56 – Where To Sell Art Online In 2021

Where Are The Best Places To Sell Art Online In 2021?

Today I want revisit a post I originally created in July 2019 about where to sell art online. I want to bring it up to date for you and restructure it a little as there are so many things to think about! It gained lots of attention originally and I am sure will again with the update.

So where do you start? The number of options can be quiet overwhelming when you are starting off. There are options like – website, Etsy, Folksy, Numonday, ArtPal, Fine Art America, ArtFinder, Saatchi, Society 6 and many more. Choosing what suits you will depend on many things.

Consider what you want to sell and what price bracket you are aiming at. Think about what kind of audience and how well you can manage your online selling yourself. Consider whether you are emerging or established and so on. 

Website

I am a firm believer in taking control of your platform when deciding where to sell art online. You can host your shop on Etsy, Folksy and many more 3rd party ‘rented’ platforms. On there, however, you are constrained by how that platform works, its rules, regulations, structure, audience and so on. That platform could crash any day. It could change its rules (remember the big Facebook changes). It might not let you present your work how you want to. Your audience could migrate elsewhere. 

If you host your online shop on your own website you take full control. You ‘own’ your URL and you ‘own’ the website. You can experiment with your own website until you get it right. The best margins can usually be achieved on your website with direct sales avoiding listing fees and commissions charged elsewhere. 

Your website should be your starting point in creating your online presence as discussed in Day 9 – Create Your First Website. You have to work hard to build it especially to optimise your shop and market it yourself. It does not, however, need to be the only place when deciding where to sell art online. Believing you can reach every customer alone is very naïve, you need lots of help. There are other places that will have a bigger audience and instill more confidence in people than a website they might be coming across for the first time so consider other platforms too.

Consider Other Website Options

Website design might scare you or it might cost you too much to have someone do it for you. If that is the case consider creating a page on your website that simply links to another online shop presence you have. Use your website as a signpost to your other shop(s) such as Etsy, Artfinder or similar. You might find it easier to upload your products and maintain your shop there initially. It’s not ideal but more manageable for many who lack the skills, time or confidence.

Another alternative is to host your shop with another site that allows you to embed your shop within your own website. That can make it a seamless shopping experience there rather than having to go to a 3rd party site.

Art Galleries To Sell Art Online

Whilst many online art galleries used to focus entirely on original artwork and prints many have now extended to include photography, ceramics, jewellery and other forms of craft. Some simply allow you to upload your work and your success will depend on the quality of your work and how well you list it. Others require an application process and are curated which means it may be more difficult to get into it but getting spotted by a curator will really help to promote you.

ArtPal

ArtPal is a popular gallery style website to sell your art, photography, sculpture, ceramics, jewellery and other forms of craft. At time of writing it claims more than 185,000 artists.

Artpal is a low risk option to get your work online. It is more targeted to a US audience perhaps than international with all prices of work shown in US dollars which will limit your international audience. It might appeal if you are just starting out in the US.

artpal to sell art online

Artpal Fees

Artpal offers a free service to artists with no membership and no commission to sell originals directly to customers. It is likely that using Artpal’s free service will attract you to their paid print on demand service.

Artfinder

Founded in 2011 Artfinder is a lot more polished. It is an international selling platform and at time of writing claims to reach an audience of over 500,000 art lovers. It provides an easy to use interface which automatically converts to local currency and allows easy searching of paintings, printmaking, photography and sculpture.

Consider Artfinder like a Gallery with a commission similar or slightly lower than a gallery but with access to a bigger audience. The system also has editors with opportunities to have your art featured and artists are rated which can all help to raise your profile and give you extra visibility. 

Artfinder Fees

starter account in the UK works out at 40% commission plus VAT on sales. This allows up to 30 artworks of which up to 5 can have limited edition prints. A standard account with an unlimited number of artworks but only 10 limited edition prints and 33% commission costs £4+VAT per month. A professional account provides unlimited artworks and unlimited limited edition prints and 33% commission for£10+VAT per month.

As you move up through the accounts more data is exposed to you to help you use the account better as well as more features to make it easier to sell your art.

It’s easy to find well known artists you might know in your region on there. Why not contact them and ask them about the service. Trustpilot give them a 5 star Excellent rating.

Saatchi Art

Established in 2006 Saatchi Art is perhaps one of the biggest online art galleries out there and one to consider when deciding where to sell online. At time of writing it lists over 1.4 million artworks from over 94000 artists in 110 countries. Saatchi Art has over 1 million social followers and over 1 million monthly visitors. It has curators with chances of features and is involved in many international shows and exhibitions.

