Christie’s experiments with business models offering pre-auction ‘buy it now’ prices

Innovation and experimentation in the digital art market is not just about technology: the impact of ecommerce business models is prompting established companies such as Christie’s to re-examine their sales strategies in order to shake out new revenue streams.

The Telegraph reports that Christies are “to break with 250 years of tradition by offering items for immediate purchase at a fixed price, similar to how Ebay allows shoppers to bypass the bidding process.” Forty two lots will be offered for sale online and in the company’s Kensington saleroom at a fixed (premium, tax-inclusive) price in advance of their auction sale. Although referring to it as a “new approach to buying” the experiment is cleverly timed to coincide with the Christmas gift-buying market (even offering gift-wrapping). And in a further indication of the importance of reaching out to new customers both online and via their saleroom:

“Buyers don’t have to bid – they can walk into our saleroom in South Kensington and walk out with their purchase, or they can visit our website. If people aren’t familiar with Christie’s or the auction process, it is a good way to introduce them.”

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