Fujifilm Professional Imaging Centers
Helping Retailers Educate Their Customers About Digital Imaging
By Diane Berkenfeld
Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he eats for his lifetime. This adage could easily be tailored to photo specialty stores
"Sell your customer a camera and he'll take some photos. But educate your customer about his equipment and he'll come back for more."
To this end, Fujifilm has opened Professional Imaging Centers inside the stores of five retailers across the country. The first retailer to get on board with a dedicated Fuji Pro Imaging Center was Alkit Pro Camera in New York City. Other retailers now with Fuji PICs on site include Glazers Camera, Penn Camera, Showcase Photographics and the latest Zeff Photo Supply.
"Teaching their customers about digital technology and our products creates a more rewardingand a more educationalexperience, for both the customer and the dealer," said Bruce Mitchell, vice president of Sales/Dealer Channel for Fujifilm.
Alkit, a family owned store, began as one location in 1934 and has since expanded to four stores in Manhattan, NY. Alkit's locations include their flagship store which houses the Fujifilm Pro Imaging Center, and three other locations. According to David Buchbinder, vice president of Alkit Pro Camera, the main goals of placing a Fujifilm Pro Imaging Center in their store was to increase the educational opportunities Alkit could provide its customers, especially with digital imaging. "Consumers have such a thirst for knowledge, its a challenge for them to keep up with the changing technology," he said.
In addition to helping customers, the Fujifilm Pro Imaging Center helps differentiate Alkit from other area retailers. Since their center opened, Alkit has seen an across-the-board sales increase.
"The Fujifilm Pro Imaging Center gives our customers a relaxed environment in which they can learn about all the facets of digital technology. It allows us to provide support before and after the purchase," Buchbinder explained.
Glazer's Camera, family owned and operated since 1935, is a full-line camera store including a repair department. Glazer's Digital Imaging manager Dartanyon Race said that since Glazer's put in their Fujifilm Pro Imaging Center, they have seen an increase in the number of professional shooters and event imagers coming through their doors.
One of the greatest benefits of the center, Race explained is, "We can demonstrate an entire workflow in one dedicated space, customers don't have to visualize the workflow." Having a dedicated area lets the retailer target the high-end professional in an area that features exactly what they are looking for.
For 49 years, Penn Camera has served the Washington D.C. area. Penn Camera, now with six locations, began with one store on Pennsylvania Avenue. In addition to their retail locations, Penn operates an industrial sales department.
Penn Camera's Fujifilm Pro Imaging Center is situated differently than the others. Penn's is at their corporate headquartersnot in one of their retail locations. Chris Butcher, Project manager at Penn Camera feels it is a benefit to having their center off the sales floor. According to Butcher, because the center is not in a retail location, people visiting the center are working professionals with a serious desire to learn about the equipment and workflow. There is no opportunity for casual interruptions either, as the photographers make appointments for the center. Butcher explains, "One of the greatest benefits to the customer is the chance to see the equipment they are interested in, in a real world environment."
Showcase Photographics opened its doors more than 26 years ago and serves professional and serious amateur photographers in the Atlanta, GA area. Showcase operates a large broadcast and commercial video department and offers the Showcase School.
Warren Steinberg, president of Showcase Photographics says their Fujifilm Professional Imaging Center allows them to provide more service to their clientele. "The center gives an area of the store that is dedicated to testing out the equipment and workflow from input to output," Steinberg explained. "The customer gets hands on education as opposed to reading about the product in a magazine."
Showcase's school began about five years ago, out of a need for continuing education in the community. The Showcase School currently has 400 students, of all ages, taught by pros.