Ebay is mostly dismissed as a platform for selling art, yet it was the first place I sold my art online and I made a killing. That was a long time ago now and times change, so is selling art on eBay worth it now?
It is worth selling art prints and printable wall art on eBay. It is also worth selling minor original artwork at a low price, both as a fixed price or at auction. Original art can be sold for a higher price if the artist has an existing following.
This post will help you to decide if posting your art on eBay is viable for you.
Let’s get going
(I get commissions for purchases made through affiliate links in this post. However, I only promote products I like and recommend)
For quick scanning, skip to the section you need:
- What is eBay?
- How Does eBay Work For Artists?
- What Are The Advantages of Selling Art on eBay?
- What Are The Disadvantages of Selling Art on eBay?
- How to Sell Your Art on eBay
- Choose The Right eBay Category to Sell Your Art
- Setting Up Your eBay Seller Account
- How to Build Trust with Potential Buyers
- How to Prepare Your Art for Sale
- Pricing Your Art on eBay
- 0Auction or Fixed Price Listings?
- Factors to Consider When Pricing Your Art
- Managing Your eBay Listings
- Shipping Your eBay Sale
- After-Sale Best Practices
What is eBay?
eBay is an online marketplace that allows individuals and businesses to buy and sell just about anything that’s legal and that includes art.
Believe it or not, eBay was started way back in 1995, and with nearly 30 years of experience it has become a global giant reaching a worldwide audience. It has a built-in audience of millions of users including art enthusiasts and collectors.
Listing items for sale is an easy and intuitive process, with low fees, and buying is equally straightforward. it is an ideal platform for selling some forms of art.
How Does eBay Work For Artists?
The mechanics of opening an eBay account is easy enough, it’s the tactics and added extras that will make a difference. If you post it and leave it, your art will be swamped by the competition.
Don’t believe in all that passive income hype. I have never found it to be true. You must promote and optimize everything online. Passive income is for dreamers.
This is the basic setup and selling process on eBay:
- Create a Seller Account: Artists must first set up a seller account on eBay. This involves providing some basic information and setting up payment methods.
- List Your Art: This involves taking high-quality photos or scans of your art, writing a detailed description, and setting a price. Artists can choose to sell their work at a fixed price or put it up for auction.
- Manage Your Listings: Once your art is listed you can answer questions from potential customers, and make revisions based on their feedback.
- Sell and Ship Your Art: When a buyer purchases your art or wins the auction, and you receive your payment, you package and ship the art to your buyer.
- After-Sale Activities: Offering good customer service will contribute to a positive reputation. You will aim for 100% positive feedback. Follow up, add a personal thank you note, track your parcel, and keep your customer in the loop.
- Repeat the Process
I’ll go over the pros and cons of selling art on eBay later on, but it is worth saying that I had good success selling both open and limited-edition prints. That’s physical prints, sent in the post, not printable wall art or print-on-demand.
If you’re unsure, read this: What Are Limited Edition Prints? 12 Things You’ve Got to Know
I had no idea what I was doing and if I had, I have no doubt that I would’ve earned far more money than I did.
I rode on the back of the popularity of a collectible British wildlife artist at the time called Gary Hodges. His art was fashionable and as my art was superficially similar, I managed to attract some of his fans.
I freely admit to being a bit cheeky.
The online world was new to me and I name-dropped “Like Gary Hodges” in my titles without shame and kept the email addresses of my buyers. A thing I wouldn’t dream of doing these days, anyway I binned them when GDPR compliance was introduced.
I would post a print at auction and see the bids roll in. I made my money by selling to the highest bidder and giving all my bidders a 2nd chance offer. Most took me up on it.
My profit could be magnified 3 or 4 times with this one tactic. I made an extra £10,000 (@$15,000) in that year for very little effort.
That sideline was the nearest I ever came to a passive income.
I never made a full-time income with eBay alone, and as it turned out I am glad I didn’t put all my eggs in one basket. Things can change overnight.
