Agreed. It really isn't all that different from what's been going on the past 10 years in retail, excluding apparel. Small retailers selling big ticket stuff are getting squished...
Originally Posted by juan
Dedicated brick and mortar camera stores - even those that largely sell digital photography products - are having a real tough time as far as I can tell. I can name at least one Boston-area retail store that has told me that their used equipment (like many they have an eBay storefront), digital photofinishing, and framing departments are the only things that keep them in the game.
One of the larger retailers in the Boston area (not the one named in the example above) recently opened a store in Kenmore Square in Boston which seemed like a good idea in light of the fact that it's directly across the street from the New England School of Photography and is in a very heavy foot traffic area. But it's been a bust - NESOP instructors have already been telling their students for years to order the stuff off the web from B&H and Freestyle and to pool their purchases to get volume discounts and save on shipping.
Even Adorama and B&H have been steadily branching out into other areas, such as high-end Audio/Visual and now even do a pretty good business selling desktop and laptop PCs to small businesses. Makes sense, as people increasingly order digicams from amazon.com and similar.
And shopping through amazon.com does have the one advantage in that you will have no trouble whatsoever returning the product. The proft margins ain't great even on digicams - so it isn't worth their time to challenge it. You just can't expect to walk into a brick and mortar store and return a $1,500 camera as it were a $5 pair of socks. I don't care what return policy is on the wall - you get an interrogation.
That all said, I see no reason why companies with good distribution that have taken pains to establish themselves as specialists in analog photography products (J&C, Freestyle, etc.) shouldn't continue to reap good returns from these product lines as long as they remain available. Those of us who are looking to stick with analog for the long haul have a pretty good awareness of where to get these products now - and it ain't Bestbuy.com or Amazon.com.
Last edited by aldevo; 04-13-2007 at 09:43 AM. Click to view previous post history.