It might be hard to establish visibility in such a big platform but learn the basics of SEO on your own platform and you raise your chances of getting noticed then establish a relationship with the curator team and it could be a real boost to your career. A well respected platform offering protection for both artists and customers. Paintings, photography, sculpture, drawings, collage. Another 5 star Excellent rating on Trustpilot

Saatchi Art Fees

At Saatchi Art they sell your work online taking a 33% commission (much cheaper than typical bricks and mortar 50% commission) with no other ongoing fees. You package the work and they send a courier to collect it once sold with the customer picking up those charges not you! If you want to sell through galleries you should seriously consider using Saatchi Art as an online Gallery

Singulart

Singulart was only launched in 2017 and has over 50,000 carefully curated artworks from established and emerging artists across over 80 countries. Artists need to apply to be hosted and may need to wait a month for a response. It targets artists who have won national recognition and are seeking international recognition and probably have a string of prizes to their name.

One worth considering to establish some kudos in a curated environment and gain international recognition. Possibly a little elitist here maybe but one to keep an eye on if you are selling art at the higher end. 

Singulart Fees

When I enquired Singulart were unable to divulge any information about commissions, fees etc except to open applications.

Marketplaces To Sell Art Online

Marketplaces tend not to specialise in one particular field they cover a broad range of disciplines. Many tend to focus on a lower end of the market than some of the higher class galleries. They usually have large customer bases. Orders are usually taken on the site but fulfilled directly by the seller.

Etsy

Established in 2005 Etsy is well respected as a platform for selling art and particularly handmade craft products as well as vintage and custom and unique products. It operates worldwide and has a well trusted reputation like many household online brands and therefore should be a main contender when choosing where to sell art online. People feel comfortable buying from there. They may even prefer to buy your work from there rather than your own website. This is often the case if they are in a different country and / or haven’t bought from your before. Etsy is well trusted platform.

Etsy particularly attracts art and craft customers and has lots of experience at attracting that audience. It has lots of help available to market your art and craft and a great community of sellers to network with.

Etsy is a great place to check out your competition who might be selling similar products. It is easy to identify who is doing well and who isn’t. You can focus on people who are doing well and analyse techniques they are using to achieve that on the platform as so much is very visible. 

If you are selling craft Etsy is a must due to its customer base and worldwide reach. It is probably not the best place for high value original art but it will open up another market for smaller prints perhaps. You can then direct people to your website or another platform for you larger works. It might be a good place for new and emerging artists to experiment.

Etsy Fees

Etsy has a reputation with some for charging high fees. At the end of the day galleries in the offline world charge 50% fees and have far less reach than Etsy and provide far less support. Understanding the fee structure and using Etsy to support direct sales and attract new customers really makes sense but can be expensive if you base your whole business around it

Etsy Fees

Etsy currently charges $0.20 per item to list each product for 3 months. There is a transaction charge of 5% on every sale. Sellers are encouraged to sign up to an Etsy Plus plan at $10 per month. This is good value for established sellers as it includes $3pm in free listings and $5pm in Etsy ad credits as well as some extra seller features. New sellers might want to avoid that until they know what they are doing on there to keep costs down.

Etsy ads can help you scale up sales but don’t be tempted by that until you are selling well organically. 15% ads fees on top of everything else can add up so make sure you use that feature well. Remember that PayPal will charge per transaction which is around 3% plus up to another 2% for overseas transactions. Depending on where you are and where you are selling to there might also be sales taxes to think about!

Folksy

Established in 2008 Folksy operates along similar lines to Etsy although sellers have to be based in the UK. Creatives based in the UK should consider adding Folksy to their list of platforms when choosing where to sell art online. Etsy, however, is more established and in my opinion has better features and you do not need to be based in the UK to sell. Consider Folksy as an addition to Etsy for craft if you are in the UK but not instead of. Be careful not to spread yourself too thinly maintaining too many platforms though. You might be better investing your time in bigger sites that can do more for you. Folksy does, however, have a very good support network that should not be under estimated.

Don’t expect the same volume of sales through Folksy. It has a smaller market share than Etsy. If you are making art or craft in the UK, however, it is an extra online audience for you that you should consider, particularly if you are already achieving good results in Etsy. You need to be based in the UK to sell on Folksy. Whilst its biggest market is in the UK it does attract a lot of international customers too.