What Are The Advantages of Selling Art on eBay?
The major advantages of selling art on eBay include:
- A Worldwide Reach: eBay is an international platform that allows you to reach potential buyers from all over the world.
- Ease of Use: eBay’s platform is easy to learn and understand. It is user-friendly, making it easy to list and sell your artwork without difficulty
- Promote on Social Media: You can promote your art for free on social media platforms like Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram and send traffic back to your eBay Store.
- Flexible Selling Options: eBay lets you experiment with auction-style listings and fixed-price listings.
- Seller Protection: eBay offers protection to sellers against fraudulent buyers and disputes, providing some peace of mind.
- In-built Audience: eBay has an enormous user base who shop on eBay before they look elsewhere. Optimized listings can reach a huge audience.
- Communication: eBay allows for direct communication between buyers and sellers, enabling you to engage with your customers and prospects, and build relationships.
- Art Categories: eBay’s wide range of art categories allows you to list different types of art, for different kinds of buyers.
- Seller Tools: The Seller Hub helps you to manage your business with ease and avert overwhelm
- Feedback System: eBay’s feedback system demonstrates your credibility
- Promotion Opportunities: eBay offers promotional tools to help you to boost sales.
What Are The Disadvantages of Selling Art on eBay?
While eBay offers many advantages for selling art, there are also plenty of drawbacks to consider:
- Fees: eBay charges various confusing fees for selling items, including insertion fees, final value fees, varying percentages according to category, poor currency conversions, and optional listing upgrade fees. These all add up and reduce your profit.
- Free Shipping and Immediate Postage: You must offer free shipping and quick postage or get demoted by eBay. eBay takes a cut, naturally.
- Rented Space: You don’t own your space on eBay. You rent it and as such, you must comply with eBay rules or leave. Fairness has nothing to do with it. One change to the platform can kill your business overnight.
- No Email List: Your customers are owned by eBay, and although you can communicate with your buyers, you don’t get to keep their details legally. Promotions to your list is where the real money comes in.
- Devalues Your Art: Let’s be honest, eBay is a bargain marketplace, or that’s the reputation. You go there to get cheaper items. In the eyes of many, it’s a glorified flea market.
- Ebays Algorithm: Rules change. You must comply or get demoted in the search engines. EBay calculates your ratio of browsers to buyers and penalizes sellers who underperform. eBay wants money, not admiration, and if your listings don’t sell often enough they don’t want them.
- Competition: Your art might be great but you are relying on a thumbnail to catch the eye amidst a sea of garbage art. Far from helping you to stand out, it smothers your listing. People will only look through bad art for so long before they give up.
- Shipping Challenges: The post office run is a pain. Couriers are unreliable, and shipping original artwork is complex and costly. Post gets delayed, damaged, and lost.
- Dependence on Reviews: Your reputation on eBay heavily depends on positive buyer reviews. Some people will never be happy with your service and leave unfair reviews. A negative review can impact your sales, even if the issue was beyond your control.
- Time Investment: Managing eBay listings, responding to buyer inquiries, and packaging and shipping artwork can be time-consuming.
- No Paypal Option: Customers can pay eBay with Paypal, but sellers can’t take the payments. You have to use your checking account or open a Payoneer account.
Next, I’ll tell you how to sell your art on eBay and these pros and cons will make more sense.
This course by Melanie Greenwood offers a different perspective on reaching the same goal
How to Sell Your Art on eBay
Listing art on eBay is the simple bit. How you list your art is more important. Your potential customer has to find your art if you are to have any chance of selling it.
Choose The Right eBay Category to Sell Your Art
EBay’s Art category is a dedicated section where eBay sellers list their artwork for sale.
The Art category is divided into subcategories such as:o
- Art Drawings
- Art NFTs
- Art Photographs
- Art Posters
- Art Prints
- Art Sculptures
- Mixed Media Art & Collage Art
- Other Art
- Textile Art & Fiber Art
You have other options, such as dropshipping products with your designs printed on them, selling canvas prints, and printables.
