Jeff Servaas, whose company PROtog had a high-profile and busy exhibition stand at The Digital Show, responds with some observations to last week’s review of the show:
We are a small distributor, we don’t have a national sales team, so our main aim for the show was to find new dealers. Our products had a very warm response from the general public, but we saw few dealers, despite the DEALERS WANTED banner on our booth. How do we get dealers to engage?
It surprises me that store owners don’t attend the one Aussie industry trade show to search out new sales opportunities. With the stores being squeezed for margin from the main camera suppliers, finding new margin opportunities must be important for staying profitable. So why do they attend a Camera House convention rather than the trade show – are they more interested in learning retail strategies rather than being the photographic experts in their area?
I note a lot of the smaller distributors did not exhibit this year. Canny retailers like to visit the smaller stands to seek out those new products which help them stand out from the crowd. If there aren’t enough smaller exhibitors, the show has less appeal to them. But exhibiting is a significant cost for a small distributor. If IDEA/PMA cannot market The Digtial Show as ‘trade’ show to the store owners, then the show is a consumer show. Keen enthusiasts want to see what is new – maybe more so than most dealers? But if their local camera shop is not keeping up with the new products, they will take their money elsewhere. Let’s not give our potential customers more reason to take the offshore-online path.
Aligning the timing of the buyer group conventions with the show is a great strategy if it means higher dealer attendance. That can only be healthy for distributors and dealers.
Yes, we sell from the show floor, at full retail prices. We also had some show specials which we also made available to our dealers. None of our dealers carries our full range, so selling direct is the only way consumers can access much of the PROtog product range we import. In a small market like Australia, making specialised products available locally is good for the consumer.
But after the limited response from retailers at The Digital Show, I can’t work out whether retailers want to sell the high-margin niche products, or only the low-margin fast moving lines.
– Jeff Servaas, PROtog
Jeff Servaas is managing director of PROtog, a Melbourne-based distributor offering a broad range of professional/advanced amateur products to Australian retailers. A relative new kid on the distribution block, PROtog has since 2006 built on its initial Powerex AA battery and charger range and is now the Australian importer and distributor for a large range of brands including 3 Legged Thing tripods, Kupo Grip equipment, Jinbei portable and studio lighting equipment, LEDGO LED light panels, Varavon sliders and camera cranes, Spider Holsters, PROLUX studio equipment, Nest Tripods, and Fancier video tripods. To visit the PROtog website, click here.