This is the final in this series of posts looking at and comparing a few of the ways to sell art online.
I want to say a big thank-you to those people who wrote in after last weeks post and shared valuable “tidbits” from their own experience using Etsy. If you’re thinking of trying Etsy for yourself, I urge you to take a look at the comments as well as last weeks post. There are actually two points that were raised about Etsy where my info was out of date or incomplete, so I’ll be posting an addendum on last week’s post to correct these.
This week I’m writing about RedBubble and the option of adding PayPal to your own blog or website. So here it is!
What is it?
RedBubble works in a very different way to Etsy and BigCartel. It is a print-on-demand site where your artwork is made into a product eg matted or framed print, card, t-shirt, calendar, stickers. It is also the actual shopfront where the item is sold.
So you upload your images onto their site, write up your profile which accompanies the work and they do the rest.
- Free to join and you don’t actually ever pay them anything
- Before you get too excited – they are paid by your purchasers. Items have a “base price”, all of which goes to RedBubble for their manufacturing and other costs.
- You set your prices as a percentage on top of the base price and you receive all of this monthly.
- Low work load: you focus on the artwork, but don't have to produce the actual product or post it off
- No financial outlay
- Buyers can search by tag word/s, medium, time and popularity.
- Has a community feel, with groups and challenges etc. I am still to get into this aspect so I can’t comment much further on that, except to say that I have received welcome emails and invitations to introduce myself to the groups I joined.
- In my experience, manufacture and delivery is fast – about a week from order to arrival at my door. It would of course be slower for items ordered from overseas.
- For readers of this blog, RedBubble is not a venue for selling artists books. However, it is highly appropriate for selling photos, prints and drawings, which many of you also produce. Even gorgeous photos of your artists books could look good on cards, calendars or whatever.
For a tiny investment of time and no investment of money, it’s a great avenue to get your images out there, and via your profile you can always entice art lovers to your blog or website, where they might just buy a book.
- Not as well known as etsy, in my opinion
- Earnings must reach $20 before they will transfer them to you.
- You have to drive people to your work within the site from your other web “presences”. Your products are competing with everybody else’s and there is a lot on there to distract them.
- Lack of control over finished product.
This is obviously the “biggie” in using RedBubble. I know this will bother some of you more than others. Of course, it is the other side of the coin which makes this such a low effort approach. The two are in direct relationship to one another, and only you can decide whether the equation balances for you.
I suggest that you order something to do your own quality assurance. I ordered some greeting cards, which was not a huge outlay and put my fears to rest. If you are really worried, you could also order a small matted or laminated print for a moderate outlay. You do of course get your own items for the base price.
4. PayPal on your own site
What is it?
Paypal is a service which allows you to pay and receive payments from people without setting up a credit card facility. Basically, you join up, link a bank account or debit/credit card to PayPal and off you go. It is considered very safe, with strategies and procedures in place for both Buyer and Seller Protection.
There are three types of accounts. As a sole trader you can use either a Personal or a Premier account. If you already have a Personal account, it’s easy to upgrade to seller status.
From this point on, I will just be discussing the use of PayPal as a mechanism for selling items from your website or blog.
- No joining fee & no fees until a sale is made.
- Charges are 2.4% plus AUD 0.30c for each transaction. If your sales total AUD$5000+ in a month, you can apply for the merchant rate, which is 1.1%
- When items are purchased by an international buyer, the rate increases to 3.4% (less if sales are AUD$5000+)
- You can be in complete control of the process, from the making of the artwork, the packaging, and the postage.
- You have your shop on your own space (blog or website) and you won't lose people easily to other sellers.
- Low fees, especially in comparison to gallery commissions etc.
- Can be added to your existing blog or website &
whether or not you use Paypal to pay for items already, its easy to get set up.
- Features which allow you to easily customize your buyer’s view, as well as assist with processing orders, keeping accounts etc.
- You have to attract people to your website/blog in order to sell, but presumably that is what you are trying to do with or without a PayPal facility. You still need to be active in some other online forums so that people will see your work and your name when you comment, and decide to click on that link and check you out.
- It seems to me that, if you make work and you would like to sell it, even if you sell in shops “in the real world”, I can’t see any disadvantage to using this PayPal facility on your site.
- Despite the customization options, this facility won’t have the slick finished appearance of “your own online shop” unless you have HTML skills at your fingertips.
Well, that’s all that I have to say on this subject for the time being. During the course of publishing these posts, I discovered yet more options for selling art online. I’ll list them here with links, but I haven’t checked them out myself.
I really hope that these posts have provided you with some valuable information and I encourage you to get in touch via the comments. Your thoughts and experiences with selling art online would be most appreciated.