Pay-ving the way

The artwork, the payment, and the solution – introducing a new age of buying and selling art.
4 minutes to read

Be it groceries, clothing, fresh flowers, or luxury items - you name it, you can buy it online. However, when it comes to the buying and selling of art, the art world has been somewhat hesitant to jump on the digital bandwagon.

There are a few practical reasons for this of course, art has a long tradition of face-to-face trade. And then there are logistical matters to consider, artworks are unique, which makes shipping and delivery a challenge: the nuance of the items makes it hard to standardise fulfilment. Plus, there's KYC (Know Your Customer) and AML (Anti Money Laundering) regulations where relevant - all have thus far stood in the way of the art market from thriving completely online. That is, until now.

The past few years show a general uptick in online sales for the art world at large. Catalysed in part by the pandemic, the online trade of art has boomed over the past five years, and this trajectory shows no sign of slowing.

The Art Market 2023 Report states that 95% of collectors had purchased works of art at some stage without viewing them in person first, with just over half (51%) doing so regularly. 69% had purchased directly from a gallery website in 2022, and 53% from an online or social media platform. These figures indicate a shift in the market: an increasing amount of art sales are conducted online - meaning galleries, dealers and artists need to prepare for what is fast becoming the norm throughout the market on a global scale.

In fact, we're witnessing a boom for the online art trade: "when asked about the volume of online sales in 2022 compared to 2021, 38% [of galleries] said that their sales volume increased" Artsy Art Industry Trends 2023 report. With ecommerce now commonplace, it follows that there is an appetite for digital payment solutions for galleries, dealers, and artists to sell artworks directly to collectors safely and securely.

The newfound market comfortability with spending online suggests that digital pay solutions will be increasingly adopted by the collector community. In order to streamline the previously manual elements of an art sale, collectors will come to expect to be able to pay digitally for a work. It's vital that galleries maintain pace with the industry, and investing now is the surefire way to safeguard for the future.

The current manual process of selling an artwork is out of step with the rest of the consumer market. When a collector comes to buy a piece of art they can encounter a series of hoops to jump through to actualise a transaction. Once the invoice is issued, the collector has to call the gallery and pass their details over the phone, or call/log into their bank to manually enter payment details. Then, the gallery has to manually check the bank statement to ensure that the payment was made on time. This creates an off-putting 'pay barrier' that's potentially harmful to both the sale and the relationship (particularly in relation to the next generation of collectors who are just stepping into the art world as serious buyers).

Digital payments are streamlined and more convenient for the collector. They're more secure and reduce the risk of human error. Plus, with 87% of businesses reporting that they are typically paid after their invoice due date, taking the lift out of the payment process via a simple digital payment option is the first step in making sure those invoices are paid on time. 

Artlogic has created the solution: fast, easy and secure payments that expedite the process of selling art, removing traditional barriers, and helping to build strong and lasting relationships between collectors and gallerists in the long run. In a matter of clicks, Artlogic Pay will allow collectors to pay a deposit or invoice immediately and directly, without any hassle.

Imagine being able to lock in a deposit right there and then at an art fair. Gone are the days when you'd shake on a sale and take the piece down from the booth, trusting that the interested collector will fulfil their promise to pay the deposit and invoice at a later date. The art world once ran almost exclusively on trust, but now the art world can run on certainty: certainty that deposits/invoices will be paid, certainty that those payments are safe and secure, and certainty that 'sold' really does mean sold.

That being said, trust is still an important factor. Would you use a digital payment option to pay a large sum of money if it didn't look trustworthy? Most likely not. And the same goes for any collector. By using Stripe – the globally-recognised and trusted fintech firm – as the chosen payments processor, Artlogic Pay provides the assurance to its users that their payment is both safe and PCI-certified secure.

The experiential element of an art sale shouldn't end until the final transaction is made – meaning that the payment experience has to be just as slick as the sale itself. With research from Barclaycard showing that 58% of consumers will abandon a purchase if the payment process is overly complicated, it's clear that a user-friendly interface is essential to mitigating the risk of non-payment.

Finally, when it comes to managing your internal operations, Artlogic Pay will house all data in one space, updating in real-time, so you and your team are able to see with clarity and accuracy what's been paid, part paid, or outstanding. All without having to call the bank, or trawl through statements. Being able to access the correct payment status for each artwork in real time will enhance your efficiency immeasurably… Welcome to the future.

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June 13, 2023