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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 31 Oct 2014 (Friday) 02:06
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Is it any wonder shops are closing down...

 
Timphoto
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Nov 02, 2014 12:20 |  #31

Wilt wrote in post #17247608 (external link)
Which came first, the chicken or the egg? The chicken creates the egg, the egg grows into the chicken.

[Snip]

Similarly, our knowledgeable neighborhood hardware store is disappearing too, as folks go the Home Depot or Lowes, and encounter a lot of help who can tell you about which aisle to find stuff, but little about the technical details of topics like plumbing or electrical basics, or about tool selection.

Wilt, I can't answer the chicken/egg question, but your comment about the local hardware store minded me of something I was wondering a while ago. We have a nearby local hardware store that is affiliated with the "ACE Hardware" group. Great little store. I'm not sure if that's a franchise or what, but it does give the owner the advantage of some significant group buying power, and advertising. At the same time, each store is not a "cookie cutter" building and the owner(s) have the ability to customize their stores to the local market. It's my first choice when I need hardware.

I've wondered why camera stores couldn't operate on the same concept? A loosely organized business group with centralized purchasing and advertising clout, while still maintaining some of that "local" store flavor?

As OhLook pointed out, it's just a matter of time when the no tax advantage disappears for on-line firms. Perhaps the "ACE" Camera store business model might work then.



Tim


  
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Mark0159
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Nov 02, 2014 13:32 |  #32

CyberDyneSystems wrote in post #17247616 (external link)
The key to finding a good camera store is to move to another state.
Seriously, there are none left in my little state of RI.
That said I am blessed with one of the best repair shops left in the country just blocks away, so I'm not complaining too much.

that's where NZ is different in that regard. There is only one camera store left in Hamilton and they are knowledgeable people, they know about cameras and photography. They even showed me how to load film in to a camera. For big ticket items I would be going to one of the stores in Auckland. Better pricing. There might be on-line stores I could get the camera cheaper but it's nicer walking in to a camera store. While I can buy from the likes of B&H by the time I add postage and import tax I'm no better off than buying locally.

If a camera store wants to stay around then they have to remove the staff that know nothing about cameras or photography and get people that have a passion for it. Stores can stay relevant but they can't rely on the business model of yesteryear.

The problem here is of course, most people in this forum are going to want to know about the cameras that they buy. We are a small selection of general public and I if the stores go all together, how may people are no longer going to enjoy photography in all it's forms.


Mark
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Luckless
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Nov 02, 2014 17:34 |  #33

The other side of the problem to just simply useless help in many stores is the frequently non-existent stock and selection. I'm aware of one camera store in my province who still has decently knowledgable staff, but they have barely any selection. Their business seems to rely more on handling prints and such. Not to mention that prices in Canada seem to be such that they're buying product retail from south of the border and marking up from there.

I've considered drafting a proposal a few times to have a provincially funded 'arts supply inventory', so that the burden of inventory investment is taken off the store owners, which could hopefully make prices more stable and encourage people to pay for local services rather than just ordering everything online.


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dodgyexposure
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Nov 02, 2014 18:14 |  #34

suecassidy wrote in post #17244249 (external link)
I do all my research online and if I want to go hands on, I find a store that has the item I want. I don't NEED to talk to the salesperson, they haven't got the indepth knowledge that I have. I've read consumer reports, reviews, read up on the specs. I just want them to hand me the camera or whatever and leave me alone while I play with it. It's too bad that so many shops give the experience you described. Not everyone prefers to purchase things the way that I do, but it seems more and more people are forced to do it because of the lack of product knowledge in the stores.

I'm in the same boat with my local camera store - I know more than them about the specific products that I want to buy. But when my work colleague wanted to buy a mirrorless (a market segment about which I knew nearly nothing), I accompanied her to my normal camera store, and then spent 20 minutes being educated about mirrorless cameras by an assistant who knew the various options. That's why I prefer to buy from a bricks and mortar store.


Cheers, Damien

  
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BigAl007
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Nov 02, 2014 19:26 |  #35

Timphoto wrote in post #17247777 (external link)
I've wondered why camera stores couldn't operate on the same concept? A loosely organized business group with centralized purchasing and advertising clout, while still maintaining some of that "local" store flavor?

There used to be such a buying group here in the UK back in the 70/80s. My then local camera shop belonged to it. As far as I recall they had about 50 retailers in the group. The group also did advertising in the national photographic press. As I remember they were able to have prices to match the major chains. Of course that was pre internet. Since the internet did for the big chains too, I don't think it really helped in the long run. They disappeared during a period when I was not really doing much photography, and had stopped reading the comics.

What is funny is that I know that one of the now major mostly internet photography business in the UK actually got big not on camera sales, but by selling memory cards. They sold them at just enough to cover costs, but made £7.00 profit on each package on the shipping charge. As they were sending out around 500 packages a day five days a week thats around £900,000 profit a year just on shipping. They could afford to sell that cheap as they had no pick up option, so you paid £9.99 a time for shipping. The owners ended up selling an 80% stake in the business to Barclays Ventures for £6,000,000. Not a bad deal at the time for a retail business that had been around for about 8 years.

