November 24, 2010: After two years of planning and implementation, the new Camera House website is scheduled to go live on December 1.
Camera House strategic marketing manager, Adam Slattery, told Photo Counter the first and foremost objective of the new website is as a sales medium for bricks and mortar stores to connect with consumers who go online – evidenced by the prominent ‘buy online and pick up in store’ tag on the homepage (pictured above).
While the primary demographic for Camera House is women between the ages of 25 – 39 – as it is for the majority of photo retailers – Slattery said that Camera House stores also attracted a slightly older demographic, of both ages. The website provided a means to better connect with younger consumers. He identified a new emerging demographic of 15 – 24 year olds.
‘We want to appeal to that younger market with the launch of the new site,’ he said.
He said the sales model the website would foster was ‘buy online and pick up at one of 82 stores’.
‘It’s set up as a cooperative working for and with stores,’ he explained, adding that Camera House had done a lot of research work with Google to get its approach right ‘to capture online sales we are currently missing.’
Slattery said that the website would focus on: search; sales; and acquisition of customer data.
He said that while Camera House may not have the advertising budget of Harvey Norman, it had a database of 372,000 customers acquired via store purchases, VIP club membership, online printing activity and the various competitions and promotions the retailer conducted.
The new site will offer consumers more than online sales, with a strong emphasis on product information, education, image galleries and even a Camera House blog, with the same look and feel as the master site.
Using EXIF data, Camera House can identify the specific camera model images uploaded to the galleries have been taken with, and use outstanding customer and staff images to demonstrate what a camera is capable of, both in-store and online. Galleries will allow comment, rate and review responses.
Slattery noted that according to Google, consumers research a camera purchase for an average of 1.9 hours, with 1.6 of those hours spent on retailers’ sites. It thus made good sense to get as much brand and model information on the Camera House site as possible.
‘We really want to integrate with all brands to demonstrate a range of products and a range of brands.’
Camera House has 375 in-store staff registered as online consultants. Customers can book time with these qualified staff via an online form, leveraging their expert knowledge and qualifications (eg, 250 of these staff members are qualified ‘Canon Experts’)
Camera House also plans to use the various ‘brand ambassadors’ – leading professional photographers who have aligned themselves with particular brands (eg Ken Duncan and Panasonic) as coaches on the site.
Regular competitions will be run linking with capabilities of particular models – so for instance a Sony NEX model with sweep panorama function could be offered as a prize for a landscape competition.
The group has not yet decided on whether to opt for OnPix, its current online photofinishing softaware supplier, or move to the Whitech Imagine platform, but either way, off-site fulfilment will be by Photo Create.
Slattery noted that the market already supported the Camera House online/instore model for photofinishing, with 80 percent of customers using Imagine web-based software choosing to pick up in-store.
He said that Camera House was still working on a ‘print fulfilment and price project’, one of the objectives of which is to achieve some consistencies in pricing of print services across the chain of stores. This is made more complex as some retailers used different suppliers for consumables.
Asked about a rumour that Camera House might embark on an aggressive pricing strategy to respond to low 6×4-inch print pricing, he said he preferred to hold comment on that until the price consistency project had been bedded down.