As a photography fan, will you purchase a camera online from Best Buy or Target before going to a physical store to take several photos, feeling the weight and the size for real and comparing it with other models?According to the GfK, high-quality single-lens reflex cameras, system cameras and premium compact camera models are still purchased at qualified photo retailers especially.
Nowadays, camera consumers follow two different paths: At classic electronic retailers, they expect individualized and professional advice on comparing and choosing camera models and the opportunity to touch and to try out the specific cameras in order to test the functions for real. By contrast, for online dealers, consumers are looking for a larger selection and direct deliveries to homes. Taking me as an example, as a tech-savvy millennial, I’ll not buy cameras online directly but I refer online shops as a digital shop window where I can gather formation at any time.
Omni-channel marketing serves as an interlink of digital channels and in-store guidance. For example, by using the beacon technology, camera retailers could lead customers into their shops during every phase of their purchasing decisions. In the coming future, when walking into an electronic store, customers will be identified by means of an app on their smartphones and will easily learn where their favorite cameras are and be notified of the sales information of their favorite brands. Even without an app, those customers still can be aware of the dealer’s offer through a QR code or a short URL on the display. What’s more, dealers can also reach consumers outside of the shop by intelligent display in public space with personalized advertising, or even send them messages with specific information. Even at home, customers can be reached through their smartphones, tablet, PC or even smart TV. Maybe with a chat function, customers can contact and communicate with dealers directly to ask questions about different camera models and their functions.
Some of the online specialists leading the trends already took actions. For instance, Amazon opened its first brick-and-mortar shop in Seattle in the fall of 2015 and opened two more in other American cities later to reach more customers by offering a shopping experience combining online and offline service.
“When brands stop marketing to customers in a general way and start treating them as individuals with specific preferences,” explains Maya Mikhailov, chief marketing officer and cofounder of the mobile commerce platform GPShopper, “that personalization will make customers more loyal to brands.”
I think the interlinking of digital offers and brick-and-mortar shops is not a vision for the future and will become one of the main trends of the camera retail market. Beacon technology is going to help retailers to close the gap between in-store and online, making shopping more enjoyable for today’s customer. Therefore, I believe specialty camera shops can still maintain their market share and be competitive if they could integrate classical in-store expertise and the convenience of online shopping.