At first, it makes sense to list your art in one of these categories, and it might be the right choice for you. I had another approach. I regularly listed my art prints by subject matter.
For example, if I was relisting my Limited Edition Elephant Print I would probably choose the following categories:
Collectables > Animal Collectables > Wild Animals > Elephants
An alternative listing could be:
Art > Art Prints > Elephants > Wildlife Art Limited Editions
I had less direct competition listing my prints under Collectables. In my experience wildlife art is bought by people with a particular fondness for one type of animal. Using that knowledge it made more sense to go after collectors than to target art lovers.
Find out how artists make prints here: How to Make Prints of Your Art: A Complete Printing Guide (2023)
Knowing who your customers are and why they buy your art is key. I had the advantage of years of experience selling my art prints directly to the public from a market stand. It was fantastic market research.
I discovered that collectors tend to be obsessive. So much so, that their friends and family, conclude that buying something to add to the collection is the perfect present.
That ladies and gentlemen, is how I made a living for over 20 years!
The advantages of selling in an appropriate category are as follows:
- It’s more likely to appear in relevant search results and appear in front of interested buyers
- It provides a more precise representation of your artwork
- Higher customer satisfaction with positive reviews and repeat purchases
- Reduces the chance of returns or disputes
Any online business will stand or fall based on trust.
Setting Up Your eBay Seller Account
It is essential that you project a professional image to your prospective customers and a new seller must go the extra mile to compensate for their lack of sales history.
How to set up a Seller account on eBay
Here are the steps to set up an eBay seller account:
- Go to the eBay homepage and click on the “Register”
- Choose a Personal or Business account and fill out the forms
- Provide your contact information, including your first and last name, email address, and password, etc
You have a buyer’s account, now you need to register to be a seller:
- Once you are logged in, open the “My eBay” drop-down menu at the top right and select “Selling”
- Follow the prompts and add your details.
- Follow the prompt to “eBay Selling Overview”
- Fill out the “Sell your item” form and “Submit”
- You’ll be redirected to the seller account registration page to add your payment methods.
- Alternatively, open your account and click your account name at the top left.
- In the drop-down click on Account Settings > Account > Payment Information and click “Continue”
- Click Payment options > Add Payment Option and add a credit card, debit card, or bank account (Country specific)
If you didn’t know already, eBay has stopped using Paypal and they now require sellers to link a bank account.
EBay directs you to set up a Payoneer account:
- Connect your existing Payoneer account or create a new one and sync it to eBay (source)
- Submit your registration details. Payoneer will inform you after 2 or 3 days when it’s ready to go.
- Verify your phone number with a one-time security code.
- If you register with Payoneer as a business, you must have an eBay business account to match. Change your settings if that applies to you.
- After setting up your account, you can start selling your art on eBay.
Don’t ignore your seller profile. A well-crafted seller profile serves as your online identity. It provides eBay customers with the information they need to know about your art business and the products you sell. A detailed and professional profile builds credibility confidence, and trust with your buyers.
How to Build Trust with Potential Buyers
Your credibility matters. Follow these guidelines and you can’t go far wrong:
- Transparency: Accurately describe the condition of your artwork and provide clear, high-quality photos from multiple angles and use short videos.
- Communication: Respond quickly and professionally to any inquiries or concerns from potential buyers. Good communication will allay fears and show buyers that you are reliable and have their interests at heart.
- Positive Feedback: Strive to maintain 100% positive feedback on your seller profile. Provide excellent customer service, ship items promptly, and accurately describe your items.
- Detailed Policies: Clearly outline your shipping, return, and payment policies. Many buyers don’t read them so be prepared to answer their questions anyway.
- Professionalism: Never get into any disputes. Always offer returns, replacements, or refunds, even if the customer is wrong. You can always block them later. Bad customers are very rare and a few missed sales should be accounted for in your business plans.
