Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
01-24-2022, 10:19 AM   #16
Pentaxian




Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Romania
Posts: 14,965
Excellent post as usual, JPT. Most people don't have the perspective on the Japanese market to properly understand that press release.

QuoteOriginally posted by house Quote
You can't craft a dslr in a workshop!
It's a mistake to think of "workshop" as the physical place. Even the automated translation doesn't do that... it's "workshop-like manufacturing", not "manufacturing in workshops".

01-24-2022, 10:20 AM   #17
Pentaxian




Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Romania
Posts: 14,965
QuoteOriginally posted by ivar_bg Quote
Is that difficult for RICOH/PENTAX to release some official statement in Еnglish to clarify the global strategy of Pentax Camera Division?!?
Do they have anything to announce globally?
01-24-2022, 10:42 AM   #18
Pentaxian
Michail_P's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2019
Location: Kalymnos
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 2,791
Sustainable marketing and production is what I initially thought. Online media canít be blindly trusted. Of course I look forward to seeing the beginning of the new strategy, because Pentax makes a bold move, but is not widely available here and I hope that prices wonít be dramatically higher.
01-24-2022, 12:15 PM   #19
Site Supporter
Site Supporter




Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Idaho
Posts: 318
Refreshing, insightful. Thank you!

01-24-2022, 12:43 PM   #20
Site Supporter
Site Supporter
roberrl's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Oxford, UK
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 311
Another thank you for this post.
When I was last involved in the motor industry 25 years ago we had the capability to build a car to exact customer specs and put it on the dealer's lot in 5 days from the order.
Most of the time was taken in transporting the car from the plant to the dealer. The manufacturer chose not to use this capability because they were used to a build-to-plan
model - which worked then. The risk is that the market doesn't follow your plan. I think this is a bold move by Ricoh in a volatile market where it's easy to be left with product in stock
which doesn't sell.
I suspect they will follow a hybrid model of short runs of "standard" models to suit some markets together with offering "custom" models around the world, air freight for a camera is cheap and easy.
It may well be that in the US and Europe we will have the best of both worlds.
01-24-2022, 01:06 PM   #21
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter
kiwi_jono's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 2,407
Thanks for posting - your take makes a lot of sense to me.
I could see this would also give them the option of extending this internationally at a later stage and this is not necessarily a bad thing.
01-24-2022, 02:44 PM - 1 Like   #22
Site Supporter
Site Supporter




Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Rivesville West Virginia
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 212
QuoteOriginally posted by JPT Quote
There has been a lot of commentary on Ricoh Imaging’s announcement that they are focusing on online sales in Japan, but almost all of it has been ill-informed and some of it downright misleading. I want to explain some of the context and why I think it is a confident decision, not a sign of weakness.

I can’t keep this brief, so get ready for a bit of a long read if you have the stomach for it.

The Japanese retail environment

Asahiman on the other site made a brief comment that the retail business is Japan is about 20 years in the past. I know what he means. In the past 20-30 years it has been dominated by some giant chain stores, the most notable are Yodobashi Camera, Bic Camera and Yamada Denki, but there are more. These stores put most of the smaller electronics stores out of business in the 1980s and 90s. It seems their time may be coming too, as the internet takes over.

The relationship manufacturers have with retailers is very one-sided as far as I can see. Retailers take their margin (of course - nothing unique there), but they also seem to insist on undercutting the manufacturer’s direct sale price by 10%, even with the margin. By acquiescing to that, all it does is get some space on the shelves, but to get a prominent position in the store there must be some extra incentive (Olympus/OMDS always have prime location, and there is no way they deserve better placement than Canon on sales). The manufacturers also employ sales people and sales assistants to man the sales aisles so the store doesn’t have to. So the stores get a ton of concessions and at the same time make sure that the maker cannot offer a competitive price. The retailers have their cake and eat it. Of course, Ricoh is not in a position to talk about this publicly, but I’m sure it has been a thorn in their side and all manufacturers for decades.

Recently, Ricoh and other makers have been trying to get around this by offering other incentives on their own stores, such as longer warranties and loyalty points to make it more attractive, but the basic price has to remain without discount. Another way Ricoh tries to get around this by selling items as “outlet”, which is refurbished or where the package is spoiled in some way, but they sell without any warranty. It’s the ridiculous game they have to play to sell at a competitive price.

