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I am looking for an online space to sell my artwork. How should I handle e-commerce?

I know there are a lot of third party websites out there that I can sell my art through, but is it worthwhile building an e-commerce function into my website itself? What are the pros & cons?

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Hi Zoe

It is definitely worthwhile adding ecommerce feature to your site. As your name will become popular in the art world, selling through your site will become more profitable.

• You will not have to pay fee to third party site to sell your art.
• Admirers of your art will get the guarantee of original artwork
• You will have to make a small one-time investment in adding ecommerce feature
Here is a link where you can get an idea about cost of ecommerce addition (http://www.fatbit.com/website-design-company/affordable-ecommerce-packages.html). Hope my answer helps


Hi Zoe,
I would say it depends on a couple of things:
- Can you drive traffic to your site, so that offering an ecommerce solution to your visitors is justified by the number of visits to the site?
- Do you sell on 3rd-party platforms in sufficient numbers that building something on your own site would make sense financially?
- There are basic shopping carts that can be pllugged in on your site without incurring much expense: Paypal, for instance, acts as the shopping cart and you only have to drop a button on your site to get people to pay directly on Paypal. Another payment gateway, Authorize.net, give you the possibility to add a BUY NOW button to your site and use their payment interface as a simple shopping cart. Either way, these payment processors offer you simple solutions to get people to buy from your website without entailing the cost of building an ecommerce site. You just have to be able to install the payment buttons on your site and follow their instructions to set up an account with them.
- Another fundamental aspect of the solutions you put into place is: how do you get the identities of your buyers and collect the personal information (first &é last names, email addresses, possibly their phone numbers) of your buyers to establish a direct rapport with them and market to them in the future. 3rd-party sites sometimes fall short in this department because their interest is to keep the customers "captive" to their systems. So they don't allow you to collect the data necessary to "build your list" -- which is really what you want to do.
So the complete answer to your question is articulated around (1) traffic numbers, (2) your basic technical capabilities or ability to front the cost of hiring a webmaster to install the simplest payment solutions, and (3) building your list whether directly from your site or through 3rd-party sites.
I hope this gives you helpful pointers.

Anonymous User


Fortunately we have some great options now a days. I know eCommerce solutions in-and-out so I am able to advise with experience.

For selling artwork, you need a website that brings your art alive to your audience. You can not display art as we display small uninspiring product images on amazon. Your brand needs to reflect your artwork and maintain its asthetics and present it boldly, giving immersive experience to your prospective buyer.

I would recommend Shopify. It is a great eCommerce platform and you can get a standard theme branded for your business, which represents your artwork using neutral colours yet avoids usual run of the mill online store looks.

Site must be responsive so that all screen sizes can get the right experience.

If eCommerce is not what you may choose to go for, you can also get a simple portfolio site built. I can explore this for you and give you all the initial information sets (FREE :)

I am passionate about online world and internet can share modern small businesses - so please feel free to contact me if you feel comfortable.

Before I forget, little off response... There are good online galleries, which are visited more often. Look at Behance. You may explore that too. Advantage of using an established platform is that you don't have to market your site. Also, look at sites such as http://www.modernartbuyer.com/ where artists can show-case and sell their art-work. This site is run by my ex-colleague and I don't mind introducing you to her so that you can have your conversation directly.



The first question you should address is whether or not you can mount a marketing effort that brings enough traffic to justify building an e-commerce site. That's a whole 'nother issue, but let's assume the answer is "yes" so we can get to the question you asked.

No matter which platform, e-commerce is always more challenging than you expect. Let's assume you build a WordPress site. There are literally dozens of e-commerce/shopping cart plugins, and they all require configuration: shipping, product variations, connection to a transaction service (paypal or stripe or authorize.net, for examples), etc.

If you're inexperienced with these things, you will be way ahead of the game if you hire an experienced pro. Most e-commerce sites started by inexperienced folks are never completed and launched. You might be an exception, or you might have more experience than your question leads me to expect.

If you do build it yourself, you will definitely have more control than if you use a third-party art sales site; along with a lot more responsibility for making it work.

Good luck.


Hello Zoe,

You can look at a product like SquareSpace, Shopify, etc. I know people that use those products and have good luck, they are also web/tech savvy and can keep their site content updated, etc. If you are looking for another solution, I build e-commerce sites using Wordpress and the Woo-Commerce plugins. In fact, I am working on a site now http://bmackenziephotography.com that uses the mentioned technologies. I would be interested in talking with you more. If you would like to login to the site and get a feel for what it looks like and how it works, let me know and I can create an account for you (the site isn't live yet).


A lot of good information has been placed in the comments already. If wanting to self host the items shopify, ecwid offer self created sites when you pay for the service that offer not a whole lot of customization unless you are aware of coding and can stylize the CSS/html, but both offer code to add a widget into your site that would work for hosting. Both services also offer payment processing, gallery input, and order tracking/shipping. Wordpress would be another idea as you could use pre built plugins to add functionality for sales, galleries, videos and offer a blog/content management solution. for you to stay up to date with and keep customers coming back for content beyond the initial purchase i.e.. when paining or whatever you can follow along with the art so that people are involved with your process for conception to completion. Also you can presell pieces etc.


Ms. Brown, only you can prevent, no sales... Why pay someone else to promote your work, 1) Buy a domain name such as Zoe's Art, 2) build your own or have it built for you; a website strictly for sales, blog about your passion showcase your work, you cut the stone into your own craftsmanship in Branding yourself and selling your products. With the help of a descent programer
e-commerce becomes quite simple, and our profits stay yours.