Read this, it’s about selling from a market stall but still relevant: How to Build Trust With Customers: 6 Ways to Sell More Art
How to Prepare Your Art for Sale
Presentation is everything. I cannot overstate the importance of making a good first impression. You have microseconds to catch the eye of a scrolling viewer.
This is a Youtube Short. It’s very quick and to the point. Please use a tripod and don’t hand-hold the camera.
Use High-Quality Photos of Your Art
High-quality photos are critical to success when selling art online. Ensure your photos are well-lit, clear, and taken from multiple angles to give a comprehensive view of the artwork. Do not use a flash. I had my drawings professionally scanned and used those.
You can upload up to 24 images to your gallery, you should use as many as possible. If your artwork has unique and important details, include close-up shots of these elements.
EBay publishes a list of image requirements:
- Ideally your image should be 800 x 1600px (min 500px, max 1600 px on one side)
- No watermarks or copyright
- No text
- No border
- No stock photos
- A neutral or white background
- No drop shadow
- Front view or slight angle for the main image
If you look at the art section you will immediately see that top sellers are using 3rd party mockups to present their paintings in situ. Plus they have gallery images with text overlays.
You can buy art mockups on Creative Market you should check it out.
In other words, eBay is not being too strict with art.
This course will give you some great advice. Domestika is great value
How to Write Descriptions For Your Art Listings
Writing a compelling description is key to attracting potential buyers for your art. If they are curious enough to read your description you are halfway to a sale.
Follow these tips:
Be as detailed as possible: When someone views your art the first thing they want to know is the size. Give all the measurements in inches and centimeters. If you’re selling a print, explain how to frame the picture with commercially available frames.
Suggest where to hang the picture. Many buyers will want to buy but worry about where it will go.
Tell a background story: People connect with stories. This is your chance to stir the emotions. Remember most people buy emotionally and an evocative backstory is a deal clincher.
Share your story, give a glimpse behind the scenes, and describe your mission, journey, and/or creative process. Spice things up, use a few superlatives and edit the hell out of your first draft. Keep it short and snappy. No one wants your life story.
Many of my drawings are based on wildlife I encountered on my travels. That interests people and naturally, I milk it! I’d be a fool not to. Find an angle that intrigues the viewer.
Learn to tell a story with Sun Yi. A very handy course on Domestika
Use Clear Language: Avoid art jargon and ensure your description is easy to read and understand. Cut out the fancy words, that will only alienate a lot of buyers. keep it simple.
Art-speak will get you nowhere, that’s for high-end pretentious galleries. It’s your job to communicate with eBay shoppers, they are ordinary people. Write in a friendly conversational tone. Be yourself and people will like you.
Include the Condition: If your artwork has any marks or blemishes, don’t hide them. Mention them in the description. If you have any concerns, it’s better to be open and transparent. Your honesty will be rewarded.
Pricing Your Art on eBay
Understanding eBay Fees
Ebay is a confusing mess when it comes to calculating the costs. I suspect that is a deliberate attempt to lull sellers into paying higher fees than they expected. Call me a cynic.
I’ll give you an overview as it concerns selling art, for most sellers.
Insertion fees are the fees for listing items for sale on eBay. Everyone gets a certain number of free listings per month, and beyond that, a fee is charged.
According to eBay, private sellers have up to 1000 free listings per month before they are charged a listing fee of $0.30 per item. Business sellers get 250 free listings on the most basic plan, then it’s $0.30 per item too.
Fees and allowances change when you open an eBay store, and it’s insanely difficult to figure out all the fees that apply. I have summarized the fees as simply as I could but there are exceptions and caveats galore. Go to this eBay page and confuse yourself.
