Online Viewing Rooms have been one of the most talked about digital solutions in the art world during the pandemic, but how do you know if you’re doing it right? That is the very question we delved into during April 23rd’s edition of our ArtEvolve Weekly Webinar Series.
This week we were joined by Joe Elliott, Director of Sales & Marketing at Artlogic – an art technology company that creates integrated websites, databases, apps, and, of course, Online Viewing Rooms. They’ve been so busy with OVRs this past month, they have 40 going live in the next week and another 55 in the queue!
What is an Online Viewing Room?
There’s some confusion in the art world about what exactly constitutes an Online Viewing Room. Even with those organizations interested in creating them! Joe took us through how he defines an OVR after years of experience in the technology.
An Online Viewing Room can be defined as:
- A form of highly curated online exhibition
- Deeply immersive using the latest web technologies
- Engaging with very developed multimedia content
The functional elements of a good OVR:
- Data capture. Users are asked to give personal data, usually name and email, in order to access the Online Viewing Room.
- Time sensitive. Online Viewing Rooms are often only accessible to the public for a limited time, just like a real exhibition. Sometimes you’ll see a countdown timer even before an OVR opens to drive traffic and buzz.
- Pricing Transparency. In Online Viewing Rooms there tends to be pricing shown for all types of artwork, including those of high value.
- Show Size/Scale. New digital tools that allow prospective collectors to see an artwork within context, including on a wall or next to everyday objects.
Question: What is the biggest barrier to sale you are encountering online?
Results (in order of most votes to least):
- Collectors unwilling to commit without seeing piece’s condition
- Difficulty communicating online the value of a work to collectors
- Images or video not high enough quality
- Lack of in person contact with an expert
- Uncertain shipping costs and delivery times
- Unsure about the scale/size of the artwork
- Concerns about authenticity
The number one result is not a surprise. In the Hiscox Online Art Trade Report for the past few years the top reported obstacle to online sales has been condition concerns.
How Do You Create An Exceptional Online Viewing Room?
- Targeted Marketing Initiatives. Use the data capture function to send information and announcements only to those clients you know are interested.
- Quality, Not Quantity. Don’t be afraid of putting prices front and center. You may receive fewer inquiries, but they will be higher quality and more likely to purchase.
- Variety. The multimedia capabilities of a CMS (Content Management System) designed to create Online Viewing Rooms are endless. Use them to create a varied experience that changes periodically – just like real life gallery exhibitions.
- Tell A Story. Engaging prospective buyers isn’t just about high quality images, it’s about helping them connect emotionally with the works. Use video and written copy to share a holistic narrative that may include the history, process, and even contributions from the artist.
- Involve The Artist. In traditional exhibitions there tends to be a dearth of knowledge about the artist. Use their creativity and story to make your OVR more engaging and authentic.
What is the role of OVRs in bringing the art world online?
Online Viewing Rooms allow for more open and honest communication between art institutions and the general public. From clear pricing to revealing an artist’s process, OVRs are a vehicle for art dealers to be more transparent and connected with their audience. Online Viewing Rooms are also a great equalizer – they allow anyone to access an exhibition from anywhere in the world.
If you’d like to join us at a future ArtEvolve virtual event, please visit this link to RSVP: https://bit.ly/3eMg3Nn
A special thank you to our guest speaker, Joe Elliott of Artlogic, as well as Articheck’s own Lee Cavaliere, for joining us.