Alan


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watt100
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Nov 04, 2014 18:27 |  #36

blanex1@netzero.com wrote in post #17247761 (external link)
i say this only because its true,i think alot of the brick and mortar shops are closing because of the internet,all though most of us won't admit it we just complain about it !even the post office is finding vary hard to keep up with internet,so all we can do is remember the way it was in mom and pops day,its kinda of sad.

sad but true. the internet killed off the mom and pop camera stores
and now the internet is slowing killing the post office (except for shipping the small cheap stuff from China)




  
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memoriesoftomorrow
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Nov 04, 2014 21:47 |  #37

I've generally found online information about cameras more useful that the information you can get in a physical store. Unless I'm in a hurry to get an item I order it online. I do go into physical stores though when I want to look at the product I'm thinking of buying.

I opt to buy where it is cheapest and most convenient for me at the time.


Peter

  
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elitejp
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Nov 04, 2014 22:23 |  #38

texkam wrote in post #17244196 (external link)
... But she's good at unloading the shipments, stocking the shelves, taking inventory and working cheap. That's all that most retailers want.

I highly disagree. Its all the retailer can get. Good employees are hard to come by.


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elitejp
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Nov 04, 2014 22:34 |  #39

Luckless wrote in post #17248325 (external link)
The other side of the problem to just simply useless help in many stores is the frequently non-existent stock and selection.

this is why i buy online. I dont mind paying a little extra at a brick and mortar store, yet when you tell me that you dont have it in stock and wont have it in stock but that i will have to pay the store to order it for me and then charge more than what i would pay online. Its at that point i just walk away and go to my computer. I dont care if that business stays in business.


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TMaG82
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Nov 05, 2014 09:30 |  #40

I consider myself lucky in that I live close enough to B&H that anything I order online I usually get the next day and I have the ability to drive to Unique Photo in Westfield, NJ and it only takes about 35 minutes or so.

The local guys at UP are all great, very knowledgeable and will spend time there talking to you back and forth. One difference that I get from them as opposed to larger retail shops is that the employees themselves are photographers. You get a sense that they genuinely care about what they're selling. Sure they might get a spec wrong here or there, but for the most part they're knowledgeable and know what they're talking about.

On occassion too they'll have something for cheaper than elsewhere. I just bought a G-Technology G-Dock EV from them and it was $499, elsewhere including B&H was considerably more expensive.


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CanonVsNikon
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Nov 05, 2014 09:33 |  #41
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TMaG82 wrote in post #17253605 (external link)
I consider myself lucky in that I live close enough to B&H that anything I order online I usually get the next day and I have the ability to drive to Unique Photo in Westfield, NJ and it only takes about 35 minutes or so.

The local guys at UP are all great, very knowledgeable and will spend time there talking to you back and forth. One difference that I get from them as opposed to larger retail shops is that the employees themselves are photographers. You get a sense that they genuinely care about what they're selling. Sure they might get a spec wrong here or there, but for the most part they're knowledgeable and know what they're talking about.

On occassion too they'll have something for cheaper than elsewhere. I just bought a G-Technology G-Dock EV from them and it was $499, elsewhere including B&H was considerably more expensive.

Yeah, you live in NY the mecca of brick and mortar camera stores (Adorama, B&H, Unique Photo, J&R, etc)

Most any other place has Best Buy and nothing else. It's online for me. I can educate myself via forums like these and buy with confidence from A+ online retailers with free shipping and no tax. Sorry, why would I bother with B&M




  
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20droger
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Nov 05, 2014 09:42 as a reply to  @ CanonVsNikon's post |  #42

And out where I live I have to drive 50 miles just to get to Best Buy. The only thing closer is Walmart, and the one near me only carries a very few P&S cameras.




  
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jc1350
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Nov 05, 2014 11:40 as a reply to  @ 20droger's post |  #43

Service Photo in Baltimore (Hampden) is good. I go there first for most things to help keep them in business (near where I work). Otherwise, it's Amazon and B&H for me. I had a local store near home, but they closed years ago. I don't count the also-gone Ritz which we also had, but they closed a long time ago.


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AZGeorge
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Nov 06, 2014 17:34 |  #44

Given the excellent service I've received over the years from B&H I consider them my local shop. A few thousand miles turns out to be a minor issue among friends.


George
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the ­ flying ­ moose
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Nov 12, 2014 11:48 |  #45

Only big box around my location so its 95% online for me. I gave up trying to buy anything locally except for one store. The ladies actually know their stuff.

The biggest part for me and which is why I no longer work at big box store is money. You get paid a crap wage and you know which items will make you the most commission. Many times I had to help a customer who had been previously sold an item that wasn't what they wanted but were nudged into buying because the salesperson made $50 commission on that sale.

What confuses me about a big box store is their ordering. When I was looking at getting my 135L I went in and was told it would be a month as they had to order straight from Canon. I check their website and its says their warehouse has some in stock. I cannot order one of those from the store, I'd have to do it online. Not to mention it was nearly $200 more expensive than anywhere else. I just ended up ordering it online at another store who was priced cheaper.




  
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