Take this list as a general guide for eBay stores:
- Monthly Renewal Fee: $7.95
- Annual Renewal Fee: $4.95/m
- Zero Insertion Fee: 250/m
- Subsequent Insertion Fee per Auction and Fixed Listing: $0.30
- Monthly Renewal Fee: $27.95
- Annual Renewal Fee: $21.95/m
- Zero Insertion Fee Auction Listings: 250/m
- Zero Insertion Fee Fixed Listings: 1000/m
- Subsequent Insertion Fee per Auction and Fixed Listing: $0.25
- Monthly Renewal Fee: $74.95
- Annual Renewal Fee: $59.95/m
- Zero Insertion Fee Auction Listings: 500/m
- Zero Insertion Fee Fixed Listings: 10,000/m
- Subsequent Insertion Fee per Auction Listing: $0.15
- Subsequent Insertion Fee per Fixed Listing: $0.10
- Monthly Renewal Fee: $349.95
- Annual Renewal Fee: $299.95/m
- Zero Insertion Fee Auction Listings: 1,000/m
- Zero Insertion Fee Fixed Listings: 25,000/m
- Subsequent Insertion Fee per Auction Listing:: $0.10
- Subsequent Insertion Fee per Fixed Listing: $0.05
- Monthly Renewal Fee: N/A
- Annual Renewal Fee: $2,999.95
- Zero Insertion Fee Auction Listings: 2,500/m
- Zero Insertion Fee Fixed Listings: 100,000/m
- Subsequent Insertion Fee per Auction Listing: $0.10
- Subsequent Insertion Fee per Fixed Listing: $0.05
As you can see it’s perfectly possible to dip your toe in the water and start your business without risking much.
As far as I can see each country has its own fees applied and the free listing allowances apply to the country of your registration only. If you post on international sites you’ll have to pay up.
Final Value Fees
Final value fees are applicable when your item sells. EBay takes a percentage of the final sale price and that is calculated by category. I said it was confusing.
You must also note that eBay takes a cut of ALL of your selling price, that includes, packaging, shipping, and any sales tax! It’s daylight robbery to take a cut of your expenses, but hey, cost that in. It’s mitigated by cheaper shipping options available through eBay.
EBay states that the final percentage fee in the Art category if you own a store, is 12.35% up to a max of $2,500 per sale. Deduct another 2.5% for the portion of a sale over that amount. Plus each item is charged a $0.30 handling fee. Clear? Yeah right.
Honestly, I lost the will to live chasing around various pages on eBay trying to find the exact percentages for private sellers. As far as I can see the standard selling fee in most categories is 13.25%. Assume that selling your art will cost you between 12.35%- 13.25% plus $0.30.
Unless you are selling NFTs and it’s 5%!
Optional Listing Upgrade Fees
Optional listing upgrade fees apply for optional services like setting a reserve price, using additional listing features, or promoting your listings. There are too many.
|Auction 1 – 3 days||1.00||N/A|
|List in two categories||Added category fee||Added category fee|
|Gallery plus||Free for Art||Free for Art|
|International site visibility||$0.01 – $9.99 = $0.10|
$10 – $49.99 = $0.20
$50 or more = $0.40
|Subtitle||$1.50 – Item up to $150|
$3.00 – Item over $150
|$2.00 – Item up to $150|
$6.00 – Item over $150
For general advice read this: Pricing Art For Beginners: Originals, Art Prints, and Formulas
Auction or Fixed Price Listings?
An auction or a fixed-price listing. what to choose? Of course, I’m tempted to say use both and see what works best but here are my views about each approach
Listing An Online Auction
Customers are wiser to the tactics sellers use these days and I doubt that I could encourage bidding wars on open edition prints these days. If you do try selling your prints at auction do not flood the market. I made that mistake. No one will bid when your print gets relisted as soon as the sale is over.
Auctions are best suited to expensive or rare items that would otherwise be hard or impossible to find elsewhere. Limited editions are by definition in short supply so you could attract bidders with the right type of picture.
Limited editions are a double-edged sword. You can make a great return on a popular print, the profit margins are huge. On the other hand, you lose in the long run. Selling the same image as a cheaper open edition pays back more over time.
