Compared to other consumer goods markets, art galleries have long been reluctant to innovate through digitisation. However, the global outbreak of COVID-19 forces art galleries to reconsider the role of digital channels. This study aims to provide a better understanding of the art gallery business model and its related difficulties of integrating digital channels into marketing, communication, and sales. Twenty interviews with gallery owners and managers in Vienna and Salzburg were conducted. They were asked about their attitudes towards, opinions on, and experiences with digital channels, and how they reacted to the restrictions caused by COVID-19. The findings verify that COVID-19 has led galleries of any type to reconsider their digital strategy. We identified limitations with respect to digital channels: plain presentation of information online; lacking or distanced personal interaction; online anonymity that disconnects from the social art environment; increased information and price transparency; a more commercial appearance; limited resources for digital adaptations. Galleries striving to integrate digital channels into their business model should pay attention to ensuring that analogue, as well as digital, channels are integrated into a coherent system where personal contact and the physical location remain the core of the business.
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