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The demise of physical photography stores

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Poll: The demise of physical photography stores (63 member(s) have cast votes)

How do you prefer to buy new camera gear?

  1. Online stores (24 votes [38.10%])

    Percentage of vote: 38.10%

  2. Physical stores (39 votes [61.90%])

    Percentage of vote: 61.90%

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#1 Dallas

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 08:40

Last week major UK photography chain Jessops announced that they were closing down and that over 1,300 employees would be let go as a result. It's yet another tale of woe and despair in these tough economic times.

The challenges that have been facing traditional bricks and mortar camera stores over the past decade have been immense. Physical stores have the kinds of overheads that any high street business would find difficult to meet. High rent, greedy shopping mall landlords (many of whom take a percentage of all turnover from their tenants), savvy customers who really only want to touch and feel the item before they head off to buy it online, etc. There is also an inability to be competitive on price, mainly because manufacturers are now having a much bigger say in what their products should sell for, so whether you buy your Nikon D5200 from Store A or Store B, you can pretty much be assured that you're going to be paying the same price. And with the sheer volume of new models coming out every quarter keeping stock of any one item would be a disastrous strategy. I've seen this happen with micro four thirds cameras.

I live in a part of the world where it isn't always possible to get what you need, so online ordering has to happen, but I still prefer to go into a store and get them to order something for me. I don't know why. I guess I feel like I am doing my bit to turn an extra wheel in the economy and if it helps to keep one more person employed then I think it's worth paying a little more for it.

My question to you this week is this: do you prefer to buy your camera gear online or do you prefer to go into a physical store and purchase your item over the counter?

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#2 JeCeH

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 09:08

I admit I bought a few lenses online, for camera's I like to see a face over the counter that can answer my questions and share his opinions and skills with me. So, for my camera's i still go for real shopping.
Kind regards, Hans
http://www.heemskerkonline.nl

#3 Larry

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 09:09

I would prefer to go to a physical store locally in Manila for my photographic requirements but unfortunately, most of what I need are not yet available there or will never be available there. So I have had to resort to ordering online for many of my requirements.

Edited by Larry, 15 January 2013 - 10:20 .


#4 nfoto

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 09:47

I'm in the very fortunate position that I am allowed to order directly from Nikon Nordic, usually after having the item(s) for review first. Sometimes I buy items from one of the two major photo stores in my country, since both are easily accessible. I have built up personal relationships all three places and draw extensively on these when I negotiate prices :). For spare parts I order from Nikon through their national repair facility.

For second-hand lenses, I usually buy them from reliable online sources (meaning mainly KEH).

Dealing with people is always beneficial. One detects the difference if something goes wrong. If everything else fails, an NPS membership is a benefit as well.
Bjørn

#5 wildoat

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 09:52

For the very first time, not long a go, I bought my first ever camera from an internet store
(though they do have a physical store also)

They had what I believe was one of the very last new D700's left in the UK, I had been told by all my
usual sources I wouldn't find a new one anywhere so when I did eventually I snapped it up.

I do prefer the experience of a physical store and that's how I normally buy my gear.

The large music store HMV in the UK has today announced it's gone bust and is closing
all it's stores and laying off staff, another industry which probably shares many of the problems
of camera retailers.
Where will it all end, it's not looking good!
 

 

 

 

 

 

Moose says " if you have a very expensive lens and you have a very cheap tripod, you're nuts"  




 


#6 lenmil

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 09:59

The trouble with all this is where does it stop. Too many people will be out of work then there will not be enough people to buy the goods. I have been in Austarlia 5 years now and last year i had a holiday back in the UK. Only one shop in the city centre of Newcastle had music CDs to sell. That was HMV. Now they have just gone bust too. With high speed internet it will be TV companies soon (and others) as they will just not be needed. The internet has way more to offer.

I am in the jewellery trade and we have seen many companies (who supply us with goods) open their own shops and internet sites. Last year a few jewellery places shut because some one decided they don't need the little guy any more.

