Established in 1793, the Musée du Louvre is one of the world’s largest and most visited museums. Despite its age and size, the Louvre has become one of the most forward thinking and digitally innovative museums, resulting in increasing numbers of visitors every year. In particular, the Louvre has been able to create and capture value because of its partnership approach and consumer-centric focus. It engages in digital innovation with specific aims of enriching visitor experience and enhancing exposure of its art collections. Here, I will explore three digital implementations that have helped the Louvre attract a wider audience.
Partnership with Nintendo
In 2012, an internal study at the museum revealed that only 4% of museum visitors were renting an audio-guide. These guides had been created with the goal of helping visitors deepen their understanding of artwork and exhibits; however, they were increasingly seen as outdated by the average visitor. In an effort to help make museum visits more interactive and fun, particularly for the digitally native younger generations, the Louvre partnered with Japanese consumer electronics and video game company Nintendo.
Through this partnership, the Nintendo 3DS device – one of the newest and most popular consoles at the time – was used to display over 700 commentaries on works of art, interactive maps, and 3D renditions of sculptures and paintings. The visual elements of the 3DS allowed visitors to more closely interact with artwork and served as a platform to pioneer early augmented reality aspects in the museum. The partnership was particularly successful in broadening the younger-than-30 and foreign visitor segments to the museum. This implementation was successful because it was user-centric; visitors became more engaged and could tailor their museum experience to individual preferences.
Interactive Website and Mobile App
While the Nintendo partnership helped increase engagement in the Louvre, management also leveraged digital innovations to captivate visitors before and after their visits. The Louvre website has become one of the most digitally advanced for a museum; it offers 3000 pages of free contents from HD reproductions of artworks to virtual tours. More importantly, the website is built and updated with the customer experience in mind. This year, the website was revamped to implement AI-based conversational functionalities in order to better help visitors prepare for their visits. Because of its focus on providing value for visitors – by presenting educational materials rather than just trying to sell tickets – the Louvre website attracts over 15 million unique visits every year. Only 5% of visitors go to the museum without having interacted with the website first, while over two-thirds of website users end up visiting the museum in person. It’s particularly significant that the website has not cannibalized physical visits; rather, it has served as a complement to funnel engaged users to paying an in-person visit to the museum. In 2015, the Louvre also developed a permanent exhibition called the “Petite Galerie,” which was linked to an AR mobile app so that users can experience restored versions of artworks in their original state.
Data-driven decision making
The Louvre has also been a pioneer in implementing data-driven decision making. With over 10 million visitors a year, it’s especially important that the museum is able to optimize operations in order to accommodate visitors, quantify growth and attendance, continue to strategize outreach, and monetize the visitors. The museum employs data analytics in order to track visitation trends for different exhibits, allowing management to better cater future offerings to growing needs and expectations. A digital tool was also implemented in 2019 that allows Louvre agents to track incidents and solve them in real-time, allowing them to provide better service to visitors. By understanding the demographics of website visitors and museum attendees, the Louvre is also able to better target its marketing efforts. With the immense amount of data collected, the Louvre is positioning itself to be able to best leverage data for future AI digital transformations.
The Louvre has been able to succeed with digital transformation initiatives mainly because it focuses on innovations that improves the customer experience through museum outreach and visitor engagement. It has carefully mapped the customer journey to determine the specific pain points along the way that might be improved with digital solutions.
Louvre annual report, 2009-2019
Louvre official website: https://www.louvre.fr/en
The authenticity of the museum experience in the digital age: the case of the Louvre, Anne Krebs 2017.
“The Louvre Goes Digital,” France Today. 13th October 2012.