The sales team at Praxis sees summer as a time of opportunity. Speaking on behalf of the gallery team, Justina Gomez Romero joined a panel of other Artsy partners for a webinar and shared how the 40-year-old business navigates the offseason.
1. Consider a Summer Schedule
While many galleries close their brick-and-mortar spaces in the summer, Praxis changes its hours instead. “In the summer, we never close. We switch our schedule to [be open] Monday through Friday,” the Praxis team said. “We’re always there and you would be surprised to know how many clients are hunting for art during the summer.”
Pro Tip: Consider changing your gallery hours to accommodate a summer schedule—even two or three days a week can make a difference. Staying open in the summer also presents press opportunities: Local publications looking to promote summertime activities may be interested in your latest exhibition or event.
2. Try Targeted Outreach
Keeping your gallery open in the summer enables you to use your space for targeted client cultivation. Justina shared one strategy she uses at Praxis: She reviews her database of inquiries and selects a group of local clients who are all interested in a single artist. “I will put up four to five pieces by this artist and invite these clients to visit. It does work, people come and feel like a private show is going on for them.”
Pro Tip: Use social media to keep artworks front-of-mind for collectors. “If you know that certain clients are checking out the gallery’s Instagram account and liking your posts, make sure to publish artworks that they will find appealing.”
2. Consider proximity
Per the 2018 Hiscox Online Art Trade Report, “almost three-quarters (74%) of online art buyers bought more than one art object online in the last 12 months.” Additionally, online buyers are growing more comfortable buying online, purchasing works at an average price point of over $5,000, an increase in average pricepoint from 2017. As more collectors come online, brick-and-click galleries are positioned to take advantage of the opportunity to form new relationships that have the potential to convert to sales. Physical and digital storefronts complement each other, and having both allows collectors to discover works online and then, if they wish to view them in person, travel to the gallery before finalizing a purchase.
3. Post to Social Media Consistently
Even if your gallery is closed for the summer, maintaining your social media presence will help you make sales come autumn. Not only can you keep your existing collector network engaged, but it’s also a great time to attract new followers before the busy seasons begins.
Pro Tip: Praxis’s recommendation is simple: “Post every day.” Experiment with different kinds of content to see what performs well. Whether it’s a featured artwork each day or a video from an artist’s studio, regularly sharing content on social media helps to surface your profile on Instagram and Facebook and attract new followers. But be realistic—if you know you won’t be able to keep up with daily posts, perhaps pick two to three days a week when you’ll always post.
4. Review Your Inventory
Summer is a great time to reflect on the artists and inventory you’re promoting—and to assess what’s working and what needs improvement in order keep your gallery relevant. “This is our time of the year to catch up. Is our inventory representing us? Is this what we want to show? We’re always uploading something to Artsy every two weeks and being current.”
Pro Tip: Updating your inventory can take many forms. It can be as simple as better gallery photographs. Use the summer months to identify what is causing the problem and make a change: “Get on the streets and go find artists that are going to represent you and make a profitable business.”
5. Think Global
No matter where your gallery is located, remember that it’s not summertime everywhere. The Praxis team treats the summer months the same as any other time of year—and they use the gallery’s online presence to stay active in the offseason.
Pro Tip: Expand your reach and connect with a new network of collectors online. Online art platforms like Artsy enable you to overcome the offseason, promote your gallery to a global audience, and make sales year-round. Talking about Praxis’s experience with Artsy, they said “we are sleeping and we are still in business. It’s a 24/7 open business.”