Art Business Tip: Print on demand and artist websites

Choices: Marketplace Providers with Print on Demand and/or Solely Hosted Providers with Print on Demand

Get out your homework!

Here is a summary of the two options:

Marketplace Providers with Print on Demand:

  • Are 3rd party companies that host your images on their site
  • Provide a catalog of products they sell and can place your images on.
  • Marketplace providers take the orders, fulfill the order, maintain the relationship with the client.
  • Pros and Cons: Low tech, low time commitment, low-profit margin, no client interaction, does not integrate well with any website provider.

Solely Hosted Providers with Print on Demand:

  • 3rd party companies that can take your images, source out print orders, and ship them.
  • will seamlessly integrate with your website shopping cart provider and sometimes Etsy
  • Can create a one-stop-shop with a consistent look and feel.
  • Pros and Cons: Higher tech, higher time commitment, higher profit margin, direct client interaction, integrations are available.

Sole Effort Revenue Streams: Marketplace Providers with Print on Demand

Going back to the car analogy, the Marketplace providers provide the scenario where you simply get in the car and drive — there are no bells and whistles that you have to select from — you just upload your artwork, set a price, and promote the links on your social media accounts. This is low tech, low cost, low time allocation, and lower profit margin.

Solely Hosted Providers with Print on Demand

The next option, Solely Hosted Providers with Print on Demand kicks up the complexity a notch BUT allows for the tailored approach, where you’ll need more time to achieve a better look and feel with a higher profit margin, you can even select products from multiple vendors to sell. In summary, more tech, more time, direct customer contact, and higher profit margin.

If you are curious: What do I use?

My art business, like so many, evolved over time as did my website, and still continues to evolve. That said, here were my requirements so you can see what and why I made the decisions I’ve made:

  • Sell prints and products
  • Sell Commissions
  • Sell originals
  • Sell classes online
  • Create a role-based artist community
  • Direct client relationship
  • Consistent look and feel is not a high priority would prefer
  • Higher profit margin
  • Consistent look and feel — required
  • Higher profit margin
  • Consistent look and feel — required
  • I own the content and pricing — required
  • Consistent look and feel — required
  • I own the content and pricing — required
  • Licensing my artwork
  • For Original Artwork and Prints under $200 — I have used a plugin called Etsy360 that allows for my Etsy Shop to appear seamlessly into my site. The plugin is a paid-for plugin — here is a link to the plugin (LINK TO ETSY 360).
  • Print On Demand: Etsy is integrated with Gooten and Printify. I can also integrate with these on my site but haven’t found the need yet (just because I can doesn’t mean I need to).
  • The community and learning management system are also integrated on my site thanks to Kajabi. (note: at one point I was using WordPress with BuddyBoss Platform and Theme and LearnDash but 4/15/2021 — I updated to Kajabi and got off of WordPress due to an increased desire to focus more on art and less on tech).

Your Homework

I will caution you as well, Do NOT go for the next pretty thing — always evaluate the functionality against your business need. Think of the car — do you really use that sunroof as often as you thought you would? Now, it’s your turn! Take your requirements, do the research and choose a solution based on your requirements that you’ve outlined and your comfort level with technology.

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Stephanie Weaver

Stephanie Weaver

19 Followers

I am an artist and founder of the Positive Painter Art Business Program. I focus on helping the next generation of artists thrive & find balance.