It’s a judgment call. Total guesswork. You can tick all the boxes and for some reason, the public doesn’t bite. Then you publish a picture you personally dislike and it becomes a bestseller. That’s the art market for you.
If you decide to list an original at auction be sure to set a reserve price. There is a very real chance that no one will bid. It all depends on the asking price of course, and how much you value your work.
I got stung once. I was getting used to people bidding for my art prints and had secretly collected emails of previous buyers (pre-GDPR) and I sent out a newsletter expecting interest in buying an original.
Luckily I set a reserve at £300 (about $450 at the time) and much to my disappointment, I only had one bidder. I paid for my hubris.
A Fixed-Price Listing
For most art sellers it probably makes more sense to sell art prints at a fixed price. You can set up a basic store and promote your items. I know from selling my art prints from a market stall for years that the public loves a bargain. Consider offering your art in sets and collections for a cheaper deal.
Set your prices higher on some prints and add “Best offer” to your listing. This enables you to negotiate with your interested buyer. Ignore the silly offers. This is your chance to connect with your prospect on a personal level. Don’t fob off your potential buyer with an automated lazy offer. Be a real person and do it manually.
Get into a conversation, ask questions, and make a good counteroffer. It doesn’t have to be a direct discount. You can offer a 2nd print for free. Think about it. What does a print cost you? I used this tactic all the time when I sold face-to-face and it works.
I sold my art this way: How to Negotiate the Price of Your Art: Prints and Originals
I sold limited edition prints for £20 (that’s about $25 today) and if someone hesitated I made them an offer. I offered a cheaper open edition print to go with it for free.
I was selling the cheaper prints for £6.50 each (about $8) and psychologically the value was increased to £26.50 or $33. I’d secure the sale for the loss of my printing costs. I was in effect offering a £1 ($1.30) discount. That’s the cost of making another print!
You can also make an offer to anyone who simply asks a question.
Any chance to connect with a potential customer should be taken. Reply as soon as you see the message. It’s important to catch the moment. A lot of decisions are made on the spur of the moment and there is no time to waste. Strike while the iron’s hot.
Knowing how to gently persuade an undecided customer is a skill you can learn. Chris Croft can show you how it’s done.
Think long and hard about selling original art on eBay. Keep reading, and you might decide that the logistics of shipping original art is more trouble than it’s worth.
Factors to Consider When Pricing Your Art
You must work out if selling your art, or art prints, is viable on eBay.
Think about these things:
- Cost of Materials: Include the cost of the art materials used to create your artwork or your printing costs
- Time and Labor: Consider the time and effort you put into making original works of art. Can you realistically paint enough saleable originals?
- Size and Complexity: Large artwork commands higher prices but the costs of packaging and posting will be high. Plus, shipping is a nightmare, believe me, I know, things get lost and broken.
It’s easier to sell smaller and simpler original paintings, and selling art prints is even better.
- Reputation: If you’re an established artist with collectors, you will command higher prices. Otherwise, you’ll have to set a competitive price.
Don’t undercut your competition. Offering the lowest price in a race to the bottom is not in your interest. Match the higher average prices.
Managing Your eBay Listings
Use eBay’s Seller Hub to Manage Your Sales
The Seller Hub is eBay’s management tool for sellers. It provides a central location for managing your eBay business and makes your life so much easier.
There are 3 main tabs where you can view your business at a glance:
- Orders: Where you can check awaiting payments, shipments, print labels, view returns and replacements.
- Listings: Create listings, check active listings for questions, and offers. View the status of your auctions and schedule listings.
- Tasks: This tab will suggest actions that need to be done ASAP.
I won’t go into detail, suffice to say, it saves you time on admin and keeps you up to date with your eBay sales, listings, and customer queries.
