How and why 

people in the art world

should start their online store

For those who say the online art market has had its day – it hasn’t even had its morning yet; it’s still waking up

 – Robert Read, Head of Art and Private Clients, Hiscox.

Imagine having a limitless audience. Your work and project could be seen, anywhere, anytime, by anyone. The online art market continues to grow strongly against the backdrop of a slowly-increasing global art market. The 2017 Hiscox Report has once again revealed the opportunities of the online market, which according to Robert Read "it's still waking up".

It is the time for you to wake up too and get your presence online. The online art market could be worth $9.14 billion by 2021 (Hiscox, 2017) if people start warming up to the idea of moving online. The important aspect of being present in the virtual world is that you never miss an opportunity for exposure. You make yourself accessible, discoverable and easy to find within a few clicks. 

Limitless audience

Portafolia Studio with data from 

the Hiscox Online Art Trade Report 2017 

produced by ArtTactic

Now, you may have your reservations about it because in your head you need to hire developers to run an online platform. Except for few players in the art world, who else doesn't have a tight budget? There are alternatives. Hosted eCommerce platforms are cheaper and easier to do it yourself, and as generic as they sound, you can adapt them to help you achieve your goals in the art world. By using off-the-shelf products, you won’t need to rely on developers and their jargon, and you’ll ultimately save a lot of money while increasing the visibility of your artwork, art institution or art project online.  

Beyond offline

Sell art and start your own art business with shopify

Would you like to give it a try? You’ll have nothing to lose (except a little bit of work), but ultimately, you’ll have everything to gain. See how it goes and let us know if, in your experience, this is a tool that can expand our scope of action in the art world.

There are lots of choices available online. We've found that Shopify, which runs off a theme system, is easy to navigate and customise to your desire whether you are an artist cooperative or a world-class museum. We also like because you can easily integrate Instagram add-ons to boost your engagement with people around the world who will love what you do (read the top 3 art world Instagrammers). Another reason to try their service is that you get a 14-day free trial to see if a longer commitment does really suit you. 

Don't reinvent the wheel

art, instagram, art instagram, hiscox report, hiscox online art trade report, arttactic report, top art instagrammers

Portafolia Studio with data from 

the Hiscox Online Art Trade Report 2017 

produced by ArtTactic

Ok, now you want to try it, but you just went blank? 

Here are Portafolia Studio’s top tips on the different scenarios of how and why to go online to reach an audience that loves what they do and one who is yet to find out.

Top tips

Whether you want to spread a provocative message or share your work with the world for different people to engage with it, what better to do online for everyone to see? Having a presence online is the most efficient way to share your work, build your name and sell your art, products or services. 

Now maybe you don’t necessarily want to sell online. You’d rather have a gallerist handle that part (although realistically, how many artists get to be represented by galleries?). 

Artist or Artist Collective

But you can showcase your work and its progress online, write about it, post videos, whatever you wish and believe will do justice to your work. 

Anyone with an Internet connection will be able to see it, 24/7. As we all know, the creative industries tend to be quite intimidating - approaching people, networking, finding opportunities to kick-start your career or keep it growing… with a presence online - before you know it, you will be building an international network, and new possibilities can arise for you.


Galleries that have moved online have been offered a new conduit to the global art market with a growing number of repeat buyers. Among those galleries selling art online, 60% said they experienced repeat purchases with 54% stating that most of their online sales are going to international clients (Hiscox, 2017). 

However, it is understandable that if you have owned/ been part of a gallery for a much longer time, you struggle going online. You might want to resist it. However, you may decide you want to showcase and sell your artist’s catalogues and books rather than art.  Creating a new stream of revenue in different ways such as this one will be beneficial to your gallery and your artists’ success.

Art bookstores out there, the same goes for you! Especially those selling independent books that are less well known- it’s time to get some exposure by going online! This is your chance to engage with art readers worldwide and reach a broader audience. You won’t even need to pay rent, and you can fit as many books as you like!

Art Editorials & Bookstores

Art Foundations

It is time for you, art foundations out there to generate another revenue streams online, especially because these funds will continue to serve your mission. Surely you are already selling great books and catalogues at your venue, and if you are a forward thinker, you are already offering cool merchandising like bags and clothes. Why don’t you sell them online too? Go global, reach new audiences and get more clicks. It would mean having greater resources for your programmes. 

We recommend!

If you are an artist, illustrator or graphic designer, why not create your database for images? Right now, stock photography online services are out there and as useful as they are, let’s be honest, finding an image there is like finding a needle in a haystack

Here’s YOUR chance to giving us (yes please!) an alternative to stock photography services by introducing truly authentic and exciting images where quality rather than quantity is your motto.  Why don't you give it a try? (let us know how it goes for you!).

Need guidance?

Make sure to email if you want guidance on your ideas or recommendations. If you have an idea of your own and want to validate it with an independent party, we will be more than happy to give you our comments  – get in touch! 

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Are you an advocate of more transparency in the art market? We are too. That's why we'd like to tell you that links to this service are referral links. If you buy it, Portafolia Studio earns a commission for the sale. This income allows us to keep researching and testing tools and services, and present them to you through well-designed landing pages. We only recommend the services we use, like and trust. 

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