Greetings Zoe,

1. Yes, worthy as long as you can control every process for you as well as for the (your) customer.

2.1 Pros, You get to manage and control your virtual store, depending on the solution you are considering, it can be an easy cake.
2.2 Cons, If you don't get to control a payment method, getting pay or driving the users to buy something can be uncomfortable.

These things can be manage, with solutions like Paypal, or your own merchant, to help make the process automatically, of course, depending on the solution you are considering.

Hope this helps, cheers!

Anonymous User

Hi Zoe,

I would suggest to build a eCommerce functionality into your website and then get some SEO done to attract traffice. In case you are into something niche, this can be much better solution than putting your art on third party websites.

A website of your own would help to build a more loyal customer base as in your field client tend to visit the same seller repeatedly. It will also help to build a brand in the long run which can lead more sustainability in business.
In addition you can also take feedback from customers and improve on the entire online shopping experience.

Using the various ecommerce software available, the online shop can be built at very reasonable rate.
We recently did something similar for an art gallery in London and they seem very happy with results.

They were into African art ans with some SEO, we were able to place them at top of Google results which brought buyers.

Let me know in you are interested to get ecommerce built in and SEO after that.


Anonymous User

Dear Zoe,

for me it looks like a huge business opportunity. I would try to analyse the situation step be step as follows. With this 10 points constantly in your mind you should have everything you need. Focus and even try weired combinations. Don´t be afraid. No fear. Dare to fail. No problem. #9

#1 Have a close look at the still existing sites e.g. examine and compare LinkedIn (=LI) and its German clone XING (=V). Transfer.
#2 Look at the features available lots will be similar, but some rather small ones (but they might be really decisive for certain members) might be different e.g. at LI you can write mails to all your partners and send them away at once while at V there is no such function yet. The small things are important!!!
#3 Don´t be too fast with your conclusions e.g. one might think what the f.... is XING. Who is using it? Believe me or not there a lots of real HIGH class contacts on XING that you can´t find on LI. And the other way round.
#4 Think once, think twice (if necessary start a process in the backyard of your mind) e.g. who are there people who do business in Europe and the Americas incl. the states? Could there be any people out there with a similar need and what might they be like. Maybe just a small number but because they really need this feature for business with their TG, they might be willing to pay for that. Built a site exactly offering that feature, its your killer app/ USP. Combine LI and V e. g. why am I on mosaic??? Think.
#5 Use some math and don´t be to greedy at the beginning e.g. say there are 10.000 people who might pay 5 bucks/ month for that feature (I certainly would pay lots more, but ok I am not the average) then its round about 600 k gross revenue per year. OK PIMCO wont give you a call for that but someone will. Sure.
#6 Probably the most important one: kill your ego. Talk to and with everyone. Give and help. Connect always. You will get it back twice. Try this just for one week/ one day. It works. Believe.
#7 Do not hurry, go slow. Enjoy. Stop watch and learn. Relax. And talk. Be interested. Listen. And give advise if you can. Things will happen like magic.
#8 Don´t let you bring down by those who think they know everyth. yet. Keep on learning.
Combine e.g. with #4. Example: I read today some crap about analytic-ninjas and analytic-squirrels. Ignoring #1 til #6 they were mocking bout squirrels. Where I work (its on the 5th floor) we have squirrels climbing on the roof top. When we are not opening the windows (ignoring #6) it says f--- you all and jumps over a 6m gap into a tree. Just awesome. Real hardcore. People like Gonz or Michi A./ Terje would surely love that. Absolutely.
#9 L;augh about yourself/ have humour/ entertain and learn to say NO!! e.g. check horsefeathers. Ask. Is there any translation?? Any suggestions?? My colleague told me: hey you must help the squirrel and I told her: What shall I do. You can do sth. Yourself for example sew him a parachute!! Understood?? If not ask. Its not Zen her.
#10 Go out/ have fun/ party
#11 be flexible, f--- perfectionism, be pragmatic

Ok because I have a real close friend Narda from La Paz shes an artist and has probably the same problems than you, in explicit words: I´would create an basic LI and V account and contact a guy with my name. I would contact him just saying Hi heres Zoe. No fear. If hes cool he will offer some, else he is ignoring #6 #7 and you should ignore him. There will be others maybe in his contacts. Contact his contacts. No fear. Be the devil in disguise and act intelligent. It’s a little bit like poker. Contact them but only the interesting ones. Be cool, intelligent, tell the truth but in a special way sth. Like Hey Im Zoe you’re a friend of AS his not answering but I really need a contact to Narda Z. because I want to talk to her and so on… the cool cats will help. They will.
In case there should remain things unclear do not hesitate and contact me.
Show them what you got.
Lady please start your engine 11, 10, 9, 3, 2, 1, and ignition ………. Draw the moon yourself I need a cigarette. we meet somewhere un abrazo as


Hey Zoe,

If you can easily find the niche websites that do sell/promote the artwork in the geography you're looking to market to, go sell via them, else you will need to setup your own ecommerce shop. Its fairly straight forward and can be sophisticated based on how you want to go with it. It can be as easy as setting it up on top of wordpress (I assume you're familiar with wordpress).

Having your own ecommerce shop will have advantages in terms of control, flexibility in the way you want to handle orders and processing, the kind of reports you want, payment gateway.

I've helped several startups and businesses build their web application and portal. With over 11 years of expertise in providing custom web development service, consultation and a highly competitive pricing, I remain the preferred consultant for my clients. Lets have a chat and find out if I'm the right fit for your job.


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