Art galleries are known for their clean lines, crisp lighting and airy feel. That’s because gallery owners want to make sure other objects aren’t competing for shoppers’ attention. But when art is being sold online, it seems presentation is often overlooked. Cluttered websites and images that are too small to be appreciated or too large to load properly can drive customers away. And with many people using mobile devices to shop online, optimizing your site for ease of use across multiple platforms is essential, if you want to convert visitors into customers.

The demand

Mobile shopping is a growing trend; by 2015, purchases made via mobile devices in the United States could reach $31 billion. For people on the go, mobile shopping allows them to make a purchase when it’s convenient for them. So if your website isn’t optimized for mobile, don’t expect customers to come back at a later time, when they’re sitting in front of a desktop computer. If you miss the opportunity to win-over a customer immediately, odds are he won’t come back.


Gallery owners and independent artists are beginning to recognize the power of mobile website optimization. In a recent redesign of its website, San Francisco’s Fraenkel Gallery streamlined content and removed Flash features that could interfere with mobile device functionality. The result is a clean, easy-to-navigate design that makes browsing the gallery’s photographs simple.

Mobile users increasingly expect mobile shopping transactions to be as easy – if not easier – than making purchases via a desktop computer. Images should be resized so the site loads quickly, and the site should avoid the use of horizontal scrolling, because many mobile browsers can’t process scrolling effectively.

Part of the plan

Optimizing your art site for mobile should not be the only part of your digital marketing campaign. If you are unveiling the mobile site for the first time (after some extensive testing and tweaks) tie the announcement into your social media, blog and subscriber email list. Offer a shopping incentive for those who purchase through mobile to encourage new shoppers to sign up. As part of a multi-pronged mobile marketing campaign, you can even send SMS messages to your customers to announce art shows, sales and other events.

These incentives can help encourage habits of visiting your mobile site which will result in more purchases if your design is user-friendly. Look at other websites that you frequent and decide what you like about them – or what features might make you shy away from making a purchase if you were accessing them with a mobile device. And despite the popularity of iPhones and iPads, don’t neglect to think about customers who use other platforms. Some designs could look quite different, depending on the mobile device.

Stay ahead of your competition by choosing the best way to present your art online. When you invest in creating a quality mobile site, you’re also building your brand reputation and making your gallery a place people want to be.