Education Helps Sell UV Glazing; a New Survey Reveals a Positive Trend: More Consumers Are Getting the Message about Protecting Their Artwork with UV-Filtering Glazing

By Bisoux, Tricia | Art Business News, April 2003 | Go to article overview

Education Helps Sell UV Glazing; a New Survey Reveals a Positive Trend: More Consumers Are Getting the Message about Protecting Their Artwork with UV-Filtering Glazing


Bisoux, Tricia, Art Business News


There's good news for framers who fear hearing the dreaded "How much?!" from their customers. A new survey commissioned by Tru Vue of McCook, Ill., finds that custom framing buyers are becoming more savvy about the benefit of UV-filtering glazing--and they're willing to pay more to get it.

The survey, titled "Consumer Buying Habits in Custom Framing," was conducted in 2002 by Sommers Marketing Research, an independent firm in Buffalo Grove, Ill. The results indicate a positive change in consumer attitudes toward custom framing: Of 400 consumers surveyed (who had purchased framing at least once in the past year), 57 percent knew about UV-filtering glazing. Furthermore, two-thirds said they would purchase UV-filtering glazing for their art, even if it added 15 percent to the cost.

These findings reflect increasing consumer awareness of the importance of conservation framing. The survey also indicates the level of control custom framers have over the selling situation: That is, the more framers tell consumers about the factors that can damage their treasures, the more consumers are willing to pay to protect them.

Emphasize Education

Surprisingly, of the 57 percent who knew about conservation glazing, only 45 percent said they learned that information from their framers, indicating that framers' message about conservation glazing may bear repeating. After all, the survey found that customers who knew about conservation glazing bought two to three more framing jobs--and paid more for them--per year than those who didn't.

This comes as no surprise to Susan Gittlen of Whispering Woods Gallery in Holland, Pa., who has long used educational techniques to enhance her sales. For example, she often shows customers two examples of the same image--one framed with regular glass and one protected with conservation glass.

The former sample came courtesy of a customer who had chosen regular glass the first time around. She had placed the print beneath a bathroom skylight and returned to Gittlen's shop when the colors had faded. Gittlen replaced the print as a goodwill gesture but now uses it to show the damage caused by sunlight and fluorescent lights.

"When customers don't believe how quickly things can fade, I simply show them the samples," explained Gittlen. "I don't have to tell customers about conservation glazing as often as I used to. I probably sell conservation glass 95 percent of the time."

Even if consumers are uneasy about the price, it helps to explain the long-term savings a quality framing treatment represents, said John Grow of Artistic Framing in Fort Worth, Texas. "Many people say, `Oh, it's just a cheap $25 print,'" he said. "But I explain the cost of remounting a new print if the old one fades. I tell them that they can save $40 down the road by spending an extra $10 today."

Price, No Barrier

The survey also explored how consumers choose and keep a framer. Interestingly, it found that price is not the No. 1 factor--in fact, it's not even in the top five. In addition, 76 percent chose to use the same framer, citing the following reasons:

* The proximity of the frame shop (33 percent);

* Appreciation of the work/ value (23 percent);

* A friend's recommendation (20 percent);

* Knowledge and helpfulness of the framer (20 percent);

* Good selection (16 percent);

* A coupon or discount (10 percent). …

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