Monday, January 05, 2009

eCommerce is a Welcome Addition to the Art Market


Lately I’ve been thinking about the influence the internet has had on the mainstream art world. One can already notice the fact that many gallery represented artists have a personal website-- some are exploring eCommerce as well. That said, there is no doubt that the next generation of artists and art collectors will be tech savvy in general-- having been raised with the World Wide Web. I expect that we will observe an extreme shift toward utilizing the internet within the context of the art world as a whole in the near future. I can foresee advances in eCommerce involving the art market as well as galleries striving for online visibility (that will be a hard fight since so many have slacked on it).

The possibility of a great shift makes sense when you consider the number of artists who have been utilizing the internet in order to gain exposure as well as the number who have explored the potential of eCommerce in recent years. It goes without saying that artists are leading this charge-- and that is exactly why gallerists will eventually pursue it in mass. In other words, the galleries will have to fill a need that the artists they represent obviously desire-- the need for high online visibility and alternative marketing by utilizing eCommerce. My guess is that artists in the near future will expect this from those who represent them.
When this great shift occurs I predict that artists will discover these options independent of the gallery that represents them if said gallery has failed to offer eCommerce and high online visibility. Again, the next generation of artists and art collectors will most likely expect a gallery to offer eCommerce and to have a visible online presence. Thus, I think a gallery owner would be better off exploring the possibility now in order to be prepared for the future. No matter what happens it does not hurt to have an improved online presence, true?
I will not go as far as to say that eCommerce will replace the traditional art market, but I will say that it is certainly a viable alternative-- a welcome addition to the art market. That said, I realize that traditionalists of the art market will firmly state that buying art online will never replace viewing and buying art in person. I agree to a point. However, one must remember that the same was said about other items and services that are now commonly sold online.
That is not to suggest that art is an ‘item’ or a ‘service‘-- that is up to the individual to decide -- it simply reveals how naysayers have been proven wrong in the past concerning eCommerce. People are starting to 'get' it. My guess is that we will see an increase in galleries selling art online by the end of 2009.
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Take care, Stay true,
Brian Sherwin
Senior Editor

1 comment:

J said...

Gallerists always get a chuckle about the net and selling art but I think the galleries that embrace the direction the global market is going will have the last laugh. It is sad when an artist can sell a piece online within months of having a website with Paypal while his art is collecting dust at a gallery. That is just how it is though. Each case is different though.