Shoppers start thinking about holiday gifts in October. Many people begin researching gift ideas for their loved ones (and themselves) now and November is really when the wallets come out. For your art gallery business, this is the time to start developing your holiday season strategy and planting the seeds in collector’s minds about art as holiday gift.
In October, people begin asking their loved ones what they might like to have and they look online to learn what is available. They want to feel good about the brands they are buying from and they want their experience to be easy since shopping during the holiday season is stressful for many.
Below is a checklist of planning tasks and ideas that your gallery may want to incorporate into your holiday strategy.
Advanced preparations is the key to strong holiday revenue.
New Gallery Holiday Offerings
- Review your inventory to identify artworks that are affordable for a broader range of shoppers
- Involve your artists who may have works in their studios that are not typically part of what your gallery would show, but may help compliment a special holiday show or be offered on the gallery website and social media pages as gift ideas.
- Will you bring in new items outside of your artist roster just for the holidays, such as handmade craft items, jewelry or unique household items or fashions?
- If you represent local artists, explore opportunities to collaborate on events, such as an open studio. This allows you offer something different for collectors, helps you draw more attention to the artist and gives you both the opportunity to create an interesting and festive event. Sharing the work of planning helps too!
- Are there other local retailers or businesses with a similar client base that you could collaborate with during the holidays? Develop special partnerships in your community, such as with charities, framers or locations for offsite pop-up exhibits.
Special Holiday Art Gallery Services
- Determine if your gallery’s return policy is strong enough for put holiday gift giver’s mind at ease. Art is a personal object and a strong return policy will help buyers feel more confident that the receiver will not be stuck with something they don’t love. Allow for a full refund if returned within 30 days after the holiday. The new year is busy and 30 days give people time to live with a piece for a while or make arrangements for a return. If your normal return policy is different, sweetening it for the holidays is a good strategy. Also credits toward a different piece will not be attractive incentive.
- Free shipping has become an expected service during the holidays. Depending on the piece being shipped, this can be costly. Determine if free shipping can be offered on either a particular price point or size of work. Discuss this service with your artists and ask that costs come from both sides of your profits.
- Installation, framing and lighting consultations would be a good service to offer during the holidays if they are not already part what you offer collectors.
- Ensure all gallery events through December are posted on your website. This includes exhibitions, open houses, art walks, pop-ups and anything else you have planned.
- Create a page on your website dedicated to your holiday offerings. It a great way to organize special pieces for gift ideas and promote your gallery’s services. Your holiday focused emails and social media posts can link to this page making it easy for shoppers to find what they need.
- If you are extending gallery hours, get that updated on your website and other online places.
- Define your plan for email communications, timing, and messaging that is both attention grabbing and informative. Consider how you will segment your mailing list for more personalized communications. Your collectors like dealing with actual people vs simply being a name on a mailing list. Plan some of your holiday emails to come directly from gallery associates vs. just the gallery as a whole.
- Social media success is becoming more reliant on advertising. Consider running paid ad campaigns on the social media platforms where your gallery business has the largest presence. Share your holiday social media marketing plan with your artists and community partners. Get them involved by asking them to share your posts with their networks and vice versa.
- If you are using third party art sales platforms, review your presence there to ensure additional inventory is represented.
- If you don’t normally offer the ability to purchase directly from your website, this may be time and place to do it just for the holidays. You could do this for just pieces you highlight on your dedicated holiday webpage mentioned above. It’s all about making the holiday shopping experience easy for your collectors.
- Give careful consideration to the overall sales message you communicate to inspire holiday gift giving. You will want to keep it consistent throughout October, November and December to have the greatest impact.
- Review old leads and lost sales from the past year to see if they can be revitalized. Circumstances may have changed and they may be inspired to buy themselves a present.
- Enable self-gifting by offering lay-away options for those who love a piece of art, but feel guilty purchasing such a luxury during the holidays. Another incentive for self-gifting that has worked well for other retail industries is offering a gift card with a purchase. For example, if a collector purchases a piece of art for themselves above X price range, they receive an Amazon gift card or gift certificate from one of your community partners for $50, that they can use to buy a gift for someone else. This is a discrete way for you to offer better value, without discounting the art.
- If you do not normally publish prices in the gallery, posting prices next to works of art during the holidays helps people make buying decisions more quickly and easily. This is especially important if your gallery is located on a street with lots of foot traffic.
October is the time for you to make a plan and the necessary advanced preparations to make the most of holiday sales. Look back at previous holiday seasons for your art gallery business and make note of what sales and marketing efforts worked well and what had little impact. It’s a good idea to make a schedule for your email and social media posts that covers the whole holiday season. Writing it out on a calendar helps you to identify any missed opportunities you might have to appeal to a broad range of shoppers. The goal is make buying easy for your current collector base and also to attract shoppers who have never purchased from your gallery before.
Lastly, plan how you will say thank you to your collectors, artists and staff. Will you send handwritten holiday cards? That will take some time, so start early. Will you host a special holiday party to say thank you to all those who purchased art last year? When will that be and when do invitations need to go out?
We all know that there is never seem to be enough time to get it all done. The added pressures of the holidays make advance planning and preparations all the more important. October is the time to get organized so November and December can be sales focused.
Share what works well for your art gallery to make the holiday season profitable. Post a comment.