ArtId Art Blog
I was directed to a news release recently which positioned this premise: The Internet is the Top Media Choice for the Luxury Market.
It went on to proclaim that 44% of those people who purchased luxury items (the time frame was not noted) reported that the Internet and or a specific website had a significant influence on their decision-making. As in, ___very to somewhat important.___
According to Pam Danziger,a luxury market consultant located at www.unitymarketing.com, articles and reviews rank close behind, with 42% reporting being influenced by editorial matter. Newspaper ads account for 31% and television programs and commercials 28%.
For most retailers, who are hard-pressed to justify 6% to 10% from their gross receipts as an advertising budget__"especially in an economic downturn, it must be difficult to envision spending some or all of that money to advertise on the Web__"especially when the Web appears to them as an endless labyrinth of seemingly unrelated rabbit holes.
The Complexities of The Luxury Shopper
And though any study of the more recent habits of the species referred to as ___Shopperholicus Americanus___ must be quite a bit more complex than those figures indicate, one is compelled to pause and wonder, ___Well, okay, they__™re influenced, but are they actually purchasing luxury items online?___
That__™s where the rubber meets the road, does it not? And that begs the following questions: ___ What exactly are they doing when they get influenced? ___ Are they shopping? ___ Are they buying? ___ Are they gathering data?
According to a study undertaken by DoubleClick located at www.doubleclick.com, an online marketing company, there is a ___process___ through which most consumers go, especially when they are considering an item of a discretionary nature, a more luxurious item__"like a work of art.
And the point in that process in which they are ___touched___ by some type of marketing outreach can have different effects on them. For the purposes of the study, the purchase process was divided into three stages: ___ Building awareness. ___ Further learning. ___ Purchase decision.
After interviewing 1,800 respondents, the study concluded: In the ___building awareness stage,___ television and word-of-mouth played the strongest roles.
The study went on to say that the Internet, which includes websites, online advertising and marketing, and e-mail makes its greatest impact in the ___further learning and purchase decision___ stages.
Now for an old sales dog like me, I was gratified to hear the study emphasize that despite those other impressive percentages, human contact via sales personnel beat out the Internet in most categories.
So what does it all mean? Here__™s what I think we can take away from these studies:
In times of travail in the art gallery industry, when the economy is challenging and money is tight, it pays to be in one of two areas of our business: the upper end or the lower end. It__™s the guys in the middle who tend to get hurt.
The companies whose ideal customer demographic profile is the married female between the ages of 25 and 45 from a mean-income family of between $50,000 and $65,000. That woman often stops buying artwork when things get tough.
But despite that, the studies tend to confirm what I have been saying over and over in this space for a year, we can (and we had better) market our luxury items over the Internet, because more and more, it has become the medium of choice for information gathering.
Todd Bingham is a sales trainer and consultant to the art gallery industry who still believes that selling is something one does on one__™s feet and not a monitor. In conjunction with Art World News, he has written five books on art sales. His company also does web design for art gallery businesses. His sites can be reached through: www.toddbinghamfineart.com or by calling (800) 697-8935.