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10-05-2014, 07:06 AM   #1711
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QuoteOriginally posted by NicoleC Quote
I saw a Pentax bundle in Costco early this year (or maybe late last year). They've tried that venue, at least.
QuoteOriginally posted by dcshooter Quote
I believe they are carrying some stuff in Costco Canada as well, or at least on their website. I've seen the Q in target stores but never any of the DSLRs.
I'm curious to know what the items were, and whether they were in stores. If they were first-line products in stores at the start of their product life - that's one thing. If they were K-500 bundled with a 18~55 kit lens - especially one of the older versions of the kit lens - or a Q10/02 - I would call that inventory liquidation. If they were web-only (like the current Target K50 deal) that's a low-cost fulfillment item - buy 'em, store 'em, ship 'em - no muss, no fuss. B&H / Adorama / Amazon on a different website.

The point is, if a Manufacturer wants to negotiate a long-term product placement with one of these companies the Manufacturer must Guarantee delivery of product, on-time, boxed as Advertised, etc - or pay a penalty to the Retailer. These retailer operate on a Profit-per-cubic-foot-per-minute basis. If your product isn't on the shelves because you couldn't produce it - in the volume you agreed to - then the Manufacturer compensates the Retailer for the 'lost opportunity!!

Can you imagine putting the profit from the output of an entire plant at risk if a component supplier screws up? You have a strike? An earthquake or Tsunmai or 100-year flooding happens? Now add the risk of paying a penalty fee for non-fulfillment - and you didn't sell any product on top of paying the penalty!! It isn't just that you didn't get revenue - you also have to PAY OUT MONEY!!

Part of the business decision is buying insurance against delivery failure - add that to the cost of filling the order. Big Box product distribution is much more complex and cost-driven than we can see from the outside.

There are manufacturers who have walked away from Walmart and Target and accepted the decline in volume because it was just to risky and expensive to sell there.


Last edited by monochrome; 10-05-2014 at 07:14 AM.
10-05-2014, 07:36 AM   #1712
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It's funny, because Pentax implementing MAP supposedly to get IN to target.

I have seen some P&S's there now.
10-05-2014, 08:20 AM   #1713
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QuoteOriginally posted by ElJamoquio Quote
It's funny, because Pentax implementing MAP supposedly to get IN to target.

I have seen some P&S's there now.
So I guess it wasn't as simple as just establishing a minimum advertised price. Didn't Ricoh configure the K-500 specifically for US and EU BigBox retailers? Isn't that sort of the Nikon/Canon strategy? How'd that work out again? (no more K-500).

A K-50 kit is on the Target website (and apparently available in some stores) at an 'Advertised Price' with a $100 discount applied in the Shopping Cart (and a 'Store Card Discount' in the stores). The online order process boldly states they 'have to show' an advertised price, and discount only in the Cart.

Rioch's current tactics reflect their current place in the Market. That doesn't mean their long-term strategy doesn't include eventually producing high volume at a much larger market share. But they have to get from here to there making a profit along the way.
10-05-2014, 08:41 AM   #1714
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
Why, then, do you think the don't make all these items available in the USA and EU? Could it be just so expensive to sell here that by the time they would erect all the infrastructure, marketing apparatus, dealer arrangements, production capacity and support functions that it then would not be profitable?
I don't know : ) I'm sure that they're doing what works for them based on their capacity and finances. It's just not what makes their American fans happy.

QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
Fiat left the USA because it was too expensive to compete here at their volume - didn't return until they owned Chrysler (and got paid net money to buy it).

I suspect if they could make money selling in Costco they would sell in Costco. Costco is a volume-supporting outlet store for already-known brands.
Also, Costco settles on only very few models from a very small number of manufacturers in any category and purchases a great deal of stock of these. You can see all the cameras they carry in 30 seconds but they sell a ton of cameras. I don't doubt it's highly competitive to get that space both in store and online and that if something doesn't move, or a manufacturer's stuff doesn't move, Costco gives that opening to someone else. Probably requires something (clout, $$$ concessions, future deals,) that Pentax/Ricoh can't provide.

10-05-2014, 09:55 AM   #1715
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QuoteOriginally posted by hut234 Quote
Probably requires something (clout, $$$ concessions, future deals,) that Pentax/Ricoh can't provide.
Possibly Pentax can't (or doesn't want to at that price) provide enough product at this time to meet Costco's needs - which has been my point throughout this entire discussion.

People in the West should understand that we are quite demanding (that is, the cost to market here is quite demanding) compared to many other markets. When we were the largest market in the world - by quite a large margin - that was the price of entry. Now that we're not the largest market any more some manufacturers simply choose (for the time being) not to play the game.
10-05-2014, 10:10 AM   #1716
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
Possibly Pentax can't (or doesn't want to at that price) provide enough product at this time to meet Costco's needs - which has been my point throughout this entire discussion.

