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05-05-2014, 08:17 AM   #46
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Brand infrastructure can be horrendously expensive, as I think Canon and Nikon are now discovering. Olympus has almost none.

05-05-2014, 02:58 PM   #47
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
Brand infrastructure can be horrendously expensive, as I think Canon and Nikon are now discovering. Olympus has almost none.
I suppose I didn't state that clearly. I think it is unlikely Pentax will return to broad distribution in B&M dealers in the foreseeable future for the reasons stated.
05-05-2014, 03:11 PM   #48
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I think Pentax is working very hard to return to B&M dealers. Personally I wouldn't put the effort in, but I think Pentax will return to specialty camera shops.
05-05-2014, 03:57 PM   #49
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QuoteOriginally posted by ElJamoquio Quote
I think Pentax is working very hard to return to B&M dealers. Personally I wouldn't put the effort in, but I think Pentax will return to specialty camera shops.
I also think they are working very hard to gain broad retail distributions and ardently believe they can be successful. I am not so optimistic about the broad part.

05-05-2014, 04:03 PM   #50
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
I also think they are working very hard to gain broad retail distributions and ardently believe they can be successful. I am not so optimistic about the broad part.

Yup. I don't know what retail B+M really means right now. Target? Best Buy? How many cameras are purchased in camera shops in the United States?
05-05-2014, 04:34 PM   #51
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QuoteOriginally posted by ElJamoquio Quote
Yup. I don't know what retail B+M really means right now. Target? Best Buy? How many cameras are purchased in camera shops in the United States?
Don't have a clue, but I can buy a K3/K50/K500/Q/WG and several of the more popular lenses (and a few DA* and Q lenses) in traditional camera stores in St. Louis, MO. But we're a special case. There's a ten-store chain here that's been around since the early 70's and never dropped Pentax.
05-05-2014, 04:46 PM   #52
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
Don't have a clue, but I can buy a K3/K50/K500/Q/WG and several of the more popular lenses (and a few DA* and Q lenses) in traditional camera stores in St. Louis, MO. But we're a special case. There's a ten-store chain here that's been around since the early 70's and never dropped Pentax.
There's one store near me, never carried a K-5, has basically the whole camera lineup now. Think I mentioned that to you before? Apologies if I'm being repetitive.
05-05-2014, 06:02 PM   #53
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In the majority of the US (geographically, not with regard to population densities), camera stores are few and far between. There is a Target and a Best Buy -- both about an hour's drive from my home. Nearest camera store would be farther away than that. Online stores with good return policies are key for someone like me.

Even if I shot Nikon or Canon, it would still be a long drive to actually handle equipment -- and then who knows how much a place like Best Buy would have in stock. Of course, I could drive to St Louis, where Monochrome lives. That would only be about 3 and 1/2 hour's drive...

05-05-2014, 07:38 PM   #54
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I would never have a bought a Pentax unless I could try it out first and I think most customers are like me. For many places, to buy a Pentax means to buy online, so that means that people who are comfortable with online sales are overrepresented on this forum almost by definition. So, I think it's really important to get the products into people's hands because it gives people confidence in the product even if they end up making their purchase online.

The approach Leica takes with their own mini-stores in high-class malls and department stores works for them because there are a limited number of places where the wealthy spend their money, so it is obvious where they need to site their stores to reach their audience. It would probably work for Hasselblad too, but not for Pentax. A better approach would be to have temporary stalls touring normal shopping malls. For example in the US, they could have a few teams going around areas of the country where there is a Pentax retailer demonstrating the products and referring business to the local retailer or their online store.

