The concept of using the camera bar to the retailer's advantage is also another big push Fujifilm is trying to promote. "Retailers can help facilitate sales by ensuring that cameras are displayed on the camera bar and powered up," says Troy. "Consumers want to experience the technology, so having a DSC powered on the camera bar is the best way to facilitate the experience. Additionally, providing information beyond megapixels, zoom, and LCD size helps the consumer understand what else the camera can do for them. Features like face detection technology, image stabilization, higher ISO's, continuous shooting speeds, etc., are additional features consumers are looking for today that were not available on cameras even just a couple years ago."
Doing cross-promotions and redefining the digital camera is also another technique to move product. "Ours is the first camera being marketed as a fashion accessory, so that is its key selling point," says Chris Detert, PR spokesman for Vivitar. "It is also being cross-promoted with handbags from designer Mary Frances, so that further displays its fashion-forward sensibilities. Retailers can create point-of-purchase displays that include a Mary Frances handbag."
A Little Help From Our Friends
Manufacturers are often the first ones to help retailers sell their compact units by educating the retailer and the consumer. Panasonic, for instance, sponsors a program called the Digital Photo Academy in 20 major markets around the country, offering classes in which local pros teach small, customized classes on how to maximize digital photography and use a camera correctly.
Canon offers programs and support to help retailers add value, including the online Canon Digital Learning Center. "On the dealer sales front, Canon provides high-quality product sales training for sales associates, in conjunction with our training partner, CyberScholar.com," adds Peck.
Nikon organizes its Nikon School seminar-style classes for experienced digital SLR photographers and photographers looking to advance to the next level, covering topics from DSLR basics to streamlined workflow techniques.
Manufacturers are also able to help the retailer by offering on-site demos, workshops, and other forms of support. "We did 25,000 hours of demos in November and December to allow retailers to empower their staff to get in front of their customers," says Kodak's Ford. "To give a demo of a panoramic stitch in three seconds is impressive; people might be wowed by that one feature. We also have a training website where retailers can go in, sign up in 30 seconds, and use our digital imaging modules."
The demo does, indeed, seem to win over customers. "The most powerful selling tool for this is a live demo," says Panasonic's Fried. "Put the camera into the user's hands, set it to Intelligent Auto Mode, and have them shoot different subjects (person, scenery, close-up) so that they can see live how the camera automatically switches modes, depending on the shooting situation."
Leica sponsors in-store events around the U.S. "Our traveling workshops with retailers have also helped build a strong bridge between customers and experiencing the product," says Christian Erhardt, director of marketing, Leica Camera USA.
Interactive marketing events like the Samsung Mobile Showroom Tour are an effective way to drive traffic to specialty retail stores. "By working directly with camera manufacturers in coordinating and planning events on the local level, retailers can cost-effectively build buzz about digital cameras and the Samsung brand, as well as elevate their own brand as a go-to resource," says Henderson.
It comes down to a combo of features and techniques to move your compact digital cameras off the shelf. "Portability and convenience are the mainstay of compact and ultracompact DSCs," concludes Troy.