January 27, 2020
The Art of Ecommerce | Digital Culture Network Case Study | Revenue generating for art collections

The Art of Ecommerce | Digital Culture Network Case Study | Revenue generating for art collections

hi this is Emma Roberts tech champion
for e-commerce for the digital culture Network in this episode we speak with
art UK a cultural education charity who’ve helped organisations deliver
their collections online to a global audience to date they have over 3,000 UK
public collections online this video looks at how the art UK shop is
providing collections with an opportunity to generate additional
online revenue we also hear from Manchester art gallery and asked why
they decided to partner with art UK for their online shop I’m Andy Ellis I’m
director at UK we started as the public catalog Foundation where a charity in
2003 the initial ambitious project was to to catalog the nation’s oil painting
collection and a key part of our the result d’etre is that the art that we
own as a nation is mostly in store the vast majority of it is in store or in
buildings without routine access and much of that art has not been
photographed so being able to make that accessible is absolutely keen to turn to
what we do the leading part of the infrastructure
is the is the art UK website associated with that or a number of sub sites so
for example we have the art detective site which helps collections fill in
missing information about artworks artists and sitters we have plans for a
tagger website to allow the nation to tag the nation’s art collection
obviously the shop is a key aspect of that infrastructure and then behind the
scenes there are a couple of portals the collections have access to the
collections portal and the permissions portal which allow collections to add
artworks to the site and determine the licensing around the images that we put
online for the collections I’m Camilla Stewart head of commercial programs and
connection partnerships for art UK connections that are joining the shop
now they can sign up to sell prints both framed and unframed they can sign up to
sell licenses and they can sign up to sell their own merchandise shop is set
up so that most of the fulfillment is done through heritage digital they
fulfill prints and licenses so we don’t get directly involved in that in
manufacturing any products collections if they are uploading their own products
these are usually products that they have developed for their their in
gallery or their in museum retail store it’s important to say that art UK
doesn’t take a share of the revenue the supplier who obviously does the work in
fulfilling the prints they take a share of the revenue to cover the costs that
they incur in fulfilling the prints but the rest of the revenue goes back to the
collection to support to support the collection in whatever way they see fit hi I’m Charles McKenzie head of
commercial at Manchester art gallery so at the time that art UK came to us
only been with the company for a few months so I had considered the option of
adding online retail but again lack of resources lack of time and staff and
money meant that we had no immediate plans to set up any kind of online shop
I’d worked on online shops and a few other venues and I knew the amount of
time and labour that was involved in setting something up from scratch and
there was so much other work to get done and the physical shop that I knew that
we were several years off being able to do anything online physical fulfillment
of of orders is actually done by a shop team so orders come in through Art UK
they get emailed across to us we give it to the shop team they then pack and post
out all of the orders themselves I would definitely say that people’s motivations
to buy online are very different to their motivations to buy in store when
we have people in the gallery and they’re coming through the gift shop we
sell a lot of souvenir products so things that are directly related to the
collections and what people have just seen on their visit to the gallery
whereas online they’re more general gift shoppers or specific academics looking
for something in particular so we don’t tend to sell a lot of
branded gallery product online but we do sell a lot of design wares and home
wares and unusual kind of curated selection of gifts and we also sell
catalogs online which are very popular with international buyers so we ship a
lot of those abroad my experience of online retellings that
it takes a lot of time and efforts and marketing to really pull in the sales
but we actually went live with our product range in the middle of November
so just in time for the Christmas audience and our first six week sales
were far beyond what I was expecting a huge range of frames on art UK so this
was just selecting a real mix and match to show the breadth and variety that’s
available I went quite random with the selection
and and made sure that we had everything represented at one way or another the
digitization we do is is project based so the first big project was the the oil
paintings and that through funding raised publicly and principally
privately there actually we could offer free digitization to every public art
collection across the UK to digitize their oil paintings and similarly now
with funding principally from the National Lottery Heritage Fund plus
match funders we are photographing sculptures outdoors we’re recording all
the sculptures indoors and photographing twenty twenty five percent of those so
those are projects that are funded projects that allow us to to digitize
the nation’s art collection in in a very efficient way digital gives us this
ability to reach a global audience I mean this is free access to to see the
nation’s art collection to anyone anywhere in the world so it means that
you know a collection in Leeds can share its art with people in Sunderland and
Seattle and Singapore and all of those people can see it digital allows us to
reach audiences that wouldn’t normally necessarily connect with culture so I would say definitely think about
who your customer is the same as you would do for your physical gift shop
think about the differences of the audience online and what it is they’re
looking to buy another good tip is to think about things that are easy to post
we definitely see especially around Christmas lots of orders for things that
you liked and flat and can be easily shipped so I think that’s a
consideration that customers are making when they’re ordering online the third
tip would be don’t underestimate the time it does take once you’re set up to
constantly keep adding new products and keeping on top of it and making it fresh
and interesting Digital is just the beginning really and for us you know the
key part of what we do on a daily basis is really making it sing for us making
it work to the benefit of our audiences to the benefit of the team so that we
can tell stories behind the art and engage our audiences in an increasingly
appealing way year in year out if you’re interested knowing more about how to get
involved with art UK or want to know about further e-commerce solutions or
best practice get in touch with the digital culture network today

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