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09-24-2008, 07:56 AM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by Damn Brit Quote
. . .

I think Pentax has to carry most of the blame for this state of affairs, they didn't enter the market aggressively enough, they seemed to have the attitude that if they made them, people would buy them, instead of advertising, advertising, advertising.
I agree with you to a point there. Many of the stores do some sort of advertising and they do very little of Pentax gear. I think another part of the problem we gotten into a combination of a "Rock Star" combined with "Sheeple" mentality.

Use IPOD as an example. If you listen to MP3s, you aren't cool unless you use IPOD. With cameras, its Canon. Nikon has a base that they have maintained but Canon has grown where Oly, Minolta and others have vacated.

I guess Pentax needs a Camera ad campaign with a silhouette of Bono dancing around taking pictures with a Pentax while listening to an IPOD.

09-24-2008, 07:59 AM   #17
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Cardnick,

I agree with your point-of-view, however, my local camera store (Cord Camera) sells everything (what little Pentax they have) at list price. I don't mind paying extra to buy locally (I do it for other hobbies), but I don't want to buy at list (MSRP) price.

They always tell me they can order it, but it will cost the list price. At some point, my wallet makes the decision for me. The odd thing is that I've purchased other items (ball head, camera bag, etc) from them and the prices were much closer to what BH or Adorama would charge.

Actually, I just checked their website, and Pentax isn't even listed any more.

Last edited by wildboar; 09-24-2008 at 08:10 AM.
09-24-2008, 08:36 AM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by cardnick Quote

So, who is to blame for the lack of product in your local stores? Pentax is one, but the local shopper is also to blame for not supporting the local store and buying locally.
I have to agree with you. I hear a lot of complaint about not having the products in store, but people are going in the stores to see/try the products before buying online. I have one lens I bought online (used), but everything else comes from 2 area dealers. They know me and they are willing to go the extra mile to keep me as a customer. And I'd rather deal with a person than a computer.
09-24-2008, 08:51 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by cardnick Quote
As a manager for a Ritz Store, I have a unique view of the availibilty issue....

I hear all the complaints of, "they don't carry anything" or "They don't have what I want", but If they did, would you buy it from them? Would you just go there to look at it, handle it, and then go shop for it online?
Thanks for your perspective, which I do understand. I generally do feel that, if I have shopped at bricks and mortar store, I owe them the sale. I do not go into the store to handle the camera knowing in advance that I'll buy online. But the truth is, as somebody who's in this world up to his chest, I don't usually NEED to go to a store. I can handle a photographer friend's new Nikon or Canon camera if I want to get the feel of something. And I read so much in print and online that I am often able to make my buying decisions without putting my hands on the product. And yes, I have on rare occasions been known to return products to Amazon or KEH, although I never buy simply experimentally.

But I am sure that Nikon and Canon users are more likely to come into your store to handle the goods before buying online than Pentax users are, if only because you HAVE Nikon and Canon stuff to handle.

Traditional physical stores simply have a problem competing with online resellers like Amazon and Adorama. You sound like a great manager, really dedicated to your customers, and I really respect that. But we don't generally expect to NEED that kind of terrific service, and I don't think the occasional story of extraordinary service is enough to get people to pay more (both in product price AND tax) for products that many find pretty costly already.

I don't know if this makes financial sense, but I will say that, as a buyer, I would be willing to pay money - and fairly good money, at that - to be able to take a camera body away for 24 or 48 or 72 hours and use it on my own. That's something that the local stores could do and that the online stores cannot easily compete with.

*

As for Pentax's problem generally, I continue to believe that the company is a bit lost and has trouble getting "mind share." And I don't think that it's just because they're not marketing hard enough. The best type of mind share comes not from advertising but from "buzz," which includes people talking about products, or magazines and web sites writing about products. Canon and Nikon can afford simply to coast for a while. They're too important for the magazines to ignore, and in any case, Nikon has released exciting new products in 2008. Other companies are innovating in ways that grab the press's attention, Sigma, say, with the DP2, and Olympus, with the four-thirds system. What exactly has Pentax done lately - since, say, 2005 - that made somebody who isn't a connoisseur go "wow!"?

