Tips for Launching an Art E-Commerce Business

Many artists love creating art but want more than just personal satisfaction from it. They want to see if they can make a business out of their creative talents.

And despite the common stereotype of the starving artist, there is plenty of money to be made in this market — the art market generated approximately 68 billion dollars last year. Although the type of business may vary, many artists are finding e-commerce businesses to be especially convenient and profitable. But it’s not always an easy process.

Launching an e-commerce business could be one of the best things for your career as an artist. Let’s explore why and what the best practices are for starting a successful art e-commerce business.

Why Launching an E-Commerce Business Is a Smart Move for Artists

A brick-and-mortar business for your art isn’t a bad idea. People get to experience it in person and you can bring a good amount of foot traffic if you choose the right location and market it well.

But a brick-and-mortar business comes with significant upfront costs. For example, you’ll have to pay monthly building expenses like rent and utilities. You’ll also have to stock your store and maintain an efficient shipping process.

An e-commerce art business is a better option for emerging artists, in particular, because it’s cost-effective. If you decide to sell digital art and print-on-demand products, the only upfront costs you’ll have are your website design and host fees if you create your own website. You might get away even cheaper with an online marketplace like Etsy.

Another reason to embrace e-commerce is that it gives you access to a broader audience. You aren’t limited to the people near your physical store. If you set your e-commerce business up correctly you cannot just market to a worldwide audience, but ship your products to them seamlessly.

How To Start an Art E-commerce Business

If you think you’re ready to start an e-commerce art business, the key is approaching the process with the proper strategy. The art market is highly competitive. So, you must ensure you start off doing all the right things so that your business is on track to stand out.

Create a Business Plan

To take your art from a hobby to a profitable venture, you need to treat it like a business. One of the most important steps in transitioning from a hobby to a business is creating a thorough business plan.

While many artists skip this step when launching their companies, you shouldn’t. A business plan helps you lay out the logistics of your company, like what your business name, model, and structure are. It also helps you define other critical business details, such as:

  • Who your competitors are;
  • What your financial projections are;
  • Who else is involved in your business;
  • How you plan to market your products;
  • Who the customers are for your products;
  • Your company’s vision and mission statement;
  • What your one-time and ongoing expenses are;
  • If there’s a place for your business in the art market;
  • What kind of funding you’ll need to launch your business;
  • Whether you’ll sell your art on your own website, online marketplaces, or both.

A traditional business plan will take longer to craft. But it’s comprehensive. This is what you need as an emerging artist starting an e-commerce business because it’s a stronger guide for the creation of your company.

Build your brand

Not only is the art market competitive, but so is the e-commerce industry. You need to establish an e-commerce business that stands out in this highly competitive business landscape. That’s where branding can be impactful.

A distinctive brand is more likely to stand out than a brand that copies already successful artists. You want your visuals, voice, and brand story to be unique to you to separate you from everything else out there.

Being consistent in your branding across all of your marketing channels will help people start to recognize you based on your logo, slogan, brand colors, personality, and all else that comprises your brand. 

As a result, your brand awareness will increase, you’ll start building a loyal following, and online sales will become more constant.

Your art business’s brand should reflect you as an artist. But it should also be mindful of who your ideal customers are and what they would be attracted to.

For example, you may love bold colors but your audience would be more attracted to a simple color scheme. To accommodate both tastes, you could incorporate a slight pop of color in your palette while the rest of your brand colors are neutral.

Create a brand that balances your preferences as an artist and what your audience would resonate with.

Design a detailed marketing strategy

Many artists dread marketing because it takes almost as much effort and time as making art does. But your e-commerce business can’t survive without a solid marketing strategy.

You need to get your brand out there, connect with customers, and promote your art products. You also need to build excitement about the launch of your business to go into it with a good amount of momentum.

Make sure you know who your ideal customers are. Then, tailor your entire strategy to them, including what marketing channels you use, the kind of content you create, and your overall marketing and platform-specific goals. 

Launching an e-commerce art business isn’t for the faint-hearted. But if you can pull it off, you’ll reach a larger audience, save a ton on business expenses, and monetize your passion. Use the tips above to conquer the beginning stages of establishing a successful e-commerce art business.

Katie Brenneman is a passionate writer writing on a variety of topics. When she isn’t writing, you can find her with her nose buried in a book or hiking with her dog, Charlie. You can connect with Katie on X.

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