What Buyers Look For When Buying Art Online

What Buyers Look For When Buying Art Online | Art-Res

Learn how to sell art by considering the perspective of your buyer with this article by Sophia Garrod.

People make art for many reasons. There is no doubt that the primary motivator for almost, if not all, artists is passion for art itself. However, a secondary reason for creating may be to make some income, and it has never been easier for artists to sell their work.

Are online-centric lives and the boom of the e-commerce industry means that you can now not only buy anything online, but also sell pretty much anything. There are many ways you can sell your art online: through general ecommerce platforms like eBay and etsy, specialist art sites such as Ipicasso, or through your own website or social media channels.

In order to be successful, however, it is important to put yourself in the shoes of your customer. In this article, we will outline some of the key things which customers look for when buying art online, to allow you to improve your product development, marketing and sell more of your art.

Style and Subject

Whatever platform you are using to sell your art, it is likely that your customers will find you through some kind of search. If you are selling through some kind of online marketplace or art site, users may filter the site by category or search for keywords. If you want customers to find your website or social media profile, they are likely to do so through a Google search.

The two most common things customers search for when looking to buy art are style or subject. Buyer are most likely looking for a particular style – impressionist, modern, art deco and so on – or a piece of a certain subject, whether it is artic landscapes, dancers, Tuscany, or something else.

This means that you will want to make sure that you use the appropriate keywords in your product titles and descriptions, or on your website text, and that you are careful to select all relevant categories if selling through a platform where customers can filter by category. If you want to be truly business-savvy, you may consider creating styles and/or subjects which are most popular and most likely to sell. Of course, it is important to balance this with your interests – trying to push yourself to create something you are not passionate about is unlikely to be successful.


When buying anything, price is inevitably a key consideration. Setting the right price for your product is crucial: too high and you may not make sales, too low and you could selling yourself short and limiting the profits you could be making.

Knowing the right price to charge is not easy. You need to consider a few things: firstly, your own costs, including your own time and costs associated with selling and marketing your art online. Your sell price needs to be high enough to make it worth your while after all costs have been considered. You also need to consider how much your customers will be willing to pay. Competitor research will help you to work this out: look at your competitors, particularly the successful ones who are making good sales volumes. How much are they charging for similar works?

Shipping, Insurance and Certifications

marketing your art

Another major concern for buyers is logistics, or more specifically, managing shipping,handling, and insurance. One thing buyers will look for is shipping and handling costs so make sure you have these clearly listed.

This is also important for you as the seller: you do not want shipping to eat into your profit margin so make sure you have researched costs and charge and advertise them separately. For artwork, handling and insurance is also important: buyers want to be assured that their new piece of art will arrive in one piece.

Use shipping companies which specialise in art for larger and fragile pieces, and always specify handling and insurance on your listing. If selling original works of art, they should be also accompanied by a certificate of authenticity, so it is a good idea to mention this on your listing also.

Online and Social Media Presence

Social media impacts on the decisions consumers make in terms of the clothes they buy, the holidays they take and even the art they buy. People are more likely than ever to make purchasing decisions based on what they see on social media.

As an artist, setting up business social media accounts (or using your existing ones) can be a great way to promote your art. Many users follow artists, especially on Instagram, to get inspiration, and this can be very effective in building your following. The more followers you have, the more potential customers to buy your art!

Being successful in selling art online requires some skill and knowledge, however through a little time and research you will find it relatively easy to sell your work to a whole new customer base!

Further Reading

Also consider reading How to create a portfolio & market your art / community tested social media tips