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11-04-2009, 07:29 AM   #1
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Pentax & dealers

I saw an interesting bit of news yesterday that Pentax has signed agreements with Digital River to set up a slew of web purchasing portals. There's been an interesting response to it here, which seems to indicate that there maybe a reaction by dealers against this.

I find all this quite interesting - I get the feeling that Pentax is making many strategic decisions which will not be popular with the traditional Pentax consumer or afficionado, but which might make the difference between its survival in the new digital age or it increasingly being an ossified, niche brand.

11-04-2009, 08:09 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nass Quote
I saw an interesting bit of news yesterday that Pentax has signed agreements with Digital River to set up a slew of web purchasing portals. There's been an interesting response to it here, which seems to indicate that there maybe a reaction by dealers against this.

I find all this quite interesting - I get the feeling that Pentax is making many strategic decisions which will not be popular with the traditional Pentax consumer or afficionado, but which might make the difference between its survival in the new digital age or it increasingly being an ossified, niche brand.
Pentax USA has been using a company called Sure Source for its own direct to the consumer sales for a couple of years now. As a photo retailer I naturally would prefer less competition, but the there is a much bigger issue as far as I am concerned. My concern is that Pentax has figured out a way for consumers to purchase rather conveniently from them, but they still lack a way for retailers to purchase just as easily. The other camera manufacturers have a web portal where dealers can place and track orders, maintain account information, check availability and do all the things that make their businesses run smoothly. It seems that the some what "hands-off" approach to maintaining relationships with dealers of smaller sizes could be better explored.

While Pentax has made conspicuous changes in their personnel, ostensibly to realize some cost saving, the quality and volume of information has suffered. The dealer contacts can't be blamed, as they are being asked to do much more with less. And frankly the dealer support has been great all circumstances considered. However the accuracy of the information, the timeliness and the volume of information could be made much better if there were a site where the dealer can go to check that information. That sort of site would entirely mitigate any inaccuracies in the current information flow (I was recently told that 85% of the information was accurate and if I wanted it to be 100% then I would have to wait longer for the information). To support this arguement one can look at the pentaximaging.com website and see they are still promoting a $100 instant rebate on the K-7 that expired five days ago. In the world of instant rebates that is a pretty long time. However the webstore has the pricing and promotions right.

I am not concerned about Pentax selling direct. A number of other manufacturers do the same and even have their own clearance channels to unload refurbished product. These things don't really affect my willingness to support a company, but poor information certainly does.

Thanks for bringing this subject up as it is one that is particularly near and dear to a number of photo retailers, and it's good to get this discussion going.

David Seigel
Camera Craft, Inc.
Rockford, IL
11-04-2009, 08:17 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by dnaseigel Quote
The other camera manufacturers have a web portal where dealers can place and track orders, maintain account information, check availability and do all the things that make their businesses run smoothly. It seems that the some what "hands-off" approach to maintaining relationships with dealers of smaller sizes could be better explored.
I'm with you on this David, in my professional life I deal with telecoms equipment and much of my information comes through a sales and marketing portal which has everything you need to know about the products, current promotions and a tie-in to salesforce.com through which we can check all our sales and this month's dollar-adjusted prices for kit from the distributor. As a sales & marketing professional I'm very surprised that Pentax don't have this!

I'm somewhat reluctant to jump on this "Pentax marketing is dreadful" bandwagon but I have to say, the longer you look at it the more holes there do seem to be.
11-04-2009, 10:58 AM   #4
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I've noticed Pentax webstore does not charge sales tax

I've noticed pentax own webstore entity does not charge state sales tax. Considering I live in Colorado, home of Pentax USA I find this quite interesting.

I wish Canon and Nikon would figure out a way to offer this customer friendly loophole as alot of their goods are priced at full msrp retail, even at B&H thesedays. So one could buy always instock items direct instead of sitting on waiting lists all over the net and just pay additional shipping fee.