Promote your eBay listings on Social Media: Social Media For Artists: The Best 13 Platforms for Creatives
Shipping Your eBay Sale
You would think that shipping would be the least of your worries, but in my experience, the real worries are just beginning. Shipping is stressful because things go wrong.
Parcels get dropped, crushed, and wet. There are delays, especially through customs, deliveries go to the wrong address, and items simply disappear.
If things can go wrong they will, and as far as the customer is concerned, it’s all your fault!
I have learned a few things:
- Over-package your items
- Damp proof your item
- Never send glass, use plexiglass instead
- Send prints and posters in tubes
- Persuade your customer to pay for tracking
- Don’t trust insurance companies
- Communicate with your customer at every stage.
Best Practices For Packaging and Shipping Your Art
I sold mainly art prints and soon realized that postal tubes survive the abuse in the system. They are robust, light, and cheap to buy. It’s the easiest way to send a print.
I don’t think I ever lost a postal tube to damage, but I have lost plenty that never arrived. It is infuriating and compensation here in the UK is a joke. Forget it.
Given the choice, I would never use tubes. They are cheap when you buy them in bulk but they require a lot of storage space. Plus prints are easily damaged when you roll them up, and you must insert them, and pull them out properly. It’s a knack.
I use 8″ x 15″ polyethylene inserts, slide the rolled print carefully inside, and instruct the customer to pull out the bag, not the print itself.
The bag protects the print against dampness and prevents grubby finger marks and careless damage.
I’m also well aware that curled paper is next to impossible to flatten and the longer it remains curled in a tube the worse it gets. Not ideal.
The alternative is to send your print in a suitable box.
A box has some advantages. They arrive as foldable templates so they store easily, and multiple prints can be dispatched in one parcel. It’s also easy to waterproof prints within cellophane wrappers.
The problem is they are easily damaged. The parcel itself might be light and strong enough by itself but it will be thrown into the back of a van with heavier items that all too often fall and damage them.
Prints must also be taped down to prevent them from moving. The corners can get dog-eared if you leave them loose inside the box.
You need added protection, top and bottom, which means padding in the form of polystyrene, foamboard, or more cardboard. Pretty soon all the advantages of storage space are lost.
One more major disadvantage is shipping costs. A box costs more to send than a tube. That’s why I seldom use them.
This goes into more detail: How to Ship Art Prints Safely: The Easy Way
Sending Original Art in the Post
The whole idea gives me the shudders. I sold a few original drawings on eBay and it was traumatic.
First of all, I decided that sending frames was out of the question. I know from experience that picture glass is too fragile to survive no matter how careful you are. The only viable option is to use acrylic plexiglass.
Instead, I mounted my drawings with mat board and a strong backing board, then wrapped them in polypropylene. I placed another rigid board over the front to prevent anything from touching the paper surface.
I made custom cardboard boxes and added layers of polystyrene tiles, (not beads) to completely surround the artwork and prevent it from moving around.
I used whatever I had to hand. Sometimes I used corrugated plastic signboards for packaging and even 4mm polycarbonate greenhouse sheets.
Completely over the top, but it needs to be. You cannot trust couriers.
One more thing. Try getting insurance for original art. It’s not easy and if you can get it, it’s not cheap. Unless your art is worth a lot of money, it’s not worth the premium.
Don’t forget that some of your buyers will be overseas and that means your art must pass through customs. Things get delayed, some items get unwrapped and inspected, and high-ticket items get taxed.
If that doesn’t put you off nothing will.
After-Sale Best Practices
It’s not enough to take the order and send your art. You must follow through, preempt problems, and reassure your customer.
All those added extras will be welcomed and the personal touch will make a big difference.
Feedback on eBay
Feedback helps build your reputation as a seller and can influence future sales. Ideally, you should try to maintain a 100% satisfaction record.
Here’s how to manage feedback:
- Request Feedback: After a sale, send a polite message to the buyer thanking them for their purchase and asking them to leave feedback if they’re satisfied with their purchase.