People in the West should understand that we are quite demanding (that is, the cost to market here is quite demanding) compared to many other markets. When we were the largest market in the world - by quite a large margin - that was the price of entry. Now that we're not the largest market any more some manufacturers simply choose (for the time being) not to play the game.
We have Media Markt in Europe. So you can talk to individual stores to get a camera instore. A few have Pentax, but most don't. The other way around is to be in their European brochure. So you offer a camera/lens combo for a very low price. Say the K-500 with 18-55mm DA-L lens for 333 euro (it costs 399 in stores). You have to deliver all stores at least one pallet of boxes with the camera. But here is the risk.......unsold inventory will be send back to Ricoh, no risk for Media Markt. Try to earn some money.
10-05-2014, 10:39 AM   #1717
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QuoteOriginally posted by RonHendriks1966 Quote
But here is the risk.......unsold inventory will be send back to Ricoh, no risk for Media Markt. Try to earn some money.
Thanks Ron - finally somebody gets it!!

The most egregious USA B&M dealers seem to want*:
  1. Give us your best price, regardless of our volume
  2. Finance our entire inventory
  3. Do away with MAP in our case exclusively
  4. Co-Op advertise with us (IOW, buy our ads for us)
  5. At your expense, build displays in our stores
  6. At your expense, offer Rep workshops in our stores
  7. Don't expect us to switch people who want a Nikon or Canon at the counter to a Pentax unless you are running further discount promotions
    1. Sorry, all the best sales seasons are already committed to competitors - but we have July open
  8. Clear our stock if your product doesn't sell
Not asking much, are they?






* The above is heard-on-the-street stuff.
10-05-2014, 11:45 AM   #1718
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
I'm curious to know what the items were, and whether they were in stores. If they were first-line products in stores at the start of their product life - that's one thing. If they were K-500 bundled with a 18~55 kit lens - especially one of the older versions of the kit lens - or a Q10/02 - I would call that inventory liquidation. If they were web-only (like the current Target K50 deal) that's a low-cost fulfillment item - buy 'em, store 'em, ship 'em - no muss, no fuss. B&H / Adorama / Amazon on a different website.


I don't recall the exact model, but it was in store. I only noticed because it was around the time I bought my K3. My Costco is kinda weird; they don't do the heavy bulk food and business stuff I recall from other Costcos, and they carry local cheese and cases of local beer.


I do know I bought my K-x at Target -- in store -- when it was fairly new. But that was a long time ago.


I was doing a show yesterday, and people always ask what I shoot with. I did think it was odd that two people asked my if I would recommend the K50; usually I get asked about entry level Canons. Maybe it's the Target ad? Anyway, when I go to Target's web page they say the K50 is in stores. I haven't been in in a while so I haven't seen if it's actually stocked and on display locally.


If I were a newbie, though, I'd be hard pressed to justify $500 for a Pentax 16MP camera when the sales guy is pushing the cheaper D3200 24MP because is has "more megapixels."

10-05-2014, 01:07 PM   #1719
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QuoteOriginally posted by hut234 Quote
But that's one of their huge marketing mistakes and one they've been making for too long. First of all, if it's not designed to sell in the US don't sell it here. It just looks weak when no one buys it anyway due to non-existent marketing and presence in *any* retail stores much less the big chains.

Second, Costco currently (and always does) sells a handful of worthwhile Canon and Nikon DSLR bundles aimed at the same user the K-S1 is, and the bundles, off the top of my head, are at any given time this year from around $700 to $1,300, which is the K-S1's range. I go to Costco for other things but mill around those displays and they sell a lot of cameras and plenty of DSLRs. If the K-S1 is a very good camera, and it's bundle is $800, where should they be selling it if not the stores people go to? What will happen is that the only stores that stock it within 300 miles of NYC will be Adorama and B & H (where the single Pentax side of a kiosk, where everything is displayed, always has the feel if a ghost town, but that's another story). It will be 95% internet sales. If the $800 bundle buyer can't feel it in their hands they will, for most part, buy one they can. So it's another good Pentax camera that takes great pictures for a reasonable price that no one will buy.

And this does affect the ranges above and below that in the US, because the entire brand stops being on anyone's radar except for the long time users. Whatever design, marketing and pricing strategy they have it didn't improve anything in the US in 2013 or 2014, so maybe they should rethink it. Either make a real push on the K-S1 that will reach new users or don't go through the expense of releasing it here at all. Just don't do the same thing yet again: release a model, don't put it in any stores, and don't make salespeople enthusiastic about selling them, but do make 10 different flashy colored models.

