What's the problem with Jessops

Discussion in 'UK All Regions' started by Ian Grant, Oct 9, 2008.

  1. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    My local Jessops now stocks a lot more B&W film 35mm & 120 (almost all Ilford) & Ilford papers than it did on my last visit back to the UK. (Plus dev, fix etc). However no neg storage sheets, they are to special order & take around 28 days.

    There's no logic in this they are selling more B&W film than a year ago but how do they expect people to store them ?

    So with 2-3 days delivery from Silverprint that means another lost sale for Jessops, and I bought everything from Silverprint as a consequence.

    Then there's the cable releases I bought that didn't fit any of my cameras or shutters, the end piece that screws in to the shutter release was too large - on returning them I was told they are discontinued- but still for sale :D

    Ian
     
  2. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Ian While they have improved stock-wise I don't think they have thought things through properly. An example is paper prices. Currently Jessops is beaten price-wise by most of the internet stockists even allowing for fairly substantial postage costs. The edge Jessops could have is that if you live near or in a medium size town then Jessops products can be picked up by walking in so no p&p but it needs to reduce prices just a little to get the business. A small reduction in price might bring in a lot of business.

    It has a good ordering system on the internet plus a quick delivery to a local store but doesn't follow through on price to give it the edge.

    Nice meeting you at Ilford

    pentaxuser
     
  3. Steve Roberts

    Steve Roberts Member

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    My local Jessops stocked negative storage sheets when I asked for some a couple of months ago. However, the previous Jessops sheets I had were translucent rather than transparent and were described as "economy". The latest were named in some way - I forget the word - as to imply that they were more up-market, and were totally clear. I didn't give it a thought at the time, but when I tried to slip a strip of six 35mm negs in I found it to be all but impossible as the clear plastic clings tightly to the uncoated side of the film. They were totally unusable, whereas the "economy" product was absolutely fine.
    I may even call in to Jessops this lunchtime and see whether they have the cheapy version in stock.

    Best wishes,

    Steve
     
  4. Paul Jenkin

    Paul Jenkin Member

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    Where to start.....

    1) Having visited Jessops stores across the UK (I used to do a lot of travel from Aberbeen to the Channel Islands) I found them to be very 'hit and miss' when it comes to anything other than he most commonplace goods - whether it's stock, pricing, advice, whatever...

    2) I work in London and have got to the point where I will only use their so-called World Camera Centre on Oxford Street. Their other shops seem to employ the disinterested and disaffected and just can't be bothered unless you're waving a wad of cash in their face.

    3) They don't stock any second-hand equipment anymore. Sorry, but you can't cherry-pick like that in today's market. It's not even as if they're competitive. I was quoted a ridiculous price for a 4GB compact flash card - which they refused to change - despite sticking an advert clearly showing their competitor as being half the price.

    4) They say they'll price match but I've been little evidence that they will.

    5) They are sooooooo arrogant. They reckon they're the best bacause they have the most branches. They aren't a patch on smaller independents such as Ffordes and Misfuds. My local pro shop might not have their level of stock but he's incredibly helpful and will get me anything I ask for. Jacobs (probably the second largest chain?) are infinitely better trained (in my opinion) and have staff who happen to be photographers.

    It's a real shame as they should be the photographers' favourite store. I'm not sure why they seem to be so far off the pace but, in my opinion, they need to pretend that they're small independent shops that need the business.
     
  5. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    They subscribe to the "Yes we have no bananas" school of marketing, they never have what you want in stock, but can order it for you, I tell them I came into their shop to pay for it and take it home because I need it now, if I wanted to order it I could order it on-line and get it quicker and cheaper than they could supply it.
     
  6. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Under the guidance of Tim Brookes, the Chairman brought in to prepare Jessops for floatation on the Stock Exchange, Jessops had a very different attitude and policies. He left around 2004.

    I met Tim a couple of times around 6 or 7 years ago and remember him asking what I thought of the company's stores. At that time I had only positive experiences, they weren't my main supplier but they could get anything I wanted, even if not in their catalogue, and they would always price match . That policy unfortunately quickly changed after Tim left.

    Ian
     
  7. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    The Jessop's store near me usually has what I want. Saying that, I don't usually want anything too exotic. Just Developer, fixer and film.

    On two consecutive visits I was told by two assistants "The black and white film seems to be getting more popular" then "There's not so much call for this stuff now".



    Steve.
     
  8. John Lawrence

    John Lawrence Member

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    The latest I've heard is that Jessops chairman, David Adams is looking into doing a tie-up with a single camera manufacturer (possibly Canon??). The idea being to sell only one camera brand from their stores rather than a range of them and thus become the UK retail arm of one of the large Japanese camera companies (again, possibly Canon??).

    Whatever happens, my own opinion is that Jessops lost the plot a few years ago when they trumpeted the arrival of digital as sounding the death knell for analogue and subsequently adjusted their market strategy accordingly.
     