What is happening now is the game is changing:
- The overall sales are falling and cameras have less space in the stores. It’s very obvious that the number of people looking at cameras in those storers has dramatically fallen and the space they devote to cameras has shrunk.
- Internet sales channels have been increasing for a long time, but until now there were still a lot of Japanese people who preferred not to shop online. That’s partly because people tend to live close to physical stores for anything they could want.
- COVID has forced almost everyone to start shopping online and now almost everyone is happy buying from eCommerce sites.
- Ricoh has had some luck with their improved store and direct contact with customers online, but they re restricted, as I mentioned above.
- Ricoh is now quite specialized and differentiated. Customers who want Pentax or GR are going to seek out the places where they can buy them. These are not the kind of cameras that random customers are talked into buying by a salesperson.

So I don’t think the point is to “become Leica” or raise prices above what competitors charge. It is to offer things at a competitive price, while maintaining their own margin. I also don’t think it means their business will shrink because the old model isn’t working for them anyway.

Nonsense estimations of sales

I’ve mentioned this before in other threads, but you see a lot of crazy sales estimates based on different data sources. The most silly one is the BCN market research company. This company collates data from a number electronics stores, but many of them don’t even sell cameras in the first place. Those that do are mostly local electronics stores that only sell a few brands, certainly not Pentax/Ricoh. Then there is Bic Camera, and I’m pretty sure that when you see the 5.8% Ricoh share of DSLRs, that is almost all Bic. Remember that BCN talks up their coverage and only puts these numbers out to drum up business for their paid market research services.

I’m not saying that Pentax/Ricoh has massive sales in Japan, but it is much better than it is in other countries. The point is customers buy Pentax/Ricoh where they are sold, and the sales would show up there, not in the BCN ranking.

Customized cameras

This is a very interesting and creative part of the plan. If they take orders directly, then they can do some unique things for customers. We don’t know how this will work, but I believe this will work something like configuring a computer at Apple.

Again, this is an extension of things Ricoh/Pentax has done before, so they know that they have customers who are interested in it.
- They have offered custom colors (e.g. K-x, K-r)
- They have done custom grip shapes (K20D)
- They have done adjustments to the shutter button (GR Digital)
- They have done versions of cameras with different sensor filters (K-5 II, K-5 IIs, 645 IR models)
- They have done upgraded electronics (K-1 conversion service)
- They have done interchangeable grips (KP)
- They have done extreme tricked out models (J-Limited)
- They have explained some more ideas for customisation (the 6 proposed versions of the K-3 III)

So they certainly have a lot of ideas they could implement, which would be difficult with the old retail model. I’m truly interesting to see how unique a camera you could order with this.

Ricoh stores in “malls”

This part of the announcement is a bit unclear to me. Certainly, they will set up brand stores within popular eCommerce platform like Amazon, Rakuten and Yahoo!. What is not clear is how people will get their hands on the products to try. Based on past practice, I guess they will have some kind of events around Japan or pop-up stores in actual physical retail malls. If they are sending fewer salespeople out to stores, they may be able to do more spot events.

Work/Studio/Atelier style production

I think this is really being misinterpreted. There is an image in Japan of a kind of manufacturing known as “monozukuri”. This typically means something that is created with a high level of craftsmanship and pride - usually at a smaller scale. I think they are trying to channel this kind of image and the idea that they will make something customized for the individual.

In reality, they already have a lot of products that are made in small batches with a lot of manual work. A good example is the Limited lens series, which has never been mass produced. Again, they have done this with success in the past, so it is just focusing in on what they do well. Let’s face it. When Pentax refers to “mass” production, it hasn’t been a very massive mass for a long time.

Only for Japan

Hopefully, what I’ve written will make it clear why the sales channel change is mostly not relevant to other markets. Japan has this unique retail environment and it’s been holding them back. It will be very interesting to see whether other manufacturers follow where Ricoh leads. It seems to me that Nikon, OMDS, Sigma or Tamron might be interested in this if it works. The others would face more hurdles.

Also, I think the customization model might be difficult to adopt overseas. Japan has a very seller-friendly returns policy. Once you buy something, you’re basically stuck with it unless it’s faulty. In the US, it seems you can basically send it back if you change your mind about the purchase. I’m sure Apple can easily sell a returned MacBook with upgraded RAM and SSD in their refurb store, but could Ricoh sell a Scarlet Rouge K-3 III with a monochrome sensor, a wood grip and a customized shutter button? I think it would be a problematic model in the US.

