The Louvre Turns to E-Commerce, Branded Merchandise Partnerships Amid COVID
No one is immune to the hardships of running a business during the pandemic—not even the Louvre.
The famed Parisian art museum has lost about 90 million Euros (about $108 million) as a result of shutdowns during the pandemic, forcing it to find new ways to generate revenue, just like anyone else.
“We need to find new ways to make money,” Adel Ziane, director of external relations for the Louvre, told the New York Times. “The COVID crisis made it more urgent than ever to diversify and make the most of the Louvre name.”
By now, you can probably figure out what happened next: The museum began leaning heavily on retail and e-commerce.
Last month, the Louvre teamed up with Uniqlo for a co-branded collection of products as part of a four-year licensing agreement.
Hoodie Uniqlo x Musée du louvre 🗿 https://t.co/dDWkly1DvO
— LONGUE VIE A TOUS MÉNNÉS ❤️ (@CaminoTV) February 26, 2021
The museum also inked a deal with tech accessory company Casetify, putting some of its most recognizable works of art, like the Mona Lisa, Venus and Liberty, on smartphone accessories.
— DesignUppp (@DesignUppp) February 15, 2021
On the e-commerce side, the Louvre actually worked together with other museums, such as the Musée d’Orsay and Versailles, to sell its products on the Boutique de Musées website since the beginning of the pandemic. But, wanting a bit more control over its branding and retail output, it started its own shop on the Louvre.fr site.
That online store includes the Uniqlo T-shirts, along with a number of accessories. There are co-branded watches from Swatch, tote bags featuring the Mona Lisa's hands and, of course, face masks decorated in Eugène Delacroix's Liberty Leading the People (seen above).
“We wanted to take control, to promote whatever we wanted, to tell our own stories—and reach the widest possible audience around the world,” Yann Le Touher, head of sponsorships, branding and commercial partnerships, told the Times.
The Louvre is in a position unlike most other businesses, where it can raise funds through things like auctioning off donated pieces of art and museum-related experiences, or renting out the museum as a filming location for Netflix. But the bottom line is that even the most famous museum in the world, full of priceless art that millions of people flock to see every year, sees the value in e-commerce and branded merchandise for generating revenue.