Art and the Internet - Intelligent Retail Review

Interest in the art scene has grown rapidly in recent years, particularly amongst young people. This phenomenon can largely be attributed to the arrival of the internet. The showcasing and sale of art online has democratised a world which was once the preserve of an elite group of wealthy investors and now art, including original art, is truly available to all.

Significant art sales have always hit the headlines, but usually after the sales have been made. Record prices at Sotheby's and Christie's have always inspired attention grabbing news stories but have also served to reinforce the impression that collecting was for a privileged few and that auction houses were something of a closed shop to ordinary people. There was an air of mystery about auction houses which caused them to appear to be somewhat austere and old fashioned, a bit like a gentlemen's club.

The internet, however, has initiated radical changes and the auction houses have done a good job of moving with the times. Pieces are showcased online prior to auctions and in many cases potential investors can now bid online too. Many significant pieces have already been sold to online bidders. Sotheby's sold "The Birds of America" folio by John James for $3.5m his way. Sotheby's have now taken the radical step of teaming up with eBay to broadcast auctions live on the site starting in 2015 with sales from New York.

It is no longer necessary to enter a physical space to take part in an art auction. Those who may have felt that they couldn't enter the likes of Christie's and Sotheby's can now be part of that world and that includes galleries as well as auctions. Many people may have been reticent to visit an exclusive gallery in Mayfair but now they can view their collections online. More people are seeing what's on offer in the art world and more and more pieces are being displayed online. New and lesser known contemporary artists now have a wonderful shop window and art is genuinely for all. No surprise then that original art sales are estimated to be rising at 20% a year.

Enid Hutt Gallery Moves with the Times

We have certainly tried to ensure that we move with the times too here at the Enid Hutt Gallery. Our fabulous collection of original art, sculpture and prints has grown enormously over the years and it just would not have been possible to showcase such an extensive offering if the only way for our customers to view it was to visit one of our galleries. Our website enables us to display most of the works we hold online, making them available to collectors across the world. Whether you are looking for an original Billy Connolly, a limited edition Tim Cotterill frog sculpture or a beautiful Kerry Darlington print, you will find them on our site.

John Cannavan, Tim Cotterill and Kerry Darlington Artwork

Of course selling art in our Aberdeen and Kirkcaldy galleries as well as online does make life more complicated especially as we now have three websites - www.enidhuttgallery.com, www.sculpture-gallery.co.uk and www.mirror-shop.co.uk. We have, therefore, been careful to ensure that our systems reflect the latest technological advances.

EPoS Systems

We've put together a bit of a review of our Intelligent Retail EPoS system and website for you - enjoy!

Our EPoS (electronic point of sale) tills and software ensure that we can maintain accurate stock records with real time adjustments when sales are made either in one of our galleries or online. We can upload new works to the system quickly and display them on one or more of our websites immediately. If our customers enquire about particular artists or works we can interrogate the system to see what we have available for them.

Connect By Intelligent Retail - A Review

Choosing the right Epos software was crucial and we decided that Connect from Intelligent Retail was the right system for us. This user friendly, intuitive system proved straightforward for all of our staff members to get to grips with and it has been impressive how the software has been developed over the years to offer more and more functionality. Connect is award winning EPoS software that allows us to efficiently integrate our in store and online operations. Uploading art work is simple and then we can simply drag and drop the items into our chosen sales channels.

The Connect architecture is second to none and with each till and our back office computer connected to a central database we can access the information we need anywhere and any time. The excellent reporting system of Connect is invaluable and provides the information we need quickly and reliably via the cloud server. Online orders can be despatched swiftly and efficiently from either gallery. Thanks to Connect we can see who our customers are and what they are looking for. We can identify new trends and the work that is most in demand and so ensure that we have the right pieces available to our customers worldwide.

We feel that Connect by Intelligent Retail has been a driving factor in allowing the Enid Hutt Gallery to grow as remarkably and efficiently as it has. As Clarke, AKA The Boss, recently said,

"The system has worked well for us and has been consistently improved over the years. It has been instrumental in making the addition of our second gallery as simple as possible."

At the Enid Hutt Gallery we understand art and we now have a better knowledge of our client base but we are not IT experts and so it has been crucial to have the right support for our systems. Clarke says that,

"The Support team at Intelligent Retail have been excellent and have always responded quickly to any issues. We have always been kept informed of new developments."

The Future

The world of art has changed substantially in recent years and is now open to all. The Enid Hutt Gallery has embraced this new world and has greatly enjoyed the new possibilities offered by the internet. We are now able to showcase a fabulous and diverse collection with something for everyone to enjoy and we are excited to see the new developments that will surely emerge in the future. With the right EPoS software in place we feel confident that we can rise to any challenge and offer our customers a range and a service that is second to none.