So I expect that Ricoh might just look at what the most popular customizations are in Japan, and sell them selectively as additional models, but without the same level of customization.

Conclusion

What I’ve written above is obviously just my take on the matter. I don’t have any inside knowledge and could well be wrong in some areas. However, I hope I have explained in sufficient detail to convince some readers that the sky is not falling. Most of the commentary on other sites is based on half-understood statistics and no knowledge of the Japan market. The DPR writer admitted he had just put the announcement through Google Translate, and his “solution” was to put it through another online translator.

You can say that Ricoh should have anticipated this and the announcement was badly written. But honestly, they probably believe this is a bold and proactive business strategy. They just didn’t understand the mentality of sites that see every move they make through the filter of “So when are they going bankrupt? Ha Ha Ha!” I’m still astonished by the incredible amateurishness, cynicism and negativity of the online camera press, and the willingness of people to accept it without question.

Personally, I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens on April 1. Don’t you think that if you had a new business model starting, you’d want to have some new products to sell? It might be an opportune time to release a new camera or lens.
I sort of thought a lot was lost in the translation, this is an excellent post on the subject. I was in Sasebo and Yokosuka when I was in the navy and was in a camera store in both places and they weren't much bigger then a good sized walk in closet but had stuff packed in everywhere. we had a photo store in Parkersburg West Virginia along the same lines but the owner passed away just as the internet was taking over. I refuse to worry, I'll just keep shooting and if my stuff stops working and if I'm not too old ill just get more stuff from whatever is available at the time.

01-24-2022, 03:16 PM   #23
Moderator
Loyal Site Supporter




Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Baltimore
Photos: Albums
Posts: 2,829
Pentax Forums scores again with this excellent post from JPT
01-24-2022, 03:49 PM   #24
Site Supporter
Site Supporter
RobA_Oz's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Tasmania, Australia
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 7,595
QuoteOriginally posted by Kunzite Quote
Do they have anything to announce globally?
I do wonder if their overall strategy for sustainability or (hopefully) growth is to consolidate the home market first, and then consider what's needed for the international ones.
01-24-2022, 04:40 PM - 2 Likes   #25
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter




Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Gladys, Virginia
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 25,028
QuoteOriginally posted by ivar_bg Quote
Is that difficult for RICOH/PENTAX to release some official statement in Еnglish to clarify the global strategy of Pentax Camera Division?!?
This is more like a scenario where I am talking to one of my kids about some activity that they are going to be doing and one of the others hears a little bit and jumps to a bunch of conclusions.

There was no global message. Nothing is changing. If there was a specific message for North America, I would expect them to release it in English. The fact that this was released only in Japan and only in Japanese should have sent a clear message about its intention, but that doesn't stop people from assuming all sorts of things.
01-24-2022, 06:48 PM - 1 Like   #26
Moderator
Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter
MarkJerling's Avatar

Join Date: May 2012
Location: Wairarapa, New Zealand
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 17,989
QuoteOriginally posted by JPT Quote
There has been a lot of commentary on Ricoh Imagingís announcement that they are focusing on online sales in Japan, but almost all of it has been ill-informed and some of it downright misleading. I want to explain some of the context and why I think it is a confident decision, not a sign of weakness.

I canít keep this brief, so get ready for a bit of a long read if you have the stomach for it.

The Japanese retail environment

Asahiman on the other site made a brief comment that the retail business is Japan is about 20 years in the past. I know what he means. In the past 20-30 years it has been dominated by some giant chain stores, the most notable are Yodobashi Camera, Bic Camera and Yamada Denki, but there are more. These stores put most of the smaller electronics stores out of business in the 1980s and 90s. It seems their time may be coming too, as the internet takes over.

The relationship manufacturers have with retailers is very one-sided as far as I can see. Retailers take their margin (of course - nothing unique there), but they also seem to insist on undercutting the manufacturerís direct sale price by 10%, even with the margin. By acquiescing to that, all it does is get some space on the shelves, but to get a prominent position in the store there must be some extra incentive (Olympus/OMDS always have prime location, and there is no way they deserve better placement than Canon on sales). The manufacturers also employ sales people and sales assistants to man the sales aisles so the store doesnít have to. So the stores get a ton of concessions and at the same time make sure that the maker cannot offer a competitive price. The retailers have their cake and eat it. Of course, Ricoh is not in a position to talk about this publicly, but Iím sure it has been a thorn in their side and all manufacturers for decades.

