The Shopify marketplace, with its versatile e-commerce platform and versatile range of Shopify theme options, is a great place for the small business owner to set up shop. Plus, there’s money in Shopify.
Statistics show that the arts market is growing all the time, from $441 billion in 2022 to nearly $580 billion in 2023, at a compound annual growth rate of more than 31 percent.
The takeaway: It’s never been a better time to learn how to sell art online.
There are many places to sell art, of course, from Amazon to Etsy to eBay. But Shopify, which has more than 8,000 apps to help you customize your online storefront, is one of the best.
If you want to sell art on your Shopify store successfully, build a beautiful art gallery, and make a significant income, it pays to learn how – which is what we’re here to talk about today. Let’s discuss the types of art to feature, nine strategies to enhance your Shopify marketing, approach, and how to customize your listings for maximum results today.
Ready to shine a light on your amazing art? Read on.
Look online, and you’ll find nearly endless art formats – all of which are great small business opportunities. Whether you’re a hobbyist photographer offering high-res prints, or a curator of the highest-quality paintings, Shopify is a fantastic foundation for your online art store.
That said, selling art online isn’t about choosing the “right” commodity because there’s a market for everything, from custom t-shirts to quirky statement jewelry to high-end sculptures. It’s more about making sure your individual style and products get a chance to shine.
That’s what we’ll discuss next.
There are many actions an online business owner can take when selling art, and sometimes it’s difficult to choose between them. From building up your email presence to deciding between noting “commissions open!” or “commissions closed” on your social media profile, it’s a lot to consider at the best of times.
Instead of stressing, read through the following strategies for how to sell art on Shopify, then start with one or two. Over time, with steady effort, your ability to run your online store will grow naturally.
Many online shop owners choose to offer custom art on their commerce platforms. This allows shoppers to enjoy your style while getting something personalized to them or a loved one. From pet portraits to home portraits, acrylic tabletops to acrylic bookmarks, customization is a fabulous way to build up a thriving art business in your online shop.
You don’t have to make custom pieces, either. If you prefer, you can instead sell art on Shopify in a customized way through listing options: framing, print sizes, and colorways (a.k.a. color variants) of a product. Using a Shopify app for customization and options can help you do this.
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is how a listing geared toward humans is tailored to appeal to search engines. Make sure your sales channels include the right keywords, include metadata, and use clear headings that convey exactly what your product is.
Shopify offers plenty of SEO apps, so do a search and install a plugin if you aren’t sure how to proceed. Many of these also include page speed boosters and image optimizers, the latter of which we’ll discuss next.
Online art shopping requires high-quality images so that potential shoppers can see every detail. High-quality visual collateral is the best way to convince people that your products are worth buying – as opposed to the many similar ones out there.
Thus, spend time taking good photos. Invest in overhead lamps or photo boxes if you don’t have a good source of natural light. If you have the natural skill, you can take great pictures with a phone ... but otherwise, investing in professional product photography may be a worthwhile solution.
It’s important to keep your online shop fresh. Listings get stale, and you need to keep your store updated to keep buyers engaged and bring new buyers in the door.
Alongside new listings (or older ones that you’re highlighting once more), it’s also helpful to use an app that promotes “frequently bought together” or “customers also liked” recommendations. Featuring new products alongside crowd favorites right on your homepage is great for generating instant interest.
They say, “If you build it, they will come.” But that’s only true if you use a strategic marketing plan.
The fact is, online store owners have a lot of competition, and you need to actively convince people to go to your site. A strong marketing plan may include goals for email marketing, ad campaigns, upselling and cross-selling, working with social media influencers, participating in in-person art events, and so forth.
Never forget the power of social media platforms, either. You can use these for free with organic content, or pay for ads to reach a wider audience. Whatever you do, use a a 4-to-1 ratio of consumable content vs. sales content, so your followers don’t find your social presence to be overwhelmingly “salesy.”
Pricing is difficult for most artists. You love what you do and you want art to be accessible. At the same time, your supplies aren’t exactly affordable and you have to make a living ... and the price point must reflect that.
In order to set prices that your customers find acceptable, make sure to convince buyers of the value of your art. What’s special about it? Is it limited? Is it upcycled? Does it have multiple functions?
When setting pricing for your art, tools like Per Option Upcharge Pricing enable buyers to only buy the base product—like a rolled canvas painting—or add on as many or as few upcharge items as they’d like, such as mats, frames, artist’s signatures, or anything else you can think of.
When selling art prints, print-on-demand is your best friend. It can dramatically increase your e-commerce store functionality without increasing the workaday burden on you. These services allow you to list prints in multiple sizes, finishes, and styles on your own website, but fulfill them through someone else. That means you don’t have to maintain the hardware yourself or commit to huge print runs and store them until they sell.
This is a cost savings for any online business owner, and it rounds out your online gallery nicely. If you want to increase your ability to sell art on Shopify, this is a great way to go.
No one likes to feel wrongfooted. The problem is, actual or potential buyers may feel that way if they don’t understand your online store policies. And simply having policies isn’t enough—you have to make sure they’re clearly stated.
It’s helpful for download instructions or shipping policies to be provided on each listing page, or if not there, then on the cart checkout page. If your customers can select a preferred a delivery timeline, be sure that your internal shipping processes can accommodate. This is definitely a case where you want to underpromise and over-deliver ... or, you know, deliver on time.
We all know the feeling of heading to checkout, only experience some kind of credit card glitch or payment gateway issue. Poor user experiences at point of sale are one of the biggest reasons shoppers abandon their carts. Don’t let it happen on your site!
Make sure your checkout process is as seamless as possible by providing an easy way to get to the cart (from your store) and from the cart (to keep shopping). Wrap shipping costs into the product as much as you can to avoid sticker shock upon checkout.
Consider which online payment systems you’ll accept, like PayPal, Square, Google Pay, Shopify Payments, and others. The more options you accept, the more barriers you break down for buyers. Just know that you’ll be charged transaction fees from each sale, so be sure to recapture that cost as part of your pricing efforts.
If you want to sell art on Shopify and see major results, the nine steps above are a great place to start. Equally important: making sure your storefront is loaded with items that meet your shoppers’ tastes. That means they must be customizable.
Why? Because customizable products generally earn more sales. Your buyers will love being able to customize every last detail of the art they’re buying from you.
But there’s another benefit, and that’s the freedom from managing hundreds or thousands of product listings in your Shopify store. With a customization tool like Product Options & Customizer, you can offer unlimited customizations to each core product you offer. This means you can manage one listing for sculptures, one for paintings, one for mixed media, and so on. Within each of those product types, simply set customization options for size, color, theme, etc.
That’s not to say every last item in your shop needs to have fifty options per listing. We simply mean that the more options you can create for buyers, the more time they’ll spend on your page and the less chance you’ll take of them heading to a competitor instead.
Sound too good to be true? It’s not. Head to the Shopify app store and make it happen on your own site with a free trial today.