I know the pandemic has thrown the art industry into chaos this year. This year the holiday season for your art gallery is probably more important than ever.
Let’s be positive. Perhaps your prospective art buyers are poised to add something beautiful to that blank wall they have been staring at since March. That could work to your advantage this holiday season.
It is time to prepare your art gallery’s holiday sales strategy to maximize art sales revenue.
In this article, let’s look at some planning tasks and ideas that you can incorporate into your 2020 art gallery’s holiday strategy.
Set Holiday Goals
What would make the holiday season a success for your business? Is it all about revenue, or are there other things?
Setting goals for the holiday season helps you plan better and motivate your gallery sales team. You should set sales goals by sales associates and for all your online channels.
Goals don’t always need to be all about sales. Your goals might be to connect with inactive clients, improve relationships with artists, or form a new partnership with a local charity. These things may pay off when life starts to look a little more familiar and business is stable.
Unexpected Holiday Offerings from your Art Gallery
Identify artworks that are affordable for a broader range of shoppers. You could build a holiday sales campaign around that group of artworks. Reach out to your artists who may have pieces in their studios to help compliment your holiday offering. For example, they may have sketches and studies that once framed up nice would make an affordable, unique and special gift for collectors.
Stepping outside your gallery’s regular inventory during the holiday season always spices things up. It may also be a way to attract to your gallery new buyers who appreciate unique things.
Are there other local retailers or businesses with a similar client base that you could collaborate with during the holidays? Use the holiday season to develop creative partnerships within your community, such as charities, framers, or locations for offsite pop-up exhibits.
This season everyone will be looking for cross-promotion opportunities.
Digital is the Social Distance Sales Strategy
The most important way to prepare this holiday season is to get your digital assets in order and ready for shoppers. You probably have already made great strides in this area while the gallery was closed.
If your art gallery uses an online sales platform, review the inventory with a critical eye, and ask:
- Is there more that could be added?
- Are prices or price ranges listed and accurate?
- Does each work of art have enticing information to help a prospective buyer fall in love?
I see so many artworks on these platforms with just the absolute bare minimum of information. That is not exactly maximizing your sales opportunities – is it?
Your Gallery Website and Holiday Shopping
Online sales platforms are great, but your gallery website is where all marketing roads should lead to. I recommend curating a collection of art that speaks to many different buyers and budgets.
Then create a website page just for holiday shopping inspiration – like a gift guide for art. Treat it like a viewing room with lots of useful information that goes beyond an artist’s bio, size, and medium.
While I understand you may have an exhibition going on in December that you have committed to promoting with your artist(s), I’m suggesting that in addition to that, you create a diverse offering specifically for the holiday season. You will want to create marketing campaigns around both.
Collectors also want to see prices, shipping options, and return policies. If you deal in secondary market pieces, include condition reports, provenance, and authenticity information.
Don’t forget to post multiple views of a single work. Doing so helps a prospective art collector envision a piece in their space. This is just smart holiday or not.
Your special holiday webpage should incorporate a clear path to buy with calls to action strategically placed. Also, make sure the page is mobile-friendly. Lots of shopping, as always, will be done on a phone.
Promote this page prominently on your gallery home page. Link to it in all your email communications throughout the holiday season and on your Instagram gallery profile to help drive traffic. You might feature something from the holiday page weekly on social media and link back to it.
For art-loving holiday shoppers, this level of repeated, online information is essential in the decision-making process. Especially during the holidays when your message could get drowned out. Without it, your online sales efforts might not be as profitable.
Consider changing your hours to allow for more convenient shopping to see the art in the gallery. Encourage social distancing private appointments in your newsletters and social media. The repetition of that message is critical.
Once you determine what your gallery’s holiday hours of operations will be, get them updated on the website, Google local business listings, and social media.
Keep these holiday dates in mind. Many shoppers expect discounts and deals, especially on some of these dates. Discuss with your artists if you want to offer discounts beyond your standard working policy.
Below are some ideas for how your gallery might make the most of these shopping opportunities. Make a plan for what you will do and how you will promote early enough so it gains can build excitement with your gallery followers.
- November 26 is Thanksgiving in the US and the (traditional) start of holiday discounting. Although now it seems to be the day after Halloween. Sigh…… That’s just too damn early.
- November 27 is Black Friday, which is the biggest shopping event of the year. The day might present an opportunity for your gallery to hold a special event, which could be virtual or stay open late if you’re able.
- November 28 is Small Business Saturday. People love to support locals. This day might be an opportunity to highlight local artists if on your roster.
- November 30 is Cyber Monday. You might have a handful of artworks on special discount online just for this day. Build excitement early to drive traffic to your gallery’s website.
- December 1 is Giving Tuesday. If your gallery collaborates with a charity, this is the day blow up social media about it.
- December 14 is Free Shipping Day. (ok – this is a new one for me) This day might be an opportunity for a last push for sales if you promote free shipping to sweeten the deal.
Deadlines for Shipping Art during the Holiday
To the Point
It’s best to do this critical planning early, so your gallery’s holiday sales and marketing strategy have ample time to do its magic. Repeated holiday messaging is vital. Make shopping on your gallery website as easy and as fast as possible.
Don’t forget to plan how you will say thank you to your collectors, artists, and staff. You might send handwritten holiday cards for all those who purchased art to support your gallery and artists during this difficult year. Sadly holiday parties are not an option this year.
Your prospective collectors have spent a lot to time looking at their walls this year. Something beautiful for the holidays may be most perfect gift this year.