Recently, Ricoh and other makers have been trying to get around this by offering other incentives on their own stores, such as longer warranties and loyalty points to make it more attractive, but the basic price has to remain without discount. Another way Ricoh tries to get around this by selling items as ďoutletĒ, which is refurbished or where the package is spoiled in some way, but they sell without any warranty. Itís the ridiculous game they have to play to sell at a competitive price.

What is happening now is the game is changing:
- The overall sales are falling and cameras have less space in the stores. Itís very obvious that the number of people looking at cameras in those storers has dramatically fallen and the space they devote to cameras has shrunk.
- Internet sales channels have been increasing for a long time, but until now there were still a lot of Japanese people who preferred not to shop online. Thatís partly because people tend to live close to physical stores for anything they could want.
- COVID has forced almost everyone to start shopping online and now almost everyone is happy buying from eCommerce sites.
- Ricoh has had some luck with their improved store and direct contact with customers online, but they re restricted, as I mentioned above.
- Ricoh is now quite specialized and differentiated. Customers who want Pentax or GR are going to seek out the places where they can buy them. These are not the kind of cameras that random customers are talked into buying by a salesperson.

So I donít think the point is to ďbecome LeicaĒ or raise prices above what competitors charge. It is to offer things at a competitive price, while maintaining their own margin. I also donít think it means their business will shrink because the old model isnít working for them anyway.

Nonsense estimations of sales

Iíve mentioned this before in other threads, but you see a lot of crazy sales estimates based on different data sources. The most silly one is the BCN market research company. This company collates data from a number electronics stores, but many of them donít even sell cameras in the first place. Those that do are mostly local electronics stores that only sell a few brands, certainly not Pentax/Ricoh. Then there is Bic Camera, and Iím pretty sure that when you see the 5.8% Ricoh share of DSLRs, that is almost all Bic. Remember that BCN talks up their coverage and only puts these numbers out to drum up business for their paid market research services.

Iím not saying that Pentax/Ricoh has massive sales in Japan, but it is much better than it is in other countries. The point is customers buy Pentax/Ricoh where they are sold, and the sales would show up there, not in the BCN ranking.

Customized cameras

This is a very interesting and creative part of the plan. If they take orders directly, then they can do some unique things for customers. We donít know how this will work, but I believe this will work something like configuring a computer at Apple.

Again, this is an extension of things Ricoh/Pentax has done before, so they know that they have customers who are interested in it.
- They have offered custom colors (e.g. K-x, K-r)
- They have done custom grip shapes (K20D)
- They have done adjustments to the shutter button (GR Digital)
- They have done versions of cameras with different sensor filters (K-5 II, K-5 IIs, 645 IR models)
- They have done upgraded electronics (K-1 conversion service)
- They have done interchangeable grips (KP)
- They have done extreme tricked out models (J-Limited)
- They have explained some more ideas for customisation (the 6 proposed versions of the K-3 III)

So they certainly have a lot of ideas they could implement, which would be difficult with the old retail model. Iím truly interesting to see how unique a camera you could order with this.

Ricoh stores in ďmallsĒ

This part of the announcement is a bit unclear to me. Certainly, they will set up brand stores within popular eCommerce platform like Amazon, Rakuten and Yahoo!. What is not clear is how people will get their hands on the products to try. Based on past practice, I guess they will have some kind of events around Japan or pop-up stores in actual physical retail malls. If they are sending fewer salespeople out to stores, they may be able to do more spot events.

Work/Studio/Atelier style production

I think this is really being misinterpreted. There is an image in Japan of a kind of manufacturing known as ďmonozukuriĒ. This typically means something that is created with a high level of craftsmanship and pride - usually at a smaller scale. I think they are trying to channel this kind of image and the idea that they will make something customized for the individual.

In reality, they already have a lot of products that are made in small batches with a lot of manual work. A good example is the Limited lens series, which has never been mass produced. Again, they have done this with success in the past, so it is just focusing in on what they do well. Letís face it. When Pentax refers to ďmassĒ production, it hasnít been a very massive mass for a long time.

