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Is a Camera Shop a Viable Business

kaitaz 10 5
1 Feb 2008 8:01PM
Given the rise of online shops, ebay etc. are camera shops still a viable business. My local town does not have one and the vast majority of towns I visit as part of my work seem bereft as well. With the advent of digital more people seem to be getting into photography. You only have to look at the amount of magazines on the subject now. I would have thought it would be a golden time for camera shops. Is it that hard to make a profit now?

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samfurlong 11 2.5k United Kingdom
1 Feb 2008 8:06PM
I think the overheads are crippling them. Think about it, most people wanting digital are probably going to be computer savvy enough to get online and look for a good deal on the camera they want.
stolzy 12 3.8k 7
1 Feb 2008 8:12PM
I doubt it. most people seem to buy purely on price and place no value on the skills and knowledge of the person behind the counter Perhaps too many 'Saturday in Dixons' experiences have made them cynical
WelshKiwi 10 3.2k 2 Wales
1 Feb 2008 8:17PM

Quote:Is it that hard to make a profit now?

Yes, a good friend of mine has one and its the weddings that help him stay in business.

Also had to diversify and are now offering PS classes etc. During the day so even this is a limited market as most people (like me) work during the day.

Internet has damaged him big time. But also the High Street conglomerates. Competition is good, but not when you cant compete on a level playing field.

He just doesnt have the buying power that his competition has.

Its sad because its killing local townships, but I suppose some would call it progress.

Lee Smile
RogBrown 10 3.1k 10 England
1 Feb 2008 8:18PM
If it's still the same as when I was in the business in the 70s & 80s, there was never much margin in selling hardware. You had to depend on things like accessories & D&P to boost the profits & the D&P business must have dropped through the floor.
JJGEE 12 7.1k 18 England
1 Feb 2008 8:20PM
Well, if they sold the things I wanted I would use them.
It is really quite sad that just to get a cable release I have to "mail" order one, as Camera shops do not stock them any more.
Same with film....
Same with chemicals / paper ( But I've now given up developing / printing because of the hassle of getting the stuff in the quantities I wanted)
tomcat 12 6.4k 15 United Kingdom
1 Feb 2008 8:37PM
I do not believe it is just camera shops that have suffered of late
Look at the major supermarket chains !
I for one shop at Tescos,but mainly for groceries and general household goods
If I want insurance I go to an insurance broker or my bank
If I want flowers I use a florist
If I want an internet connection I use one of the major players direct(incidentally there are moves afoot to relieve the likes of Tescos etc; from being an ISP)
If I want a laptop I go to Comet
If I want an iron etc; I go to Comet
If I want a mobile phone I use Vodaphone(or another)
If I want some small photos processing I use Boots or Jessops
If I want to play the lottery I use my local corner shop

If folks continually use one of the major supermarkets for aquiring all their wordly goods then I am afraid there will not be any specialised outlets left where you can actually have an intelligent conversation with the sales person.

We still use our local corner shop for about 20 % of our weekly/monthly purchases..if not there will not be a corner shop to use


miptog 12 3.6k 61 United Kingdom
1 Feb 2008 8:39PM
Make a list of all those things you want from a high street store (even chains like Dixons and Jessops), that you can't get, and which isn't viable via the internet and mail-order.
Snapper Plus
12 4.3k 3 United States Outlying Islands
1 Feb 2008 8:41PM
I know a man who knows a man (well, it's actually his brother!) and the brother gave up his long established shop in a very large northern English town because he just couldn't compete on any items. He had long since ditched the analogue side of things and basically anything with a sell-by date, but still couldn't make enough to pay staff. He kept the mini-lab side of things as there was a worthwhile living to be had from that, plus he could more or less do it himself.
RogBrown 10 3.1k 10 England
1 Feb 2008 8:41PM

Quote:We still use our local corner shop for about 20 % of our weekly/monthly purchases..if not there will not be a corner shop to use

I agree Adrian. People are always moaning about supermarkets killing off the high street, then they go and do all their shopping in Tesco. We get most of our shopping from the Coop in the village.
WelshKiwi 10 3.2k 2 Wales
1 Feb 2008 8:45PM
I used to go in to the camera shop on a saturday morning and its was packed, and I would have to wait.

Now, I can be in there a whole hour before I see another customer.

To be fair to my friend, He has kept ALL his staff on, even the team for D & P.

I just wonder how long it can go on for, but like I said he is divesifying.

As for me, well, I a farmers wife. I go to a green grocer for my fruit and veg, a butcher for my meat. It might be a tad more expensive, but its fresher and local produce, its nice to meet local village people, and it keeps the Island running.

But not everyone can do this.

I hate supermarkets with a passion.

kaitaz 10 5
1 Feb 2008 8:50PM
I agree tomcat but we seem to be the minority. I wanted a remote for my camera a while back. I could have got one off ebay for a fiver but instead I traveled 30 miles to my nearest camera shop, had a chat with the staff, looked at some tripods and lenses, bought the remote for a tenner and the whole experience was worth the extra 5. I have been back since and bought one of the tripods too, which would not have happened with the ebay route.
tomcat 12 6.4k 15 United Kingdom
1 Feb 2008 8:52PM

Quote:I hate supermarkets with a passion

I think I know how you feel Lee

Everyone to their own but Tescos is the only one that we use..never give the other ones the time of day and they are all within easy distance of us
tomcat 12 6.4k 15 United Kingdom
1 Feb 2008 8:56PM

Quote:I traveled 30 miles to my nearest camera shop

I still like to see what I am purchasing...I know if you buy a lens off WE that it will be OK but if I have to travel to my nearest Jacobs in Leicester then I do
Amazing that in the centre of the city it has its own mini parking area

Boyd 14 11.2k 11 Wales
1 Feb 2008 8:59PM

Quote:the whole experience was worth the extra 5.

I think what a lot of people don't like is say when they've seen a CF card on the internet for 15, decide to support their local camera store to find the same card being sold for 50 or more.

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