Black Door Gallery’s tips for customer engagement

Parnell-based owners of Black Door Gallery, Neala and Justin, are the Supreme Winner of 2019’s Retail NZ Awards. To choose the Supreme Winner, our judges look for a business that uses superior tech for a great customer experience, and has a commitment to the local community – both of which Neala and Justin do fantastically.

What upcoming retail tech are you looking to implement?
Augmented reality. Customers can simply hold up their phone in their space, and place potential artworks. With new apps on the market we are constantly on the look-out for the latest developments in the tech space. We are currently looking at implementing technology to help our customers visualise how an artwork might look in their home. This will enable us to immediately show how a painting might look on a customer’s living room wall or a sculpture on their sideboard.

What’s currently vital for your customers shopping experience?
Our comprehensive website is a major resource for us. Here we list the details of every product ensuring our customers can find that particular piece that caught their eye with ease. We update this daily.

How do you make meaningful connections with your customers, via digital channels?
For us, Facebook and Instagram, along with our website, eDMs and Artsy. Our belief is that our in-store experience should really match our digital channels. This means being true to our product and space, with our online customer interactions.

We focus on maintaining a few quality digital platforms, and we don’t bombard our customers with content. Instead, we prefer to share considered and beautiful imagery, tell the stories about our artists, and current gems you can find in the gallery – we feel it is more personable this way and in line with our brand.

How do you build a strong relationship with your local community?
Unique events are a great way to gather our community together, and while traditionally this is done just through exhibition openings, we like to be a little creative and do other kinds of events to bring a bit of fun or surprise.

Our Easter Hunt gets people out and enjoying the charming area of Parnell, hunting for beautiful hand-blown glass eggs.

Also, we participate in Auckland festivals, ensuring our business is connected to local happenings, contributing to our community and local retail environment.

How do you throw a hot and highly engaged event?
We work hard to find the best artists, and to create interesting and inviting events. With a bit of promotion this generally leads to good turnout. Some live music and refreshments also help!

For retailers wanting to do a product release event, what would be your biggest piece of advice?
Stay true to your brand but be creative. Make people think and do something a little different, it’s the best way to cut through the noise and stand out.

The personal touch can also make the real difference. We record our client’s interests and personally get in touch with them when we know they will love a new release.

What has been your biggest learning overall?
The importance of finding your audience, and to be where they are, both physically and digitally. Always be at your best and listen to your customers.


This is part one of two of our Black Door Gallery blogs. Part Two will bring you advice from Black Door Gallery about visual merchandising, based around their company ethos.

To our readers, we want to know – what kind of technology are you currently embracing in your business, or looking to adopt for future? How are you engaging with your local community? Let us know here.


By Tammy Kuo
Marketing Exec | Retail NZ

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