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  • Alex Israel, View of the exhibition "SUMMER," Almine Rech Gallery, Paris. © Alex Israel. Photo: Zarko Vijatovic. Courtesy of the artist and Almine Rech Gallery.

    Alex Israel, View of the exhibition "SUMMER," Almine Rech Gallery, Paris. © Alex Israel. Photo: Zarko Vijatovic. Courtesy of the artist and Almine Rech Gallery.

  • Have the Stickiest Website this Summer

    With Art Basel as its grand finale, the fair season has come to a close and galleries are facing the doldrums of group shows and summer hours. That makes now the perfect time to plan ahead and jump into projects that have fallen by the wayside.

    But where to start? Recent findings from the TEFAF, Hiscox, and Skate’s reports point to how important revamping your online presence could be. 71% of collectors now buy art sight unseen and 45% visit online art platforms at least weekly. By tackling just a few actionable projects, you can make the most of these slow summer months.

    Read on for part one of our two-part series listing some of the easy ways you can take your digital presence to the next level this summer.

    Online, Stickiness is a Good Thing 

    Stickiness is your website’s ability to retain visitors and get them to return. According to Skate’s, “time on site”— how long the average visitor stays on your site—is more important than the number of visits in determining collector interest. For example, if a collector Googles “Cindy Sherman,” clicks to your site, then clicks “back,” your site was not sticky—the collector “bounced.” In addition to losing a potential collector, this can also lower your site’s rank on Google.  

    ☑ To Do: Track Your Website Metrics

    You can get started now by tracking these core website metrics against industry benchmarks:  

    Spend Time Closing Sales, Not Composing Emails

    Collectors are becoming less reliant on the physical gallery space. A majority (52%) of those surveyed by Hiscox preferred buying online or had no preference purchasing from either a physical or online gallery space. 

    The steady rise of web audiences on online art platforms drew the attention of major players like MoMA and Gagosian last year, who invested heavily in digital. The payoff? Skate’s reported that MoMA’s online store saw a 96% audience growth in a three-month period, with auction leaders Sotheby’s and Christie’s growing their digital footprint by an average of 18%. TEFAF also identified as a clear leader in page view growth.

    To Do: Expand Your Web Footprint

    Leverage the Web to increase your gallery’s footprint, just like these major players. With only 29% of galleries offering collectors the chance to buy works through their website (Hiscox), now is the time to invest in your gallery’s online presence. From fair previews to tools that allow you to send works to collectors instantly, Artsy’s suite of products allows you to activate your inventory like never before—both online and off.

    Browse, Buy, Repeat

    Building and fostering relationships is crucial with online buyers, much like with offline collector relationships. According to Hiscox, 65% of online art sales are repeat purchases, and 20% of online buyers purchase six or more works online. That means that online collectors are loyal and likely to re-engage. 


    This summer, build a database and start engaging collectors online. Make sure all collector info is logged into your client database––is the client a first-time buyer? Which artists or kinds of works did they express interest in? Continue to engage with these collectors through thank you emails and personalized follow-ups, keeping track of their preferences in your database.  

    Clearly, Transparency Makes A Difference 

    Pricing information is becoming more and more important to the new class of online, middle-market collectors. Among collectors under the age of 35 surveyed by Hiscox, 91% say that price transparency is critical when deciding to buy online. Beyond price-awareness, young collectors expect access to more information. Nearly half (45%) feel that buying online is a less intimidating experience compared to buying offline. 

    ☑ To Do: Add a Price Range to Attract Collectors 

    Add a price range to works you have listed on online platforms like Artsy. Listing a price range not only results in inquiries from qualified collectors, but also lets you be transparent without showing exact prices. More importantly, it allows collectors to self-qualify before inquiring on a work, increasing the quality of inquiries. At the same time, make sure you've got flexibility to adjust your listings. Artsy allows galleries to edit or remove prices easily. 

    Increase Your ROI (Return on Images) 

    82% of collectors say their inability to inspect work in person is the #1 barrier to buying art online
    (Hiscox), a sentiment echoed by TEFAF. However, this hasn’t stopped the 71% of online buyers who “inspect” and buy their art digitally. 

    ☑ To Do: Upgrade Image Quality 

    Replace any low-resolution images of your artwork and establish a strict standard for all new images you capture. Collectors expect a near real-life viewing experience from anywhere and you can give it to them with high quality and high-resolution artwork images. We recommend images of at least 1000 x 1000 pixels, although Artsy allows individual image files up to 30 mb.

    Artsy Folio (Artsy's mobile app for galleries) allows galleries to show HD images of their works (with or without internet) on iPhone or iPad. Folio lets you send private offers directly to clients with artworks attached. Additionally, Artsy's collector app includes features like “deep-zoom” and “view in room” mode, providing more detail for collectors. 

    These digital guidelines will become increasingly important as the global online art market continues to expand. Successful galleries, regardless of size or staff, are using this time to set up a digital strategy using the best art technologies and tools available. To find out about joining Artsy’s gallery network, please visit our Gallery Partnerships page.


    Part two of our summer series includes more insights from the TEFAF, Hiscox, and Skate’s reports, as well as social media trends and other tactics to help you win online.

    Elena Soboleva (@elenasoboleva) is a contemporary art Specialist at Artsy. She works with collectors, manages art fair sales, and develops curatorial programming. She studied economics and art history and writes about the art market and online trends.

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