  9. Simon E

    Simon E Member

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    In a lot of branches that is exotic!

    My local Jessops has been helpful when I have ordered things but they strike me as being a store of box-shifters who don't know anything about trad materials, and not much more about the rest. I cringed once when hearing an assistant try to explain to customers what an orange filter is for (they were hopelessly wrong). It wasn't the only time. While I don't expect them all to be experts, the level of ignorance in a 'specialist' photography shop was worse than I had anticipated. If they were selling cameras alongside a host of electrical kite and boys' toys I might be less bothered. The Jessops of old was smaller, flexible and competitive on price.

    Since their prices for straightforward items like film, memory cards and batteries are considerably more than over the 'net or the 'phone (I've always liked dealing with Mathers, for instance) I never even give them a thought for those kinds of things.
     
  10. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

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    Jessops seem to me to be in a death spiral

    They don't seem to care what their customers ask for - and only try to sell what is there directly in front of them.

    I have even had to direct staff to products that are on the shelves behind the counter as they were unaware of its existence

    I have almost given up on going to my local store - it makes me cringe when I have to deal with staff that seems to be recruited for their indifference - although the occasional good one slips through the net by mistake.

    My conversations at Jessops tend to go something like this

    Me – “Hi, do you have any Hypam Fixer?” (insert almost any analogue product here)

    Assistant – “Err, duno. I’ll have to go and check” – wanders off to talk to a few equally vacuous colleagues
    – “No”

    Me – “Can you order me some, how much would it be and how long will it take to arrive?”

    Assistant – “Err, duno. I’ll have to go and check” – wanders off to talk to same few equally vacuous colleagues
    – “Err, duno”

    Me – “Is it something you stock in your main Warehouse”

    Assistant looking blankly at a Computer Screen – “Err, duno. We don’t sell much like that these days”

    Me – “Do you have many people ask for photographic chemicals?”

    Assistant – “Err, duno”

    Me – “Are you surprised?” (trying not to be too cross at this point)

    Assistant – Blank look

    Me –”OK, never mind. Don’t worry I’ll go and buy it somewhere else” :mad:

    Assistant – Blank look

    If they don’t take any notice of what their customers come in to ask for – not what they can sell them – then they are surely doomed.
    Its just a matter of time before the whole operation goes belly-up

    The shame of it is Jessops used to be a really good place for photographic gear and consumables. However, due to various changes at the top over the last few years, they have managed to loose all credibility and their dominance in the market.
    There was a time that I didn’t bother checking round for price comparisons as I could go to Jessops and they were as cheap as or cheaper than anyone.

    It really wasn’t that many years ago believe it or not.

    Very, very sad :sad:

    Martin
     
  11. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    We don't have Jessops in the US, but the story is familiar, and sometimes much worse here. I was reading over on TOP a while ago about Tom Hogan's "Predictions" for the 2009 photography market:

    http://www.bythom.com/2009predictions.htm

    In a nutshell he says the economic downturn will wreak destruction upon the photography stores that are in the "lacking focus" group. (No pun intended)

    IDK if that will be good or bad for film, or how well the prediction will hold up, I just thought of it as I perused this thread, and some of the comments about this particular chain.
     
  12. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    A D3 sensor an a camera to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Nikon F :mad: what a way to add insult to injury, digital imaging celebrating a technology it has all but destroyed.
     
  13. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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  15. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Link now updated, originally it pointed to the Photo.net homepage.

    Ian
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 22, 2008
  16. Ian Grant

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    Jessops problem is it seemed to think it could re-invent itself as another Dixons which was itself once a highly successful national chain of Photo stores.

    Ian
     
  17. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    I think the quality of Jessop's stores must vary with the knowledge and interest of the staff they employ rather than follow a central management methodology. My local shop has a couple of staff who know about traditional products, one of whom seems to make sure that the core products they stock such as a variety of developers, fixers film and paper are always in stock.

    I can only judge the rest of the stores by what I read here though as the only other one I have visited was in Glasgow and that one also seemed to be quite good. If I remember correctly, it had a well stocked traditional photography department in the basement. This was five years ago though so a lot could have changed that way.



    Steve.
     
  18. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    The two Jessops stores in Aberystwyth are quite good, and the Southend branch has a couple of people who know photography. Their lab tech is very knowledgable too. Unfortunately they also frequently suffer from 'Haven't got it, but we can order it in a few days for you...' A pointless attitude in the day of online ordering and next day delivery.
     
  19. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    Thanks Ian , I realized my mistake, I am to computers what Jessops are to Photo retailing.
     
  20. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Andy K makes a good point without realising it - if the Jessops store is near a University or good college there's often a greater demand for materials from students and the stores do tend to be better stocked.