Pentax doesn't seem to know where its niche is. Leica's niche is rich people. Canon and Nikon market to mainstream pros. Other manufacturers market to the low-end of the market. Pentax aims for the vague middle of the market - the least interesting group of consumers - makes really good cameras in its class and sells them for somewhat less than the competition. That's great for the handful of us who really do our homework and are smart shoppers. But for most folks, that's just not enough to make the sale. I think it's absurd on its face to say that a Pentax K20D is actually BETTER than, say, a Nikon D300. What can be said (as of 9-24-2008) is that a Pentax K20D is, in most respects, just about as good as a Nikon D300 and costs almost 40% less (about $1000 for K20D body only on Amazon vs about $1600 for the D300 body only). But if you spend that extra $600, well, you have bought into the Nikon platform, and that platform has serious advantages that the Pentax platform doesn't.

That leaves Pentax selling to folks who are already committed to its brand - probably because they're already customers - or to buyers for whom price is the most important consideration (that was me three years ago). And neither of those groups make great target markets.

Will

09-24-2008, 09:15 AM   #20
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Will,
You are the exception and not the norm to the handle it and then buy it. Most "Pros" don't shop much at Ritz. It is the "common buyer" that tends to do it. Unfortunately they are the ones who get burned the most often by an unethical online company. It is not my intent to make it feel as though anyone is being "attacked" or "targeted" but I do feel like you "pros" can do a service to the people and the local stores by supporting them when you can and encouraging others to do so as well. Those who come in my store will always get the best service that I can offer. I know that it is not that way in all Ritz stores, believe me I have been in some real stinkers. I also try to help those who support me by referring them business whenever possible.

Pentax is like you stated "lost". The seem to go almost to the edge of a huge breakthrough and then stop. The K20 almost has the movie mode that the Nikon D90 is using. Can you imagine the buzz that it would have created for pentax if they had just gone a little bit further? Hmmm too bad.
09-24-2008, 09:18 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by flyer Quote
I have to agree with you. I hear a lot of complaint about not having the products in store, but people are going in the stores to see/try the products before buying online. I have one lens I bought online (used), but everything else comes from 2 area dealers. They know me and they are willing to go the extra mile to keep me as a customer. And I'd rather deal with a person than a computer.
Well some of us have no local brick and mortar that stock Pentax gear. I'd have to drive minimum of 3.5 hours one way to Jacksonville, or Tampa or Atlanta and the only place that I know for sure is Atlanta and that is 5 hours one way. The one local brick and mortar will order some stuff at list and you own it sight unseen. I'm not including the ritz pitz in the mall. As a result, I do a fair amount of business with Adorama, BH and KEH and the occasional brick and mortar that is online on the west coast. Of course that's the price for living in the back woods of Tallahassee even if it is a state capital.

There is more to selling Pentax than just carrying a shelf full of basic gear as well. The stores also need to Want to sell something besides the rock star Canon crap like its part of the IPOD craze. It they were to put a spread in a sales circular on Pentax gear like they do with Canon and Nikon, they would get some attention. But they really don't want to in many cases in part due to arrogance and in part ignorance which both have a large part to do with the sheeple mentality.

Pentax needs to sell direct to shops and they also need to "help" them get out local advertising and flyers.
09-24-2008, 09:24 AM   #22
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Exactly!

Nikon sells well in Ritz stores because they do national training classes and hands on shooting days etc. Imagine if you are new to selling cameras and a company comes in a hands you all the info you will need on their cameras.... and the opportunity to go out and use them for free for the day. What do you think you are going to sell?

If Pentax did some sort of training program other than online... There may be more cameras sold. The problem is, does pentax have the budget anymore to do that kind of support?
09-24-2008, 09:26 AM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by cardnick Quote
As a manager for a Ritz Store, I have a unique view of the availibilty issue. . . . I hear all the complaints of, "they don't carry anything" or "They don't have what I want", but If they did, would you buy it from them? Would you just go there to look at it, handle it, and then go shop for it online? That is my gripe as a retail manager. Too often people forget about the possibility of good service just to save a few dollars. I have driven 350 miles round trip on a saturday morning to take care of a customers order that was mis- shipped because that customer was willing to pay a little more than online. It is that service and the ability to look someone in the eye and get what you need that makes the difference.
If you were to price match like Ritz online supposedly does against BH and Amazon, yes I would buy it. But I saved $130 over ritz when I bought my k200d through Amazon and they have a good return policy as does BH and Adorama. The 2 local ritz stores in the malls had 1 k20d between them and I never got to see it. Ritz online refused to price match and only give 3 days after the fact on purchases which basically means it isn't going to happen since the request has to be in writing. I know there are some good local Ritz and Wolf managers around, but the problem with them is at the Corporate level. Ritz/Wolf could compete price wise they just don't really want to at the corporate level.

