Sotheby’s Ramps Up Digital Offer, Hiring Gareth Jones as CMO

LONDON — Sotheby’s is thinking increasingly like an e-commerce operator, with digital sales and online strategies targeted to a new generation of buyers and collectors.

As part of that strategy it has hired online marketeer Gareth Jones as its chief marketing officer.

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Until now Jones held a similar global title at Farfetch, and has worked in online marketing for more than three decades at retailers including eBay and Carphone Warehouse.

He will report to Sotheby’s chief executive officer Charles Stewart and work with members of the executive team on a global marketing strategy to support the sales calendar.

Jones has been charged with deepening engagement with clients and growing audiences, as well as deploying research and data analytics “to create a unified best-in-class client experience to bring our industry-leading suite of offerings to life,” Sotheby’s said.

At Farfetch, Jones led a team of 200 people with a remit that spanned brand and marketing strategies across 180 countries.

During his nearly three-year tenure at Farfetch, his responsibilities were broad and included digital performance and demand generation investment; CRM and the scaling of data driven personalization; strategy and insights; marketing experiences and channel diversification; brand and content, and media sales.

Before joining Farfetch, he was the U.K. chief marketing officer for eBay where over a five-year period he helped grow the active buyer base to 26 million customers and GMV to $14 billion and launched the new brand positioning and playbook, which included an increased focus on sustainability.

Sotheby’s is fast making inroads in digital.

The company said that Buy Now, its online destination for extraordinary fine art and luxury objects available for immediate purchase, has grown more than 100 percent in gross sales.

The offer has recently launched in Asia in response to the growing demand from new and existing collectors in the region.

The company said that in 2022 it saw a strong audience increase in both reach and demographics “with continued investments in seamless digital client experiences and cultural collaborations” with creatives including Skepta, Robert Pattinson, Robbie Williams and Jerry Gogosian.

The company said it has 4.7 million social followers across all platforms, and there are more digital initiatives to come.

January will see the expansion of Sotheby’s Metaverse, a destination for curated digital artworks and collectibles.

The Sotheby’s Metaverse will include a peer-to-peer venue for secondary sales, with transactions executed on the Ethereum and Polygon blockchains. The company said it is “committed” to the digital art and collectibles community.

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