    Ian
     
  21. Sandeha Lynch

    Sandeha Lynch Member

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    Which is exactly the case in Swansea. Jessops is 2 minutes walk from the Photography Department of Swansea Metropolitan University. They not only have a decent range of trad materials in stock, they have also managed to retain some of their more knowledgeable staff.
     
  22. Ian Grant

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    In an unnamed branch of Jessops last month while I was travelling around the UK a very helpful Jessops sales person said we can't get it but . . . then pulled out an AP looked up an advert told me the price and gave me the telephone number.

    I feel sorry for the good staff because Senior management don't give them decent support, or provide good customer service. I've dealt wit Jessops as a potential supplier and as a customer and spent quite a few hours at their head quarters, their senior management is extremely poor.

    Ian
     
  23. Paul Jenkin

    Paul Jenkin Member

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    I believe that, in this instance, Adam Smith was right: demand generates the need for supply and, if the demand isn't there, there's no need to stock it.

    Digital cameras have destroyed the demand for analogue products in the consumer market and Jessops are just one store that hung onto the shirt tails of the consumer switch-over to the digital imaging market. What Jessops is experiencing now is the double-whammy of reduced demand for analogue photographic goods at the same time as the consumer digital imaging market hit saturation point.

    I'm not suggesting that digital cameras are in any way superior to analogue but they produce a more instant and convenient product - and that's what the amateur market wants. We, the consumer, have created this 'monster'.

    Personally, I have given up even looking in Jessops shop window. They have NOTHING that I want. The local stores in my bit of East Anglia hold virtually zero stock of film (especially 120 roll fim) and I don't do any chemical prints myself so I don't need chemicals or paper.

    I am contemplating trading-in my D200 for a D700 but, as Jessops will not accept trade-ins, there's no point talking to them on that subject either. They might as well be 'Argos' as far as what they have to offer me is concerned.

    I feel incredibly sorry for the employees of such shops. How do you learn about photography if all you sell is one product line which, in itself, isn't even a piece of photographic equipment? A DSLR body is, in my view, NOT a camera; it is a computer. Why, all of a sudden, is PC World pushing cameras up their product line? What do they know about 'photography'? Nothing. But they do know a computer when they see one.

    I had to laugh at the prospect of selling just one brand of camera. Not because Canon was suggested but because it seems like painting yourself into an even tighter corner. What if your sole supplier's market share plummets? What if you become so reliant on your suppliers' goods that they dictate your profit margins and overall business strategy?

    What a mess. I suppose most of us are quite lucky to have a more diverse interest than just digital imaging and that as internet users we can usually source what we need at the press of a few buttons.
     
  24. lilserenity

    lilserenity Member

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    My experience of Jessops is very hit and miss.

    When they hit they usually have the film I'm after (nothing exotic, just some B&W or on the odd occassion some slide) and then others I end up with well someone who is nothing but a shop helper with no actual knowledge of the subject except the bare minimum. About a month or two ago I was not necessarily eavesdropping but someone had come in looking for a general purpose black and white film for use on a holiday. The recommendation was Delta 3200! I had to interject and make out that I had recently been on holiday and used Delta 400 and was very happy with the snaps.

    I hadn't been on holiday and I have only just bought another 2 rolls of Delta 400 for the first time in about a year... (I usually use traditional emulsions) But the thought of someone's snaps being 'ruined' by needlessly grainy photos was not something I would have wanted to see.

    The other week I asked for some simple MGIV RC 5x7 paper for some prints I want to do, and was walked around the inkjet section where I explained it was for use in a darkroom, the bemused response was "Wouldn't any of this lot work then?"

    Granted he was a youngish lad (16 perhaps? I'm not exactly that old at 25) so maybe he had never ever used film or been aware of what goes into making a traditional print. I did see it behind the counter but decided not to bother and just waited till I got back home and popped around my local photo shop who are always brilliant and good value.

    That said other times they have been great, including one time when I wanted some E100VS, and no where in town had any except them. So they're not that bad, but I prefer to support local businesses rather than chains as often they're very well priced. Also for photographic equipment I tend to buy second hand from places like MXV in Uckfield and have used places like MPB Photographic in Brighton.
     
  25. John Lawrence

    John Lawrence Member

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    "I had to laugh at the prospect of selling just one brand of camera. Not because Canon was suggested but because it seems like painting yourself into an even tighter corner. What if your sole supplier's market share plummets? What if you become so reliant on your suppliers' goods that they dictate your profit margins and overall business strategy?"

    It is farcical, and the very fact that they are even thinking about this seems to be indicative of the debt-laden mess they are in.
     
  26. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Usually when a store reduces the brands it carries it is systemic of a business issue. The goal of the strategy is to reduce overhead, cash out inventory, and focus on what moves the best. There is some statistical support for this policy, but it usually only prolongs the agony of a business that is failing on other accounts.