Welcome to our website. Digital business strategies for museums.

Amber Geurts, The Netherlands

The process of digitization has brought about a lot of new opportunities which are not restricted by time, place or material impermanence. Also on the websites of museums a lot of these options and possibilities are nowadays provided in order to attract, for example, visitors and/ or resources. This is why previous research has already started to document the use of these various possibilities on the websites of museums (e.g. Broekhuizen & Huysmans, 2002; De Haan, Mast, Varekamp & Janssen, 2006; Lopez, Margapoti, Maragliano & Bove, 2010; Marty, 2008; Nash, 1992).

However, the way these various online possibilities constitute digital business strategies that can be implemented by museums has received only little attention. This is why in this study 4 digital business strategies have been developed based on the literature review and the options available on the websites. These strategies, which consist of several similar online possibilities and applications, are 1) e-commerce, 2) online promotion and marketing, 3) social media and 4) interactivity.

In order to find out more about the use of these strategies on the websites of museums a quantitative content analysis of 60 Dutch museum websites has been conducted in 2010. The results indicate that some of these strategies (e.g. e-commerce or communication) are used extensively, while other strategies could be implemented more. These results therefore do not only provide an overview of the different strategies implemented on the websites of museums. These results can also be used by museums to develop suitable digital business strategies, that utilise the rather undiscovered parts of the online museum world.