Edit: Keep in mind the BH and Adorama have reknowned brick and mortar stores and aren't just a mail order outfit. They would be Ritz/Wolf/Camera World's worst nightmare if they opened up stores in the major cities around the country like LA, Tampa, Miami, KC, Chicago etc. But with their net business they don't really need to.

09-24-2008, 09:32 AM   #24
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I agree 100% Pricing from corporate does kill us sometimes.
09-24-2008, 09:35 AM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by cardnick Quote
Exactly!

Nikon sells well in Ritz stores because they do national training classes and hands on shooting days etc. Imagine if you are new to selling cameras and a company comes in a hands you all the info you will need on their cameras.... and the opportunity to go out and use them for free for the day. What do you think you are going to sell?

If Pentax did some sort of training program other than online... There may be more cameras sold. The problem is, does pentax have the budget anymore to do that kind of support?
That is exactly the kind of thing they are going to have to do. You can't retreat for ever and win a war.
09-24-2008, 09:48 AM   #26
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The first thing that they need to do is get their products back into stores!
09-25-2008, 01:34 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by cardnick Quote
As a manager for a Ritz Store, I have a unique view of the availibilty issue. I know the frustration from a Pentax users view, but also from the retail view. It is true that Ritz is not currently carrying a large selection of Pentax gear. It does have to do with the restructuring of the sales force to some extent, but it also has to do with you the customer. I hear all the complaints of, "they don't carry anything" or "They don't have what I want", but If they did, would you buy it from them? Would you just go there to look at it, handle it, and then go shop for it online? That is my gripe as a retail manager.
So, who is to blame for the lack of product in your local stores? Pentax is one, but the local shopper is also to blame for not supporting the local store and buying locally. Sorry for the Rant but it is my 2 cents.
I understand you rant. Ritz and Wolf are the same eninty aren't they?
I went into the local Wolf to look at and possibly buy the K20D. Here was the deal Ritz/Wolf online was advertising the camera for $1299 with free shipping and No Sales tax. Since Texas has sales tax and they have B&M store here they have to charge us sales tax. The Ritz/Wolf online solution was for those states that they had to remit sales tax to was to discount the price of the camera by the amount of the sales tax, then charge us sales tax. I would still spend $1299 with Ritz/Wolf but would have the camera and the state of Texas would have it's sales tax.

I went into the local Wolf Store and asked if they would give me the same deal as thier online operation. I had the money burning a hole in my pocket. CASH, GREEN FOLDING LEGAL TENDER. NO MERCHANT FEES FOR A CREDIT?DEBIT CARD TRANSACTION!! Instead I was subjected to a lecture of how I did not understand how the world works I should should happily pay sales tax. So by this clowns logic I should have paid $1299 for the camera and the local sales tax rate of 8.25% or a total of $1406.17 for the same thing I could have bought at the Ritz/Wolf online for $1299.

Call me stupid, call me naive, call me unworldly but I went back to the internet since I was insulted in the b/m store and Beach had dropped the price to $1169 so I bought from them. ( I should have waited as a couple of weeks later it dropped further)Your corporate loss not mine. I also bought the 16-50mm and 50-135mm 2.8 lenses from them as well. I did buy the battery grip and another battery later from Arlington Camera as they were competive with the online operations.

I will buy where I am respected and not talked down to. I still use that wolf's store for some of my printing needs and occasionally carry my camera in there and if anyone ask's I always point out that they lost the sale and If I see the particular clerk I point him out.

I also have 32 + years in the retail world and poor customer service does more to run off customers than any other reason. That's my $137.17 worth

Last edited by KA5TXL; 09-25-2008 at 01:57 PM.
09-25-2008, 03:21 PM   #28
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That is unfortunate that they were not willing to help you out there. Again, Please don't judge all Ritz based stores by one idiot. I applaud you for your attempt at shopping locally and helping the local economy and work force. Thank You.

Nick
09-25-2008, 03:55 PM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by cardnick Quote
That is unfortunate that they were not willing to help you out there. Again, Please don't judge all Ritz based stores by one idiot. I applaud you for your attempt at shopping locally and helping the local economy and work force. Thank You.

Nick
There is often a difference between mall stores and non-mall stores!
09-26-2008, 01:35 PM   #30
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Tell you Pentax's niche. Only have your product sold thru brick & mortar stores. No mail order what so ever. Has been working in car audio for a number of years. Then all b&M stores would get behind something they could actually make a little money on. C&N would find themselves in trouble. Mail order has lived off B&M for years. If something like this doesn't happen there won't be any B&M stores and no one to show Penttax vs C&N.
thanks
barondla
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