Folksy Fees

Folksy fees are similar to Etsy at £0.15+VAT to list each item for 4 months. A 6%+VAT transaction fee is then charged on any sales. Sellers can, however, sign up to a Folksy plus account for unlimited listings which costs £5+VAT per month. If you are new to art and craft in the UK there is a great community of like minded people within Folksy. Don’t just consider this just as a platform to maximise sales. Use it to network with other art and crafts people who might be nearby. You can learn from these people about offline matters such as shows and exhibitions as well as online selling.

Like Etsy and other systems remember to factor in PayPal or Stripe transaction fees. Paypal and Stripe both charge a fixed fee of 20p per transaction. In addition Stripe charge 1.4% for European cards and 2.9% for non-European cards. Paypal charge 3.4%.

NuMONDAY

NuMONDAY is a more recent marketplace addition in the UK (2016) for British creatives. Its ethos is to support small UK businesses with an affordable selling platform. It works on a small monthly fee rather than commission or transaction based charges. There are no listing fees and it uses Stripe rather than PayPal keeping payment fees low.

On the face of it this sounds great value. Beware, however, that this is a newer platform with a limited market place. It’s interface is good and there are lots of good reports from buying customers who have used the service. It is still relatively new and small and lacking some of the extras. It does not have an app like the Etsy model provides.

Being small and new, however, it provides a very personal feel if you are in the UK. It is one to watch over the next few years as things develop.

Keep an eye on reviews for this one. Don’t jump into this one first or the chances are you will be disappointed. Learn the ropes in a more established platform like Etsy first. Once you have a working formula that is selling well replicate that in here. You might find an additional audience especially for art, craft, photography and sculpture. There might be better options to try first when your time is limited. 

NuMonday Fees

NuMonday charges a monthly fee 5pm at time of writing) rather than commission or transaction based charges. There are no listing fees and it uses Stripe rather than PayPal keeping payment fees to 1.4% + 20p per sale.

The lower costs might suit handmade businesses with limited production capacity. If you don’t want to increase sales numbers due to manufacturing capacity then this platform could help to keep your costs down and help maximise your profit.

Not On The High Street

Established in 2006 Not On The High Street is another UK based marketplace. It covers both arts and crafts with a focus on handmade and a whole section of other gifts including experiences. What makes Not On The High Street stand out is its reputation for high quality products that are that little bit different to the rest. People know that products have been well sourced and are a little bit special and unique.

Not On The High Street offer around 250,000 original products from over 5000 of the best creative businesses in the UK. Unlike Etsy and other marketplaces you need to apply to join and you will only be accepted if your product is of high quality and ideally that little bit different. This is a very curated website with wide appeal and of high quality and fewer sellers to compete against. 

Not On The High Street Fees

There is a one off joining fee of £199+VAT and then a 25%+VAT commission on all sales. This is much higher than Etsy but sellers do report higher numbers of sales because of the lower number of sellers. Most sellers suggest it is worthwhile.

This platform is definitely worth considering if your product is a little bit special and different. It will be sure to gain attention on there not just from customers but elsewhere! Another joining criteria is that your store must be up and running within 3 months of paying your joining fee or you may get booted off. I imagine this policy helps to maintain the quality ensuring that sellers know what they are doing and are not just starting out and finding their way!

Print On Demand To Sell Art Online

Print on demand services work differently to online galleries and marketplaces. Here the artist submits their artwork digitally. This can then be printed and fulfilled directly by the print on demand service. This can produce much more freedom for the artist who does not need to deal with customers. The artist doesn’t need to produce stock or fulfil orders.

Print on demand means that artists can provide their images on many more products than they could otherwise. It does come with a price though as artists usually receive much less of a margin on the sale price. For artists in other full time employment or full time study, however, it can be a way to start their business without being overwhelmed by orders as they grow it.

Fine Art America / Pixels

Fine Art America is a print on demand fulfillment service. Launched in 2006 it has become one of the most trusted print-on-demand companies for artists, illustrators, designers, and photographers. Don’t be put off by the country in the title here. If you don’t already live in America you should still consider this service when deciding where to sell art online.

Fine Art America sells worldwide and hosts artists from all over the world. It recently introduced a new website called Pixels to give it more worldwide appeal. You will see that the Pixels and Fine Art America sites are linked very closely. You can choose to show your work on both in your account.

Prices are displayed in your local currency. It hosts over 100,000 artists and has shipped over 5 million products. They have great reviews on Trustpilot and are regularly mentioned when I research topics for my blog.

They manufacture in 16 different locations across 5 different countries so orders are sent to the nearest manufacturing site. Prints and framed prints are manufactured to museum quality. They provide great online preview facilities (including 3D and in your home) of all options available before purchase. You can even link your own store area from their site into your own website as well as your Facebook Fan Page and Shopify.

