Camera House chairman Mark Alderson addressed the issue of taking on new retail categories at the Camera House AGM in October.
He said that Camera House stores needed to ‘start looking at things from the customer’s point of view.’
‘How do they see our stores? he asked, ‘and what do they expect to be able to buy from stores like ours?’
He suggested that ‘we need start using the perception of us as technology-based stores, and expand the offering to our customers.’
However, it wasn’t necessary to take any big risks to put a toe in the water with new lines. A ‘technology corner’ within the store could be a testing ground for a ‘low cost, high return strategy’ and he suggested products such as:
– Bags that take iPads and iPhones as ‘these are products consumers are carrying with them when they are taking images.
– ‘IPhone and iPad-type accessories – chargers, download cables, car chargers – these are very low cost and very high return. ‘They are impulse items that we all are constantly loosing.’
‘Ask consumers how they are storing their data and offer a range of storage devices. Offer a service of uploading the data for the consumers onto a device you sell.’
He noted that the average iPhone has 4800 images on it, and few are backed up. ‘This is a great opportunity to sell security of storage of your images.’
He made the point that ‘a lot of the stock our stores stock is still assuming analog is around, whereas the consumer was looking for modern solutions.’
It’s not a question of type but of style – everything from bags to cables needs to be reviewed. For instance, every camera case should provide storage for a mobile phone and download cables.
He told Camera House retailers to look at their stores through the eyes of the contemporary digital consumer.
Impulse items were another area for stores to consider: ‘Find five products that are not normally stocked in your store that are technology-based and put them on your front counter. If you go into every successful retailer, they do this,’ he said.
A change in mindset was required: ‘We assume customers just want to buy cameras, etc. In fact, they are looking for things to spend money on – if you can engage with them and capture their interest they will buy.’
His suggestions included:
– a box of common download cables and chargers;
– Products from companies like Origin Scientific;
– Straps for phones;
– Digital toys.
Gift vouchers for services such as printing, storage and courses were another option.
‘This is a great gift idea that if packaged and priced right would sell.’ he said.