Only for Japan

Hopefully, what Iíve written will make it clear why the sales channel change is mostly not relevant to other markets. Japan has this unique retail environment and itís been holding them back. It will be very interesting to see whether other manufacturers follow where Ricoh leads. It seems to me that Nikon, OMDS, Sigma or Tamron might be interested in this if it works. The others would face more hurdles.

Also, I think the customization model might be difficult to adopt overseas. Japan has a very seller-friendly returns policy. Once you buy something, youíre basically stuck with it unless itís faulty. In the US, it seems you can basically send it back if you change your mind about the purchase. Iím sure Apple can easily sell a returned MacBook with upgraded RAM and SSD in their refurb store, but could Ricoh sell a Scarlet Rouge K-3 III with a monochrome sensor, a wood grip and a customized shutter button? I think it would be a problematic model in the US.

So I expect that Ricoh might just look at what the most popular customizations are in Japan, and sell them selectively as additional models, but without the same level of customization.

Conclusion

What Iíve written above is obviously just my take on the matter. I donít have any inside knowledge and could well be wrong in some areas. However, I hope I have explained in sufficient detail to convince some readers that the sky is not falling. Most of the commentary on other sites is based on half-understood statistics and no knowledge of the Japan market. The DPR writer admitted he had just put the announcement through Google Translate, and his ďsolutionĒ was to put it through another online translator.

You can say that Ricoh should have anticipated this and the announcement was badly written. But honestly, they probably believe this is a bold and proactive business strategy. They just didnít understand the mentality of sites that see every move they make through the filter of ďSo when are they going bankrupt? Ha Ha Ha!Ē Iím still astonished by the incredible amateurishness, cynicism and negativity of the online camera press, and the willingness of people to accept it without question.

Personally, Iím really looking forward to seeing what happens on April 1. Donít you think that if you had a new business model starting, youíd want to have some new products to sell? It might be an opportune time to release a new camera or lens.
Fantastic post, thank you!
01-24-2022, 06:53 PM - 1 Like   #27
JPT
Pentaxian




Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Tokyo
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 2,354
Original Poster
Looks like Thom Hogan is one of the only commentators to understand what is going on.

It isn't the main point of the longer article, but he briefly mentions the announcement as a common sense and honest statement of intent.

https://bythom.com/newsviews/the-usual-suspects.html
01-24-2022, 06:54 PM   #28
Moderator
Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter
MarkJerling's Avatar

Join Date: May 2012
Location: Wairarapa, New Zealand
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 17,989
QuoteOriginally posted by ivar_bg Quote
Is that difficult for RICOH/PENTAX to release some official statement in Еnglish to clarify the global strategy of Pentax Camera Division?!?
You seem to forget that Ricoh/Pentax have made a strategic announcement in their home market, in the language of that home market. I doubt that this direction would impact directly on their global strategy although I would think it possible that the system envisioned for that market may, in time, filter to other markets.

Time will tell, of course, but expecting some sort of "global strategy" announcement or "official statement" is unlikely to be posted, for obvious commercial reasons.
01-24-2022, 10:31 PM - 1 Like   #29
Pentaxian
Class A's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Wellington, New Zealand
Posts: 11,172
Thanks, JPT!

An excellent take on the situation. Too bad, that the write ups of most other outlets did not feature 1% of your insights, but instead jumped on the opportunity to create some attention-grabbing headlines regardless of how truthful they were and what damage they could cause.
01-24-2022, 11:51 PM   #30
Site Supporter
Site Supporter




Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Spring Branch, Tx
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 700
QuoteOriginally posted by JPT Quote
There has been a lot of commentary on Ricoh Imaging’s announcement that they are focusing on online sales in Japan, but almost all of it has been ill-informed and some of it downright misleading. I want to explain some of the context and why I think it is a confident decision, not a sign of weakness.

I can’t keep this brief, so get ready for a bit of a long read if you have the stomach for it.

The Japanese retail environment

Asahiman on the other site made a brief comment that the retail business is Japan is about 20 years in the past. I know what he means. In the past 20-30 years it has been dominated by some giant chain stores, the most notable are Yodobashi Camera, Bic Camera and Yamada Denki, but there are more. These stores put most of the smaller electronics stores out of business in the 1980s and 90s. It seems their time may be coming too, as the internet takes over.

