Offline, Online Art Firms Align

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Offline art shop Image Arts Etc. and online retailer Art.com this month are joining forces in a co-marketing pact to feed off each other's customer bases.


Under the partnership, announced last week, Image Arts Etc. will co-brand sections of its 26 bricks-and-mortar stores with Art.com.


In return, Art.com will provide the retailer with creative for in-store displays.


The two plan an unspecified revenue split from the venture.


"This partnership will drive online customers into Image Arts Etc. franchise outlets and retail customers online to Art.com, creating new revenue streams for both partners," said Anthony DeSio, co-founder of Image Arts Etc. and Mail Boxes Etc.


To jump-start the initiative, Art.com will launch an e-mail to its "very large database of art lovers," said Michael Kahn, vice president of marketing at Art.com. He declined to give numbers.


Art.com sends out more than 1 million e-mails each month to its user database, and other names purchased from list companies.


E-mails will go out each month to promote the availability of the Art.com Classics galleries in Image Arts Etc., Kahn said. Art.com also will promote Image Arts Etc. grand openings and product launches. "As they open more stores, we will be giving them more support," Kahn said.


Other plans call for Image Arts Etc. to offer Art.com's classic black-and-white photographs from the Hulton-Getty Collection. Getty Images, an e-commerce image provider to professional and consumer markets, owns both the Hulton-Getty Collection and Art.com.


Art.com president John Hallberg said launching products into bricks-and-mortar retail outlets, "is an important part of our strategy going forward."


Image Arts Etc., San Diego, debuted in 1999. It combines a frame shop, art gallery, sign shop and portrait studio into a single digital-imaging center. Harnessing the power of wide format printing as well as photo editing and retouching software, Image Arts Etc. provides customers with a variety of art and photo products.


Art.com offers prints, photographs, art-themed gifts, custom matting and framing and the "Learn About Art" consumer resource.
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