What do galleries want to know about building a digital strategy, beyond maintaining a gallery website?
Our team of digital strategy experts sat down to answer audience questions from our recent webinar “Build a Digital Strategy beyond Your Gallery Website” with Saskia Clifford-Mobley, Director of Gallery Partnerships, and Caroline Fisher, Associate Director of Gallery Relations, in Artsy’s London office.
1. “How do you define online sales?”
Over the past decade, “online” has become an increasingly important sales channel for galleries. Just this year, the Art Basel and UBS report “The Art Market 2019” reported that the online art market grew 11% YoY—almost two times as fast as the total art market.
An online sale occurs when a collector and a gallerist make a connection online that leads to the immediate or future sale of a work. There are many ways this can happen. For example, a collector may find your gallery through an online search engine like Google, or Instagram, or your profile on an online art platform like Artsy.
When it comes to digital strategy and online sales, the most important action your gallery can take is ensuring that the digital channels your gallery is using are enabled to receive inquiries and/or facilitate a transaction. For example, your gallery website may be built with an “inquire about” or “purchase” button, but if it’s not, then a collector has to go all the way to your “about” page and send you a message, which can be a high barrier to entry for collectors.
If you don’t have the resources to build this e-commerce functionality into your website, online art platforms like Artsy allow collectors to inquire about works at your gallery, without building this functionality into your website independently.
2. “I’ve heard it’s important to display the cost of a work online. How do I do this without appearing ‘cheap’ and too commercial?”
Collector education is one of the biggest factors when it comes to driving inquires and sales online, because it increases confidence. To give collectors the best buying experience, you should provide as much information as possible—including price. Enhance your listings with information about the artist, the work, or even the shows it’s been featured in.
Artsy gallery partners each have their own Gallery Profile Page, which is a comprehensive overview of your program with a gallery description, contact details, artist roster, and artist bios.
The more information you can provide, the more empowered a collector will be when deciding to purchase a work. On Artsy, inquiries on works with published exact prices are six times more likely to be converted into sales.
3. “Is an Instagram presence better for a certain audience?”
While millions of art lovers actively use Instagram, one of the biggest challenges many galleries face is reaching a qualified audience of collectors. When we share our social-media guides, many galleries will write into Artsy asking how they can get more “collectors” to follow their profile on Instagram. Posting regularly with hashtags and geotags related to the art world is a great way to increase your likelihood of getting discovered by people who might be interested in your gallery and artists. But ultimately, it’s almost impossible to isolate your followers to exclusively collectors.
Artsy offers an audience of over 1 million users and receives more than 2.2 million unique visitors per month, many of whom are qualified collectors. Think about it—someone browsing on Instagram may open the app to see what their favorite artist is up to, but in the same session, they may click into the profile of their favorite jewelry designer. Art lovers and collectors browse Artsy with art top of mind. As a social-media platform, Instagram hosts a variety of activities, but on Artsy, users are here to discover art they love.
4. “Are there statistics that corroborate the success of augmented reality? Is there a way to measure how important it is for collectors?”
One of the most valuable parts of having an online presence for your gallery is that it enables you to reach a global audience, 24/7. But with this connectivity comes the challenge of visually communicating a work online.
Of all the users who have used Artsy’s augmented reality feature (meaning they successfully “placed” an artwork on a wall), 36% are engaged on Artsy commercially, meaning they have completed at least one commercial action (bid, inquiry, registered for an auction), and 9% are known buyers.
On Artsy, the average distance between buyer and seller is over 3,000 miles, which means works are often purchased site-unseen. Augmented reality can help with a collector’s buyer confidence by helping them to visualize a work in their own space. For example, Artsy’s augmented reality feature in the iOS app allows users to preview works before inquiring or purchasing by virtually “hanging” the work of art on their wall.
These days, a great mobile experience is a must-have for attracting first-time and veteran collectors—55% of Artsy’s inquiries in 2018 came through mobile, and purchases on mobile have increased by 85% over the past year.
5. “ Is there an ideal amount of artworks you should have listed on your page at one time (old and new)?”
Keeping your digital content up-to-date is important for social-media engagement, brand presence, and search-engine optimization. But beyond that, it’s essential for creating a good user experience for your future collector.
Think of your online presence as an extension of your gallery’s physical space—what you post online should reflect and complement your gallery’s physical presence. For example, if a collector came into your gallery and asked to see works by an artist you represent but weren’t currently showing, you would likely pull pieces from your back room. The same should apply for your website or profile on an online art platform.
When it comes to how many artworks you should have listed on your page at one time, that can depend on the platform. If you have access to features like sorting by most recently uploaded on your gallery’s website, this will allow you to upload as many works as you want, while ensuring that your site visitors can still find the most current works. An even better strategy is to treat your uploads as you would a gallery show.
Additionally, including a mix of works that are available for sale and those that have already been sold or placed in museums can help establish buyer’s confidence in an artist and increase your discoverability on search engines.
On Artsy, galleries can create Online Exclusive shows, a curated selection of works that offer collectors from around the world the unique opportunity to experience a group of curated works online.
Posting your shows online allows them to exist long after you’ve finished showing works in your physical space, which means they can reach an even wider audience.
Everyday, collectors from over 190 countries inquire about and purchase art from partners on Artsy. To learn more about how your gallery can reach our global network,
explore our partnerships here.
Watch the webinar
Learn how your gallery can build its brand presence and reach collectors online in “Build a Digital Strategy beyond Your Gallery Website.”