Knowing how to evolve with a changing customer base is critical for business success. Especially when the products you’re selling have their roots in the 13th century.
Handcrafted glass has mesmerized visitors to Venice, Italy, for more than 700 years. Beginning in 1290, spectacular pieces sailed from artisan studios on the island of Murano to collectors in distant lands.
Today, you can walk into Markus Gallery on San Marco Square and be surrounded by exquisite handcrafted glass created with techniques as unchanged as the city’s grand architecture and canals.
Each glass sculpture, vase, bowl or other creation is highly fragile. Yet visitors to the gallery ask this question most often: Can you ship it?
Thanks to FedEx, the answer is always a resounding yes. And that’s helped provide solid footing not only for Markus Gallery, but the artisans whose work it showcases.
Evolving with Customers
Perched on one of the most visited pedestrian plazas in the world, Markus Gallery attracts a significant number of customers from the 14 million tourists who visit Venice each year. Key to the gallery’s success is the ability to ship its artwork directly to each customer’s home.
“About 15 years ago, the door-to-door, individual shipment became fundamental to our growth,” says Luigi Amadio, director of Markus Gallery. “Even though we’re shipping large, fragile pieces, we needed a way to make delivery of purchases convenient for our customers.”
A major obstacle for international commerce can be customs clearance. Markus Gallery previously had to ship its packages to an airport where customers were required to pick them up and get them through customs — a definite hindrance to good customer relationships.
“With door-to-door FedEx delivery, our business changed. It’s easy to facilitate movement through customs,” Amadio says. “FedEx makes that possible for us. They provide the technology that tells us the exact documents needed for customs in each country to complete the shipment. And that technology also lets us track the movement of each package online so we can keep customers informed. We can tell customers their 200-pound, carefully packed crate will arrive at their home in a week. And that’s vital to our success.”
Taking It to the Web
Selling from their Venice gallery was one thing. But like the merchants who sailed from Venice hundreds of years ago, everyone at Markus Gallery knew a bigger world was waiting for them. How could they reach that audience of potential glass buyers?
The internet was the answer. The Markus Gallery website allows loyal customers to follow the new work of artists they discovered in the San Marco Square gallery. And it goes far beyond to give more customers easy access to these glass creations, even if they never travel to Venice.
As the audience broadened, so did the role of shipping. Markus Gallery customers now come from all corners of the world. So Markus must be able to rely on the expansive knowledge of its shipping partner. Not only to make deliveries, but to advise Markus on export opportunities, changes in customs regulations, technology updates and a variety of shipping options to satisfy customers wherever they happen to be located.
“The fact that we can ship these glass objects so easily and safely, within very reasonable time frames, has meant an increase of about 50 percent in revenue for Markus Gallery,” Amadio says. That success in the global market comes right back to the local community. Thanks to a combination of Venetian tourists and art lovers around the world, traditional craftspeople can remain true to their artistic roots — creating astonishing, sought-after objects just as they have for more than 800 years.
Take a visit to the Markus Gallery with FedEx Access on YouTube.
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