How ecommerce platforms help you sell art online

Creative artists know it only takes one compliment—one “People would pay good money for that”—before you being to wonder if that sentiment might actually be true. Fortunately it’s easier than ever to make your work available for sale, and many of the world’s top ecommerce platforms are eager to help. Here’s the lowdown on a few of them.

SHOPIFY

Shopify isn’t a store, but rather an ecommerce platform that gives you the tools to setup and run your own website and sell directly to your customers. It’s great for independent artists who want have a similar DIY ethos when it comes to running a business.

Other benefits:

  • Numerous free and paid designs built into the platform to make your site unique.
  • Supports third-party plugins to increase efficiency of selling and buying—like apps that automate the creation of shipping labels, for example.
  • Facebook, Amazon and eBay integration, as well as physical point-of-sale solutions to help you sell at art fairs, pop-ups, etc.
  • Robust online guides and free training courses.

Good to know: Some web-design skills and a decent knowledge of shipping best practices are useful here. The former to ensure your e-store is designed and runs optimally; the latter, because shipping is your responsibility.

Fees: Starts at $29 per month. Most third-party apps also charge a fee. And you’ll be charged standard credit card fees on each sale.

AMAZON

The world’s largest online retailer offers sellers unmatched reach, along with familiarity and ease-of-use for your customers.

Other benefits:

  • Setting up an Amazon.ca account automatically lists your work on Amazon’s U.S. and Mexican stores, too.
  • Amazon’s “Handmade” category is designed for producers of one-of-a-kind or small-edition pieces. There’s an application process, but once accepted, your work is listed as unique; buyers can trust that it’s not mass-produced.

Good to know: Your product pages aren’t customizable; they’re Amazon-standard for one and all. You can, however, create an artisan profile tell buyers a bit more about yourself.

Fees: The standard $29 monthly fee is waived for “handmade” sellers. For each piece sold, you pay a per-item fee, as well as a referral fee based on a percentage of the sale. Amazon also offers fulfillment services (they warehouse your work and ship it for you) for a price.

ETSY

The original ecommerce site for independent artists and craftspeople, Etsy has been refining its service for more than a decade—to make selling your work as easy and profitable as possible.

Other benefits:

  • Marketing tools help you promote your work on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest—as well as through targeted email offers and promoted listings.
  • The platform’s seller protection program provides mediation services in the event of a dispute with customer.

Good to know: You can upgrade to a Plus account (or, starting in 2019, a Premium account) to access additional customization for your Etsy storefront, discounts on shipping materials, and other bonuses.

Fees: Instead of a monthly fee, you’re charged $0.20 USD when you list an item in your store. For each sale, Etsy then charges a 5% transaction fee, plus standard credit card fees.

EBAY

What began as an auction site now also offers millions of “buy it now” products—including a trove of vintage and contemporary artworks—for its hundreds of millions of customers worldwide.

Other benefits:

  • The “eBay Labels” service helps streamline shipping: print labels, arrange for carrier pickup, and get discounted shipping rates through UPS and FedEx.
  • Other tools assist with listing uploads, sales tracking, inventory management, etc., while the Seller Centre offers a variety of learning resources.

Good to know: As with Amazon, you can’t customize the design of your listings; you’re married to the site’s somewhat clunky aesthetic. And while eBay’s

Fees: No monthly fee, nor do you pay a listing fee for the first 50 items you post per month. The platform takes a 10% commission on all sales.