Pentax is evolving. No where in my city is Pentax available for hands on. I guess pentax wants its owners to sell the product themselves. When ever I drop by my favorite local shop there are people paying full retail plus local fees for Canon and Nikon including D700 and 5D Mark II. $2699 versus $2699. It baffles me why Pentax chooses not to compete in this hands on sales enviroment. Every person buying a canikon will likely never buy a pentax irregardless to how the one or two owners at a local camera club tout it.

All cameras thesedays take great photos. Its more about the owner's skills & vision & their ability to read instructions manuals to make any camera brand they use excell.


QuoteOriginally posted by dnaseigel Quote
Pentax USA has been using a company called Sure Source for its own direct to the consumer sales for a couple of years now. As a photo retailer I naturally would prefer less competition, but the there is a much bigger issue as far as I am concerned. My concern is that Pentax has figured out a way for consumers to purchase rather conveniently from them, but they still lack a way for retailers to purchase just as easily. The other camera manufacturers have a web portal where dealers can place and track orders, maintain account information, check availability and do all the things that make their businesses run smoothly. It seems that the some what "hands-off" approach to maintaining relationships with dealers of smaller sizes could be better explored.

While Pentax has made conspicuous changes in their personnel, ostensibly to realize some cost saving, the quality and volume of information has suffered. The dealer contacts can't be blamed, as they are being asked to do much more with less. And frankly the dealer support has been great all circumstances considered. However the accuracy of the information, the timeliness and the volume of information could be made much better if there were a site where the dealer can go to check that information. That sort of site would entirely mitigate any inaccuracies in the current information flow (I was recently told that 85% of the information was accurate and if I wanted it to be 100% then I would have to wait longer for the information). To support this arguement one can look at the pentaximaging.com website and see they are still promoting a $100 instant rebate on the K-7 that expired five days ago. In the world of instant rebates that is a pretty long time. However the webstore has the pricing and promotions right.

I am not concerned about Pentax selling direct. A number of other manufacturers do the same and even have their own clearance channels to unload refurbished product. These things don't really affect my willingness to support a company, but poor information certainly does.

Thanks for bringing this subject up as it is one that is particularly near and dear to a number of photo retailers, and it's good to get this discussion going.

David Seigel
Camera Craft, Inc.
Rockford, IL


08-11-2010, 10:37 AM   #5
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dealer network drying up?

I've tried 3-4 "dealers" from pentax's website dealer locator (which isn't very good BTW - just show me a list of statewide dealers, rather than the 1-2 you think are near my zip) and every one of them, once I call the dealer, no longer carries Pentax camera bodies. Most seem to have stopped within the last year. Many will say something like "we still have a few lenses...but no cameras".

I'd like to actually hold and try the k-x and k7 before making a purchase decision, but I'm not having much luck finding a dealer. I'm in the Philadelphia area, not exactly the boondocks - certainly a major metro area.

Is this part of a nationwide trend, or is it just the Philly camera stores?
08-11-2010, 10:51 AM   #6
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Good question.

If Pentax does not require authorized dealers to carry a specific inventory, you'll get this arrangement.

My local shop is an authorized Sigma dealer but concentrates on Tamrom, the camera manufacturers' lenses, and Promaster flashes. I can buy Sigma on special order and return it easily but otherwise their dealer status brings no advantage to me. Unless I want to spend 25% more plus 5.5% sales tax. And wait for a week or two. Or more.

I suspect that manufacturers who demand stocking levels will find that many dealers will gladly give up their "authorized dealer" status. This is not a good time for Pentax to remove even more dealers from their retail channel.

Dealers will eagerly stock Pentax if/when they see a demand to fill. What are we doing to show them the demand?

PS: Handling the equipment at the dealer and then purchasing via the Internet is not the way. Really. We need to stop that if we're to get a dealer network back.
08-11-2010, 11:44 AM   #7
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An other way is the Tupperware way, at home on an evening with some chatting friends and a glass of beer and your credit card of course! Ask your wives for more details…
08-11-2010, 01:22 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by glanglois Quote

Dealers will eagerly stock Pentax if/when they see a demand to fill. What are we doing to show them the demand?

