EcommercePlatforms.io and you’ll find practical tips that you can use to build the best online store for your business. Connect with him on Twitter @EcomPlatformsio.