The same is with the watch industry with the big boys stopping selling spare parts so that repairers cannot trade. Leaving consumers with little choice or having to pay more money. No competition.

Very scary if you ask me.

Who will fix my broken camer after the warranty runs out. A few years ago my Marshall 100W combo amp needed fixing. I could not find any one to do it. All i was told, you will have to buy a new one. I finally found an old guy who did it, but he said people will just have to buy new stuff once it breaks. Amps or cameras, all the same now i think.
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#7 Jyda

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 10:02

I definitely prefer a physical store. Fortunately there are several stores that carries (high-end) Nikon gear where I live.
/Johnny

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#8 Dallas

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 10:26

Yep, I think we are all on the same page. When human resources are no longer needed the result is not a good indicator for mankind. Wherever a job is lost there is some fat efficiency bastard pocketing the lost salary and grinning at all their acquired wealth. It's not right.

And yes, this having to replace everything instead of repairing it annoys me too. What becomes of all the dead devices? Are they recycled or just put into a landfill somewhere?

I have nothing against wealthy people, but I feel my ire rising when I am confronted with greedy people who can make a difference but don't simply because it's not "economically" viable.

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#9 vivionm

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 10:43

I prefer online. No ignorant sales assistants, pushy salespersons, driving, parking and fuel costs.

#10 nfoto

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 10:50

So how do you deal with defective gear purchased online? are the service level still preferable?
Bjørn

#11 vivionm

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 11:16

So how do you deal with defective gear purchased online? are the service level still preferable?


I return it. The guarantee is honoured, no questions asked.

#12 nfoto

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 11:32

Who pays for the return shipping?
Bjørn

#13 vivionm

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 11:43

Who pays for the return shipping?


They do.

#14 nfoto

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 11:46

So, idyllic world then. Good on you.
Bjørn

#15 Chris Wahl

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 11:51

For me it is not only about online or physical ... Around here there are some physical stores where the staff has no clue. There are small online shops (i.e. not amazon etc.) where you can call or write a mail and get most compentent answers.

In the end I buy where I get the best support ... Sometimes in an online shop ... sometimes in a physical store (prefered).

/rant on
I always get extremely mad about people who go to the physical store, grab all the information they can and buy afterwards online to save a few bucks ... this is most annoying behaviour and is one of the major causes for this misery
/rant off
Never mind the words ... just hum along and keep on going...

#16 vivionm

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 12:10

The good shops, the ones that go that extra mile, will survive, particularly if they combine online and over the counter selling - as Robert White does in the UK.

The others, who just want to move merchandise, will disappear.

Edited by vivionm, 15 January 2013 - 12:11 .


#17 Lars Hansen

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 12:25

I would like to shop in a physical store, but the advantages of shopping on-line makes me shop on-line: prices are often lower, return policy is better and you can choose an on-line shop with knowledgeable personnel and excellent service. Actually I believe shopping on-line makes it easier to pick a store that suits you because you don't have to go there physically.
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#18 Jyda

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 12:37

Those of you that prefer online stores, how do you evaluate if a certain product suites you, eg a camera or a lens? Do you not need any hands-on experience first? That's one thing I like with a physical store.
/Johnny

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#19 bjornthun

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 12:50

I prefer to buy new stuff in physical stores, but unfortunately there are few left. In my area there are two-three. Usually they have knowledgeable staff, and that's an added value worth paying for. The counterargument is that you sometimes will find more information about a product online, than what the staff knows. And sometimes the staff will just promote sales in a short sighted fashion.

It's of cours ok to handle a product in the store, but only time will tell if a lens really suits you.

Online I usually buy only used struff, i.e. manual focus Nikkors and a few other items (special filters and RRS stuff) that you won't get in physical stores in Norway.
Bjørn T

#20 Elsa Hoffmann

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 12:55

I like visiting the local camera shop, seeing my friends there, check out new stuff
but I also like buying online if I know what I want, quicker and easier
"I drifted into photography like one drifts into prostitution. First I did it to please myself, then I did it to please my friends, and eventually I did it for the money." Philippe Halsman




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