Similarly to Redbubble and Society 6 your artwork can also be made available on a range of other products. Pay attention to quality reviews, however. Fine Art America is constantly praised for its very high quality. It is well worth a look as a 2nd distribution channel. Do consider it as a main distribution channel if you do not want to or are unable to fulfil your orders yourself. There is lots of material to help you with your sales and marketing too!

Fine Art America / Pixels Fees

Because they fulfil the order they set the base price for each product they manufacture. For example, they might charge $50 for a 24″x36″ canvas then you choose the margin to add to that for example $25. They take care of the order, dealing with the buyer, they manufacture and ship it and you then receive $25! How easy is that?

Society 6

Established in 2009 Society 6 provides you with a print on demand service. It represents over 300,000 artists from over 160 countries.

Society 6 allows you to upload your artwork so that it can print and fulfil your orders around the world simply paying you a commission on every sale. You can sell your artwork as prints and posters as well as transfer it onto other merchandise such a phone cases, stickers, t-shirts, coasters, mugs, duvet covers and so much more.

Society 6 Fees

Society 6 do all the fulfilment work and you get a standard 10% on all sales. Artists can set their own markup above the standard 10% on sales of prints, posters and framed work and by linking specifically to products from their own website can earn an extra 10% referral fee for sales they bring to Society 6 directly. 

A service definitely worth considering if you are not able to fulfil your orders directly or if you want to broaden your product range without investing in your own stock, however, I would advise caution here. Trustpilot reviews have not been very complimentary to date with an equal balance of excellent and poor reviews.

Do your research find others using the service and possibly try to get hold of a test product to check quality before you invest in something which is not up to the quality you expect that could ultimate damage your reputation.

Redbubble

Redbubble was founded in 2006 in Melbourne Australia and now works with over 700,000 artists and designers around the world. It is a print on demand service similar to Society 6, however, personal experience suggests it is of a higher quality and this is backed up by independent reviews.

Redbubble allows artists to upload their work then have their deigns printed as artwork on paper or canvas but also many more items such as clothing, stationery, phone and laptop cases, kitchenware, homeware and more. There are over 80 products in total.

The design software is great and the technology lets you see immediate previews of how finished products will look so you can choose which products to include your work on and which not to.

Redbubble Fees

Redbubble does not charge a fee to join or list your work but when you design your products you set the prices. By default Redbubble will set standard prices that it knows the market will take for the products which include a 20% commission by default for you.

You are free to increase (or decrease) the price of the final product in your shop so that Redbubble will get the same amount per sale but your commission will change by how much you increase (or decrease) it. Most artists use the standard 20% commission but you will find many popular artists or ones with very strong designs who have increased their product prices above the standard rates.

You can read a more detailed review of Redbubble in 132 – Why Open A Redbubble Shop.

Conclusion

So lots of opportunities to think about when deciding where to sell art online. Before deciding which platform to use see who is on there already and compare them to you first. Is it a match for your type of product, quality and price bracket? Does it attract your type of audienceHow much does it charge? Will they print and dispatch the product for you or is that your responsibility? What reputation do they have already, check reviews and ask around.

Always start with a website presence that either includes a shop or has clear links to your shop and consider multiple online shops to attract different audiences but better to do one well then several badly! With the current Brexit fiasco here in the UK many people are feeling the pinch as people in the UK tighten their belts and exchange rates drop but selling to an international market a falling exchange rate makes your products much more affordable overseas so get them on that world stage now! 

Choosing where is one small part of developing ‘how’ to marketing your art, craft of photography business online. Dig much deeper and develop a strategy that will work much harder for you on my Simple Art Marketing Academy course.

Have you used any of the platforms above? How did it work out? Have I missed any that you think should be featured when deciding where to sell art online? I would love to hear about your experiences?

Join my mailing list for exclusive content such as my 20 Best Ways To Grow Your Art Following Guide and other special offers.

4 Comments

  1. mandy walden

    a brilliant, very informative post setting out all the details in clear, simple terms. Thank you so much

    Reply
    • Paul Herschell

      Simple terms is my speciality Mandy! Glad you found it useful. Love your work. Your project for painting the coast of the UK sounds an exciting venture once the pandemic behind is behind us. A good time to plan it now though!

      Reply
  2. influencer marketing platform deutschland

    Hmm is anyone else having problems with the images on this blog loading?
    I’m trying to determine if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog.
    Any responses would be greatly appreciated.

    Reply
    • Paul Herschell

      I am not aware of any problems here but if you would like to forward more information including a screenshot I will be happy to help. Is it just this post or any others?

      Reply

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