Selling Your Art Online

Sheelah Moloney’s Tips

1. There’s a strong art-buying market out there.
Buyers are much more comfortable buying online than ever before and they like buying directly from the artist.

2. By selling your work online, you have direct links to buyers.
This is really valuable for future sales opportunities.

3. Always ask the buyer to send you a picture of your work in their space.
This makes for a great piece of content you can share on your own digital channels.

4. Consider your web skills, time, and budget.
This will inform your website decision.
If you’re quite web savvy, the open source option could be for you.
(Not to be confused with the blogging site
Out of the box options for the less web savvy include: Wix, Squarespace, Weebly, Showit. Squarespace gives you lot of support as opposed to WordPress which requires you to do a lot yourself.
Squarespace issue a monthly fee which includes hosting and domain as well as a strong level of maintenance. Start on a basic plan because you can always go up or add something in.

There are also e-commerce options including:
– Print on demand sites e.g., redbubble
– Online Art Galleries e.g., Artsy or Saatchi

If you have the budget but not as much time or web skills, hiring a dedicated web person may be the best option for you.
Regularly review your site to make sure it’s working.

5. Do put the prices on your work on the website.
According to Artsy Collector Insights Report 2023, no visible price is one of the biggest hindrances for customers when buying art online.

6. Put your bio, CV, and artist’s statement on your site.
Your artist’s statement tells the story of your work. To help you write this, try thinking of three things you would tell people about your work. Once you’ve finished this, show a friend and see if it resonates with them.
Check in on your bio and CV every six months to ensure they’re up to date.

7. Use your own voice in your web copy.
Keep it simple. Users don’t have time to decipher complex paragraphs.

8. Give people a peek behind the scenes.
Perhaps a timelapse of you creating work. This is great social media or mailing list/blog content.

9. Set up a mailing list.
Share news and updates in a monthly newsletter or blog post.
Direct mails are effective. Share what’s inspiring you.

10. 80% of your mailing list/social media content should not be about sales.
Prioritise what your Followers will be interested in. Help them understand you and your process. This will help them connect with your work.

11. A person has to give you express consent to be added to your mailing list.
You can’t just grab somebody’s email address and add it to the mailing list.
You must be GDPR compliant.

12. Plan out your annual system for selling your work.
Consider how much work you produce a year. How much does packing, shipping, and sales processing cost?
Define what are the most efficient pieces to process and what’s most appealing to your audience. Perhaps you end up selling your smaller pieces online because they’re cheaper to ship.

13. When people buy art, it’s personal and it’s a luxury.
Invest in strong packaging to ensure your work gets to your buyer safely and that it looks neat. Make sure edges are clear, there are no smudges or dents on frames; these often can get damaged in storage.
Include a handwritten note to make the piece extra special when the customer opens the package.

14. Have a functional plan for local and international customers.
Ensure sensible lead in times. Give yourself plenty of time to package, label, and send out rather than being under pressure to move on a sale when it comes in.

15. Review your process regularly.
Be sure that it generates income for you. If it’s not, change it. Don’t assume that the process is working all the time. Test it regularly.

16. Make sure the collection of work on sale is fresh.
You don’t want the same work sitting on your site for months and months on end. Don’t put everything up at once. Perhaps release 3-4 new pieces every month.

17. Ask a friend to visit your website as a user.
Sometimes you can get so close to a design so it’s hard to see where the holes are. A new pair of eyes can help with this.

18. Don’t sell via direct message on Instagram.
Nobody’s protected there; neither you nor the buyer are protected by the rules of e-commerce.

19. Ensure you know what the rules and regulations are.
Know consumer law and what applies to you. Have a returns policy. is a good resource for consumer law information.

20. If you run a site, you need a privacy policy and cookies policy.
There are templates out there available. Uphold the regulation from the very beginning. Employing someone to write these policies for you is strongly recommended.

21. Consider these e-commerce options for your site:
– Woo commerce
– Shopify
– Paypal or Stripe are good payment gateways.

22. Have a stock taking plan.
Keep track of what was for sale, what sold, and who purchased it.

23. Have a system to get reviews and contact details.

24. Consider the below hierarchy.
– Important people: your social media followers
– VIPs: people on your mailing list. These people have gone a step further.
– V,VIPs: People who visit your site to buy your product. They’ll either buy again or will likely recommend you. Customers who part with their hard-earned money are important to you. Serve them well from the very beginning and they’ll serve you.

25. Selling to the UK is a more complicated process.
You need to define whether you or the buyer are responsible for the duty and UK VAT. Make who pays that very clear from the start.

You’ll need a Taric code; this is the same for art and antiques.
You’ll need a EROI number; this is something you receive when you register
with or ros.

26. Always sign your work.
Artists tend to forget this. You might have to get it sent back to sign it which is hassle you can do without.

27. You can have sold artwork on your website.
This proves that people are buying your work, just don’t have too many. No more than 2-3 pieces marked SOLD at any one time.

28. Never ship anything you haven’t received payment on.
Don’t fall for somebody saying they’ll pay cash on delivery or in installments.
Make sure the money is in the bank for 24 hours before shipping. There are scammers out there.

29. Celebrate art sales.
They are difficult and worth celebrating when they happen.

Sheelah Moloney is Director of