Panasonic looks to specialists to grow market share

Panasonic’s new Lumix GX7 will join the GH3 in being sold exclusively through the specialist channel, according to Panasonic Australia Lumix & AV Group marketing manager, Alistair Robins.

The Lumix GX7 will be available in its retro rangefinder stylings in black and, as above, black and silver.

The Lumix GX7 will be available in its retro rangefinder stylings in black and, as above, black and silver.

‘We are looking at the GH3 and also the GX7 to be exclusively sold through specialists because those two models really require specialist knowledge to be able to sell them,’ said Mr Robins. ‘And by putting them just through the specialists they can be confident that if they put the product on the shelf with the range of lenses and accessories, that someone down the road who doesn’t carry stock can’t just undercut a price point to get the sale,’ he said.

The flagship GH3 has been well-received around the world, particularly for professional quality video shooting. It has garnered four- and five-star reviews and an Editor’s Choice award from Photo Review Australia.

The GX7 comes into the range as a high-end photo enthusiast model, boasting a new Micro Four Thirds 16-megapixel sensor with a maximum sensitivity to 25n600, top shutter speed of 1/8000 sec, a tiltable Live View electronic viewfinder (2.76 million dots) and a 1 million dot, 3-inch touch screen Cell Touch LCD. (See separate story.)

‘We are seeing the interchangeable lens sector rapidly increasing in both volume and value, so although there are still growing segments within the compact market, such as bridge and the premium compact end, we see interchangeable lens cameras as having the biggest potential going forward,’ said Mr Robins.

Premium models like the f1.4 Lumix LX7 and bridge/superzoom models will continue to sell in the compact category, says Panasonic.

Premium models like the f1.4 Lumix LX7 and bridge/superzoom models will continue to sell in the compact category, says Panasonic.

Mr Robins advised retailers to target specific models within the compact sector, such as bridge/superzoom cameras and premium models such as the LX7, but that interchangeable lens cameras – and lenses – ‘is the big opportunity’.

Panasonic is on the record as having a goal of 25 percent market share in the Asia Pacific region by 2015 with its Lumix G range, and the GX7 is a first step in growing share.

Panasonic is clearly making a big play with specialist retailers with this launch. In addition to channel exclusivity, Panasonic has organised a national roadshow to present the GX7 to retailers, and has made other launch plan settings which acknowledge the global nature of the camera marketplace.

For instance, the camera’s local RRP was supplied with the press announcement ($1249 body only, $1349 with the 14-42mm kit lens), and local pricing is globally competitive, especially when shipping costs and GST are factored in. Local retailers are also able to accept pre-orders.

‘We’ve already given pricing details and the trade price is in our system so retailers can place orders with us and take deposits on it now,’ said Mr Robins. The new camera will be released simultaneously around the world.

‘The plan for the specialist channel is a national roadshow. We are holding retail nights in every capital city and inviting counter staff. We’ve got a stock of GX7s to play with and take some pictures and staff on hand to answer questions. We are doing that prior to the arrival of the product in September.’

The objective is to encourage retailers to stocking not just the GX7 body, but a broad array of lenses and accessories.

‘We are finding that if a consumer goes into the store and it’s difficult to find products or they are told they have to wait a couple of weeks, the internet becomes a bigger part of the business and it’s so easy if you are not able to get what you want to order online.’

‘We have a good relationship with the specialist channel. Obviously we don’t deal with all of the specialists, and a lot of that’s got to do with ability to obtain credit and that sort of thing, but we deal with the majority of the specialist shopfronts and we’ve been strong with them with our brand name and the fact our range really lends itself to the specialist sector right from compact to our interchangeable lens cameras. We’ve always had strong relationships in that area,’ he said.

 

 


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