The relationship manufacturers have with retailers is very one-sided as far as I can see. Retailers take their margin (of course - nothing unique there), but they also seem to insist on undercutting the manufacturer’s direct sale price by 10%, even with the margin. By acquiescing to that, all it does is get some space on the shelves, but to get a prominent position in the store there must be some extra incentive (Olympus/OMDS always have prime location, and there is no way they deserve better placement than Canon on sales). The manufacturers also employ sales people and sales assistants to man the sales aisles so the store doesn’t have to. So the stores get a ton of concessions and at the same time make sure that the maker cannot offer a competitive price. The retailers have their cake and eat it. Of course, Ricoh is not in a position to talk about this publicly, but I’m sure it has been a thorn in their side and all manufacturers for decades.

Recently, Ricoh and other makers have been trying to get around this by offering other incentives on their own stores, such as longer warranties and loyalty points to make it more attractive, but the basic price has to remain without discount. Another way Ricoh tries to get around this by selling items as “outlet”, which is refurbished or where the package is spoiled in some way, but they sell without any warranty. It’s the ridiculous game they have to play to sell at a competitive price.

What is happening now is the game is changing:
- The overall sales are falling and cameras have less space in the stores. It’s very obvious that the number of people looking at cameras in those storers has dramatically fallen and the space they devote to cameras has shrunk.
- Internet sales channels have been increasing for a long time, but until now there were still a lot of Japanese people who preferred not to shop online. That’s partly because people tend to live close to physical stores for anything they could want.
- COVID has forced almost everyone to start shopping online and now almost everyone is happy buying from eCommerce sites.
- Ricoh has had some luck with their improved store and direct contact with customers online, but they re restricted, as I mentioned above.
- Ricoh is now quite specialized and differentiated. Customers who want Pentax or GR are going to seek out the places where they can buy them. These are not the kind of cameras that random customers are talked into buying by a salesperson.

So I don’t think the point is to “become Leica” or raise prices above what competitors charge. It is to offer things at a competitive price, while maintaining their own margin. I also don’t think it means their business will shrink because the old model isn’t working for them anyway.

Nonsense estimations of sales

I’ve mentioned this before in other threads, but you see a lot of crazy sales estimates based on different data sources. The most silly one is the BCN market research company. This company collates data from a number electronics stores, but many of them don’t even sell cameras in the first place. Those that do are mostly local electronics stores that only sell a few brands, certainly not Pentax/Ricoh. Then there is Bic Camera, and I’m pretty sure that when you see the 5.8% Ricoh share of DSLRs, that is almost all Bic. Remember that BCN talks up their coverage and only puts these numbers out to drum up business for their paid market research services.

I’m not saying that Pentax/Ricoh has massive sales in Japan, but it is much better than it is in other countries. The point is customers buy Pentax/Ricoh where they are sold, and the sales would show up there, not in the BCN ranking.

Customized cameras

This is a very interesting and creative part of the plan. If they take orders directly, then they can do some unique things for customers. We don’t know how this will work, but I believe this will work something like configuring a computer at Apple.

Again, this is an extension of things Ricoh/Pentax has done before, so they know that they have customers who are interested in it.
- They have offered custom colors (e.g. K-x, K-r)
- They have done custom grip shapes (K20D)
- They have done adjustments to the shutter button (GR Digital)
- They have done versions of cameras with different sensor filters (K-5 II, K-5 IIs, 645 IR models)
- They have done upgraded electronics (K-1 conversion service)
- They have done interchangeable grips (KP)
- They have done extreme tricked out models (J-Limited)
- They have explained some more ideas for customisation (the 6 proposed versions of the K-3 III)

So they certainly have a lot of ideas they could implement, which would be difficult with the old retail model. I’m truly interesting to see how unique a camera you could order with this.

Ricoh stores in “malls”

This part of the announcement is a bit unclear to me. Certainly, they will set up brand stores within popular eCommerce platform like Amazon, Rakuten and Yahoo!. What is not clear is how people will get their hands on the products to try. Based on past practice, I guess they will have some kind of events around Japan or pop-up stores in actual physical retail malls. If they are sending fewer salespeople out to stores, they may be able to do more spot events.

Work/Studio/Atelier style production

I think this is really being misinterpreted. There is an image in Japan of a kind of manufacturing known as “monozukuri”. This typically means something that is created with a high level of craftsmanship and pride - usually at a smaller scale. I think they are trying to channel this kind of image and the idea that they will make something customized for the individual.

