I asked in my last blog about how camera manufacturers are starting to engage with the social web and this led me to some thoughts on the multichannel retail environment that I wanted to share on the blog.
One of the key changes that the Internet has offered to customers is the ability to use price comparison websites to find and compare products. It’s easy to punch in the product code for almost anything now and to find a rock-bottom price – often from a retailer you will have never heard of.
Some retailers are not worried – they know that the combination of their strong brand and great service will pull them through and ensure continued orders, either from high street stores or on the corporate website. Even when major brands are a little more expensive than the prices found on price comparison sites, they will usually win orders because of the trust in their brand.
But I was talking about the camera market in my last blog and to expand on that discussion, cameras and other hi-tech gadgets are becoming commoditised items. There is little to distinguish one SLR from another by a similar quality manufacturer just as a mobile phone is the same wherever you buy it.
So is the brand recognition of the retailer enough in this case? A prospective customer looking for a new digital SLR has another decision point – which SLR do they choose based on the vast amount of information online and then where to purchase it. With a product that is standard and has a code number, it’s easy to compare every single online store and you know that the camera will be the same quality from an unnamed store as from a high street chain.
Perhaps the information required for these various decisions needs to start coming from both the manufacturer and the retailers with expertise in these areas – or the channels to market may change forever?
Photo by epSos licensed under Creative Commons