Welcome back. Lots happening here in downtown New Bedford!
In the June Gallery 65 blog you read that the Charles W Morgan was coming to town and that record crowds were expected in downtown New Bedford…and how we wanted to capitalize on that activity. While the downtown events were well attended (despite Hurricane Arthur), the traffic into the Gallery was not: traffic 80, sales 3. As you can imagine, that led to another conversation – as I have said before and said again during this meeting – there are 3 ways to Increase Sales:
Increase traffic and contact opportunities
Increase close ratio (close more traffic opportunities)
Increase average sale
We had 2 issues to address – low traffic into the showroom and low close ratio.
To address low traffic, we looked at the marketing efforts of the Gallery and what actions to take moving forward. They will boost email reach with Mail Chimp and more social media posts with Facebook. They will stop using rack cards for tourists but look to change the format of their website so that they can manage the site themselves and create a greater ecommerce presence.
The other issue was close ratio…3 of 80 is very low, especially coupled with a low average sale. We discussed how to interact initially and create conversations with incoming customers. Laurie Bullard was fabulous with this and suggested what to do to engage with opening questions and to drive the interaction with questions of interest.
This lead to a larger, more relevant conversation: Now that several artists are leaving (and taking their art or leaving it on consignment), and the layout and use of the showroom will change dramatically (Marc St Pierre is coming in and he and Nicole St Pierre will use 50% of the space for studio, reducing the showroom by half), it forced the discussion to not only ‘what stays and where?’, but ‘what is Gallery 65 now?’
The Gallery is currently a cooperative run by members (most of whom will be leaving), somewhat as a gallery, and equally somewhat as a retail gift shop with artistic and original products. But they aren’t functioning completely as a gallery nor as a retail shop, using retail best practices like promotions and sale pricing to drive new business. Nicole bristled at this as it doesn’t square with ‘gallery’ practices, Sarah was intrigued as she is very interested in whatever it takes to sell art pieces, and Laurie was right on top of it as a former successful retail shop owner. Some promotions we discussed were Open Studio special pricing, ‘buy one, get one’ for product that is small and/or needs to move (like Laurie’s photograph greeting cards….which I bought 10 of!). We left it that Nicole would really think about this and talk with Marc and the other artists, to create a clear vision and strategy of what the Gallery will be in the future…in the very near future. This is a critical time for them, as the physical changes and the member/staff changes are significant…and a time that they can really create something new and special for Gallery 65.
We are taking August off as the Gallery changes form and will be back in September….Happy Summer!