Japan is a bit different, because they already have a presence in shops. They currently have a two showrooms (ex-Ricoh in Ginza and ex-Pentax in Shinjuku), both in central areas. The problem is they are not at street level and the Ginza one is horribly pokey and unwelcoming. The Pentax one is nice when you get there, but it is tucked away in the basement of an office building. They should consolidate these into one showroom in a good location at street level to attract passers-by. I think they will annoy the big retailers if they open their own competing stores.
05-05-2014, 07:45 PM   #55
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Personally, I don't consider either Target or Best Buy to be camera stores.
05-05-2014, 08:40 PM   #56
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Pentax (Ricoh) recently introduced a nice display to the camera store I frequent in downtown Chicago. It was heart-warming to see this. So much so, I may pay the premium and purchase a second lens from them.
05-05-2014, 09:23 PM   #57
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QuoteOriginally posted by qblade Quote
Personally, I don't consider either Target or Best Buy to be camera stores.
Neither do I. Nevertheless Monochrome was talking about B+M retail stores. I'm not sure what that means in this market. It certainly is a rarity, rather than the norm, that people purchase from a 'camera store'. So what is a B+M retail store then?
05-05-2014, 10:01 PM   #58
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QuoteOriginally posted by ElJamoquio Quote
So what is a B+M retail store then?
It certainly has changed from the days when there was a small camera store in most small towns and many in large cities. Plus the big chains like Ritz and Wolf. But I believe most of the dollars came from film processing/printing. Camera/lens sales were nice but not what paid the light bill. People dropped their film at stores that had a good selection of gear because it was fun to look. At least I did.

Now it seems there are still a few viable B&M camera stores but they are larger, focus much more on the professional trade. Stock a wide selection of bags, and studio lighting. No longer viable in small towns and maybe only one or two even in major towns/cities. But those I have visited in the last year have all been very busy with 3, 4 even 5 sales people all waiting on customers. Sometimes with people waiting in line.
05-06-2014, 12:01 PM   #59
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QuoteOriginally posted by JPT Quote
A better approach would be to have temporary stalls touring normal shopping malls. For example in the US, they could have a few teams going around areas of the country where there is a Pentax retailer demonstrating the products and referring business to the local retailer or their online store.
Ricoh USA planned to have over 90 paid, contract, trained demonstrators located in malls and stores throughout the USA during the holiday sales season last year. It was said to have cost a fortune, comparatively, but retail distributions seem to be picking up. Maybe there's a relationship.
05-06-2014, 12:41 PM   #60
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Online marketing is fine for commodity type products but for special/luxury goods, and for most people that is what a higher end camera is, they want to touch in order to be convinced x is for them. This requires presence in B&M sites but, of course, many people might use that as the experience before then finding an online supplier who is cheaper.

This problem could be addressed by the national distributor investing in having B&M presence on arrangements which enable the B&M sellers to supply for a very small premium over the price charged by the online outlet. Creative lawyers can work out a way under almost every legal framework. Of course, a mechanism needs to be found to factor out the price difference caused in some parts of US by tax being applied for a sale to a local but not a person from far away - on a large item it is hard to beat the 7% tax off discount for mail order on a large item! Can someone explain why local jurisdictions think it is a good idea to encourage people to spend their money out of jurisdiction.

More seriously, the business model of selling through boutiques can work but only if the volume of sales is big enough that the overhead of the boutique does not add unreasonably to the price of the product. For normal consumer priced cameras, like Pentax, which sells in low volumes the price load per unit would be too high. In contrast, Apple can use this method because they have a range of products, many of which are marketed as fashion items and need replacement every 2-3 years, and the range results in enough volume to reduce the per unit overhead. The boutique approach is often used by the producer to control retail price, to fit the brand image, because the product is only available through the supplier's outlets. That means many outlets are needed to engage the range of customers. This is where the US consumer is at a disadvantage compared with Australia. Australia has 23M people but 80% live in 6 major cities and most of the rest live in a few major places or travel to the 6 cities moderately often for various reasons. This concentrates the market - how many boutiques are needed. But US has a population distributed much more evenly across a large piece of land making it very difficult for any company to establish 80 boutiques in cities to which 95% or more of the population travel at least twice a year.
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