- Respond to Feedback: If a buyer leaves positive feedback, thank them. If they leave negative or neutral feedback, respond professionally and try to resolve any issues they mentioned.
- Learn from Feedback: Use feedback as a tool for improvement. If buyers consistently mention certain issues, consider how you can address these in your selling practices.
After-sale customer service is key to maintaining a good reputation and encouraging repeat trade.
Here’s why it’s important:
- Builds Trust: Good customer service can turn a one-time buyer into a repeat customer, and can encourage buyers to leave positive feedback.
- Resolves Issues: If there’s an issue with a sale, good customer service can help resolve it and prevent negative feedback.
- Enhances Reputation: Buyers are more likely to recommend sellers who provide excellent customer service.
Success as an eBay Seller
Successful eBay sellers do the following:
- List Consistently: Regularly list new items to keep your store fresh and attract repeat visitors.
- Provide Great Customer Service: Excellent customer service leads to repeat business and positive feedback. Try adding a personal thank you note with your order.
- Monitor Performance: Use eBay’s Seller Hub to monitor your sales performance and identify areas that need improvement.
- Follow eBay’s Rules: Ensure you’re always in compliance with eBay’s selling policies to avoid any issues with your account. Don’t encourage off-site deals.
- Stay Up to Date: Keep up with changes to eBay’s platform and policies, as well as trends in your particular selling niche.
You have to jump through hoops to gain the upper hand on eBay. It is not passive income. Not if you intend to make eBay a serious side hustle.
Is Selling Art on eBay Worth it? Final Thoughts
The simple truth, I don’t sell on eBay anymore. Why? Because I live in the UK, and many of my customers were in in the US. The shipping prices shot up when the Trump admin pulled out of an international shipping agreement.
Then Brexit happened and I had to pay 20% VAT (with all the form filling) to the EU for trading with our neighbors.
Plus eBay kept introducing new rules and requirents and I didn’t have the time to devote to the platform.
My listings were demoted and I lost interest.
I certainly wouldn’t sell my original art on eBay again. It is more profitable to sell them elsewhere. Yes, you can have an instant audience but the drawbacks are such that I would advise most independent artists to have their own website instead.
These guys have insanely popular courses on Udemy.
If you need a guiding hand this course will help you immensely
Selling from your own website is far better in the long run and you can always direct your social media traffic back to your gallery and keep all the profits.
You can have a better chance of success by selling art prints. I proved that. It is a scalable way to expand your art business. Believe me, a popular print will generate more money than the original. I chose to maintain my standards and spend time making my best art so that I could make the best prints.
It’s a business model that allowed me to make a living selling art for over 20 years.
Selling prints makes sense in every way, you will only sell cheaper art on eBay, and trying to mass-produce original pieces is not likely to work.
Selling original art on eBay is not worth it.
Selling art prints on eBay is worth it, if you target the right niche market. If your home market is big enough, and the United States is more than big enough, I wouldn’t bother with foreign sales. They are more trouble than they are worth.
Please do not put all your eggs in one basket. eBay is just another outlet. Do not rely on eBay because eventually, they will let you down. Have a portfolio of online platforms and diversify your art revenue streams while always prioritizing your own website.
This is how I made a living for over 20 years. You can too, simply copy what I did – No hidden secrets
If You Want to Sell Your Art
Check this out!
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- Is Printful Worth it? Print on Demand Review (2023)
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- Is Redbubble Worth it? Pros and Cons For Artists (2023)
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- Is Selling Art Online Worth It? Can You Make Money?
Get to Grips with your Art business with Katy on Domestika
Hi, my name’s Kevin and I’m a real person!
I’ve been selling my wildlife art and traveling the world for over 20 years, and if that sounds too good to be true, I’ve done it all without social media, art school, or galleries!
I can show you how to do it. You’ll find a wealth of info on my site, about selling art, drawing tips, lifestyle, reviews, travel, my portfolio, and more. Enjoy