PS: Handling the equipment at the dealer and then purchasing via the Internet is not the way. Really. We need to stop that if we're to get a dealer network back.
Right now I'm not even getting the chance to put my greasy fingerprints all over a floor model, so it's kind of moot I'll support the local camera stores but they do have to offer a more or less competitive price.

08-11-2010, 01:35 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by philippe Quote
An other way is the Tupperware way, at home on an evening with some chatting friends and a glass of beer and your credit card of course! Ask your wives for more details…
Uhm - I hope you were joking.

There is no way on earth you could get me and 5 or 6 other photo enthusiasts to come to an Amway (oops, Pentax) sales party.
08-11-2010, 01:55 PM   #10
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The prices I see at BH and Adorama are a hell of a lot better than the prices I see at Pentax Imaging. I don't pay sales taxes with them either. If these portals undermine current mail order web order, I see it as the same beginning of the end that happened with the local B & M demise. At least People in New York can walk into places like BH, Adorama, 17th ST, 47th St and Abe's and see some gear.
08-11-2010, 02:00 PM   #11
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Pentax can make this move while ditching the k-mount for a new EVIL system and royally screw themselves.

QuoteOriginally posted by glanglois Quote
Good question.

If Pentax does not require authorized dealers to carry a specific inventory, you'll get this arrangement.

. . .

I suspect that manufacturers who demand stocking levels will find that many dealers will gladly give up their "authorized dealer" status. This is not a good time for Pentax to remove even more dealers from their retail channel.

Dealers will eagerly stock Pentax if/when they see a demand to fill. What are we doing to show them the demand?

PS: Handling the equipment at the dealer and then purchasing via the Internet is not the way. Really. We need to stop that if we're to get a dealer network back.
I couldn't buy my K200d and K20d locally. The B & M offered to order it at MSRP and I owned it. They no longer sell cameras and lens even for Canon & Nikon. Don't ask me how they plan on making it. Allegedly, one of the 2 Ritz Cameras had a K20d but I never so it. Those stores are now gone and they may have consolidated into 1 smaller shop but I haven't checked to see. That's the local scene in the State Capital of Florida. The only other option is Bad Buy and Costco/Sam's.

Last edited by Blue; 08-11-2010 at 02:08 PM.
08-11-2010, 02:38 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by dcunitedfan Quote
Right now I'm not even getting the chance to put my greasy fingerprints all over a floor model, so it's kind of moot I'll support the local camera stores but they do have to offer a more or less competitive price.
Exactly. When I used to go into the local shop to look at the 12-24mm lens, it was over $300 more than Amazon. The DA*300 was almost $450 more than Amazon (yeah, it really was...). I'd purchase my extraneous stuff from them (some cases, cleaning kits, etc), but never my big items. What was my motivation to do it?

Camera shops must understand they are dealing with a very educated consumer and it's going to stay that way...
08-11-2010, 02:43 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
Uhm - I hope you were joking.

There is no way on earth you could get me and 5 or 6 other photo enthusiasts to come to an Amway (oops, Pentax) sales party.
I would - but I'd rather see 10-15 lenses (some of the same kind) at a landscape photography event...10-15 for an action photography event...etc

Let me touch, feel, and use it around someone who I can ask questions of in a real-world situation. Then give me the chance walk away with it at a good price. I'd much rather do that than a camera store or online.
08-12-2010, 01:35 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by philippe Quote
An other way is the Tupperware way, at home on an evening with some chatting friends and a glass of beer and your credit card of course! Ask your wives for more details…
Well your Tupperware party is next month in Germany and they call it PhotoKina
08-12-2010, 01:49 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by RonHendriks1966 Quote
Well your Tupperware party is next month in Germany and they call it PhotoKina
That one is funny !!
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