If they really just don't care about getting their $800 camera bundles into Best Buy or Costco then they still don't have a marketing strategy at all.
All good points, except you missed the original premise. They have no serious interest in the USA market. I know for US residents used to thinking we are the only market that matters in the world that may come as a shock. Nonetheless it is becoming increasingly obvious that Pentax is not investing money in either products or marketing for the US and perhaps north America. Maybe that will change in the future but right now we are not a market they have much interest in.
10-05-2014, 01:41 PM - 1 Like   #1720
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
All good points, except you missed the original premise. They have no serious interest in the USA market. I know for US residents used to thinking we are the only market that matters in the world that may come as a shock. Nonetheless it is becoming increasingly obvious that Pentax is not investing money in either products or marketing for the US and perhaps north America. Maybe that will change in the future but right now we are not a market they have much interest in.
I honestly think they ARE interested in the US market, but it is very expensive to sell things here. We're demanding consumers - much more so than other places. We want a perfect product every time, a liberal return policy (like, full money back on demand for no reason) and immediately moan and groan if we don't get what we want. We checkbox-feature compare (as taught by Consumer Reports) and are inveterate negotiators. We want as much as we can get for as little as we can pay. We consider these things our God-given rights and dismiss out-of-hand anyone who says our immediate needs or wants aren't the most important thing on earth (count how many replies it takes someone to say I am crazy). We won't take no for an answer and we're always ready to tell a company how it should make its products, price them, distribute them and service them. We are, after all, Americans. Of course companies should do everything to satisfy every customer because, after all, the customer is always right!! (Whoever coined that phrase should be damned to eternity as a salesman in the USA).

Such behaviors, I have heard, are considered terrifically gauche in other parts of the world.

Again. not to say America isn't an important market. Just to say, at this time, it might be too challenging a market for Ricoh to make money in if they give a full-on effort with all the required marketing elements. So they'll gladly make available the major products they have for sale through a select, self-service channel, but they haven't yet gone out of their way to offer the full line with full service. If they really weren't interested in the US they'd just pull out altogether.

I think maintaining a beachhead is a good indicator of their future interest.
10-05-2014, 01:43 PM   #1721
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10-05-2014, 02:05 PM   #1722
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
Again. not to say America isn't an important market. Just to say, at this time, it might be too challenging a market for Ricoh to make money in if they give a full-on effort with all the required marketing elements. So they'll gladly make available the major products they have for sale through a select, self-service channel, but they haven't yet gone out of their way to offer the full line with full service. If they really weren't interested in the US they'd just pull out altogether.
Generally agree. Keep a foothold here with minimum investment. Pick their battles and focus on products and markets where they think they can succeed. Nothing wrong with that, it is just smart business. They can maintain and even grow, slightly, their market share here with no investment. To significantly increase brand awareness and market share will require sales infrastructure, marketing / advertising, and support / repair centers that will be prohibitively expensive at this time. Far better to grow the brand in other areas and if that succeeds it will raise the brand awareness all by itself.

You are correct in that the US market is very expensive to do business in. The major players in the industry I work in will commit to national advertising budgets of greater than $100 million per year, just to keep their brand in the consumer's consciousness. By some reports Microsoft spent $1.5 billion on Windows 8 advertising. Since Ricoh invested maybe $125 million in Pentax is it realistic to expect them to invest maybe $25 - $50 million per year for 5 years to raise brand awareness enough to make any significant headway in the US market? That's what it would take if they were serious. I don't see them doing that and I don't see that paying off if they did. Once they have a complete line of updated products and the capacity to build enough to supply the market, maybe.

Stop back in 5 to 10 years and see because I think they are at least 5 years away from being ready. That is not a whine or complaint, I am very happy with Pentax and where they are going. I take pictures that make me happy and I sell enough to keep the CFO happy when I buy gear. As long as I am happy with my Pentax gear I will stay with the brand. If at some point I feel they are no longer producing what I want / need then I will change to another brand and lots of people on this forum will get the chance to buy some used gear.
10-05-2014, 02:14 PM   #1723
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
By some reports Microsoft spent $1.5 billion on Windows 8 advertising.
Maybe they should've spent that money producing decent software.
10-05-2014, 02:28 PM   #1724
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QuoteOriginally posted by ElJamoquio Quote
Maybe they should've spent that money producing decent software.
I wouldn't know, I refused to buy it or allow it in the office. Rumor has it that they are now skipping '9' and going to '10' which makes things even harder as I have never bought an even numbered version of Windows.

But your point (to get back to Ricoh) is Ricoh could spend $1.5b on advertising but without products, support and capacity it would just be a waste of money. For much of the US any advertising they do would be a waste because the product is not available to the average consumer. Advertising is important but without a quality product available for sale it cannot overcome everything.
10-05-2014, 04:12 PM   #1725
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My point, indeed, is that product is king.

Back to software - the best comment I heard about Windows 8 was that it should be renamed 'Window', as you couldn't have more than one thing open at once. Right now I am doing several things - watching a video, moving files to calibrate focus, checking focus in lightroom, and downloading files for work. In window 8 I'd have to toggle back and forth, one at a time.

Why'd I buy nice monitors then? I'd switch to Linux first.
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