In reality, they already have a lot of products that are made in small batches with a lot of manual work. A good example is the Limited lens series, which has never been mass produced. Again, they have done this with success in the past, so it is just focusing in on what they do well. Let’s face it. When Pentax refers to “mass” production, it hasn’t been a very massive mass for a long time.

Only for Japan

Hopefully, what I’ve written will make it clear why the sales channel change is mostly not relevant to other markets. Japan has this unique retail environment and it’s been holding them back. It will be very interesting to see whether other manufacturers follow where Ricoh leads. It seems to me that Nikon, OMDS, Sigma or Tamron might be interested in this if it works. The others would face more hurdles.

Also, I think the customization model might be difficult to adopt overseas. Japan has a very seller-friendly returns policy. Once you buy something, you’re basically stuck with it unless it’s faulty. In the US, it seems you can basically send it back if you change your mind about the purchase. I’m sure Apple can easily sell a returned MacBook with upgraded RAM and SSD in their refurb store, but could Ricoh sell a Scarlet Rouge K-3 III with a monochrome sensor, a wood grip and a customized shutter button? I think it would be a problematic model in the US.

So I expect that Ricoh might just look at what the most popular customizations are in Japan, and sell them selectively as additional models, but without the same level of customization.

Conclusion

What I’ve written above is obviously just my take on the matter. I don’t have any inside knowledge and could well be wrong in some areas. However, I hope I have explained in sufficient detail to convince some readers that the sky is not falling. Most of the commentary on other sites is based on half-understood statistics and no knowledge of the Japan market. The DPR writer admitted he had just put the announcement through Google Translate, and his “solution” was to put it through another online translator.

You can say that Ricoh should have anticipated this and the announcement was badly written. But honestly, they probably believe this is a bold and proactive business strategy. They just didn’t understand the mentality of sites that see every move they make through the filter of “So when are they going bankrupt? Ha Ha Ha!” I’m still astonished by the incredible amateurishness, cynicism and negativity of the online camera press, and the willingness of people to accept it without question.

Personally, I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens on April 1. Don’t you think that if you had a new business model starting, you’d want to have some new products to sell? It might be an opportune time to release a new camera or lens.
So much of the recent Ricoh/Pentax news is sadly lacking in clarity. Myself, I do not expect that to change but till my K3-3 Lcd issue is resolve I am looking more at Canon and Nikon.I have not yet changed my favorite camera brand. My A*400f 2.8 is one of my major lens usages, when coupled with the AF 1,7 adaptor. Manual focus for wildlife/ birds does not pay any bills these days.I do not see Ricoh producing a lens of this quality again. If they did I would buy one but sadly not many of Pentax recent customers would. The downside of backward combat ability. The sad thing is that this lens still produces superior image quality even today, better than any long Ricoh/Pentax lens for sale since then. I purchased it new in 1988.:My ex has the Canon 800 and the A*400 with the AF1.7 is a toss on image quality. But the 400 iis manual focus. It is up to Ricoh to now repair their products and retain customers. The K3-3 is a major step up for Pentax users, I can now get birds in fight with more than 3 frames in focus., but the K3 3 lcd lockup issue has not been addressed by Ricoh, At least not in any web sites I have seen,. which iis all you have to go by unless Ricoh releases
a company response.Software or firmware does not matter, fix it unless you do not want Pentax as a camera brand to continueÖYes I know some of the other camera brands have lock up issues, but that will not stop me from comparing them for future purchaseÖ
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
business, camera, cameras, customers, japan, lot, pentax, people, photo industry, photography, ricoh, sales, stores
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Ricoh/Pentax new strategy: Shift to e-Commerce and "studio-style" manufacturing JPT Pentax News and Rumors 548 02-01-2022 01:42 PM
Full frame Announcement 18 feb according to ricoh south africa discharged Pentax News and Rumors 6 02-14-2016 10:10 PM
Ricoh - Pentax announcement imminent? Wild Mark Pentax News and Rumors 40 09-16-2015 09:52 PM
Branding announcement: Pentax for ILC, Ricoh for Compacts JPT Pentax News and Rumors 88 07-17-2012 01:14 PM
Official announcement from Pentax about sale to Ricoh Clinton Pentax News and Rumors 31 07-04-2011 04:28 PM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 09:29 PM. | See also: NikonForums.com, CanonForums.com part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top