Canon Canada opened its first Image Square, aka Canon Experience Centre, an elegant 6600 sq ft showroom in downtown Calgary, Alberta this month.
But contrary to most media reports, this is far from Canon’s first Image Square, with the Canon Global website featuring a story on the chain of Canon Image Square stores in India: ‘As of the end of 2011,’ Canon stated, ‘there were some 50 Canon Image Square stores in 32 major cities across India. By the end of 2014, we aim to expand this number to 300 stores in 150 cities.’
Canon India itself currently lists around 100 Image Square outlets on its website.
The critical difference between the two initiatives is that the Canon Image Squares in India are franchised retail operations under the Canon brand, while the Calgary Image Square Experience Centre is a non-retailing showroom – it displays and demonstrates Canon products after which, ‘expert staff will direct visitors to purchase through authorised local dealers or direct from Canon.’
(Confusion would probably be lessened if Canon Canada had fixed on just one name for its initiative, rather than calling it ‘Image Square, the Canon Experience Centre’. KS)
Reports last week on the Canon Canada Image Square initiative included a claim on the Canon Rumors blog – which correctly predicted the Canon Canada initiative – that Australia is to be next cab off the rank with a similar venue to showcase Canon products, going so far as to say that Canon has been acquiring heritage buildings in Australia in preparation for the move.
Canon Australia meanwhile, isn’t giving anything away. When Photo Counter asked specifically: Does Canon intend to open any Canon Experience-type stores in Australia in calendar year 2013? – The response was:
“Canon Canada’s experience centre is an exciting initiative by them to offer consumers another way to get hands-on with our products before they buy.
‘Each Canon sales and marketing company makes decisions independently based on what will offer consumers the best possible Canon experience, and so far in Australia this has been through our local authorised partners.’
When we pressed on some clarification on the future, rather than the situation as it stands ‘so far’, we were told that ‘revealing future direction by commenting on what we will or will not be doing does not serve our competitive position.’
Canon Image Square (the Canadian version) features displays and demonstrations that give visitors a ‘true look at how Canon products work’. Included are:
-Expert staff dedicated to answering questions, sharing tips, and finding information for visitors;
– Full-motion thematic settings and sculptural exhibits where visitors can test point-and-shoot and digital SLR cameras, a range of lenses and accessories, and a selection of printers;
– A touch screen media wall where visitors can post and interact with their own images;
– Interactive discovery tables where visitors can select an image, learn about its features, and find directions to the related product station;
– A fully-operational showroom exhibiting a range of Canon print production devices and solutions for business needs;
– A photo studio outfitted with professional Canon digital SLR cameras, Speedlight flashes, and photo production software;
– A classroom-style learning space where expert staff will conduct seminars, projector demos, presentations, and Canon College photography classes;
– Photo gallery curated by 500px, featuring the works of Alberta-based photographers who use Canon equipment.
To view a short video of the Calgary Canon Image Square, click here.