Yesterday was my wife’s birthday, and she’s recently considered buying a new camera. Although she hadn’t been shooting lately, she minored in photo journalism and she’d worked in a camera store for several years. I surprised her by sharing research my friend, Josh Humble, had done on new cameras. She and I then visited Robert’s Camera in downtown Indianapolis. Before we arrived, she’d decided on a Nikon 3200. My wife can be a research perfectionist, which can slow the process, but with Josh’s advice, she concluded the Nikon fit her needs. She was ready to make a buying decision, but was she?
Before we went to the store, she compared prices from both Robert’s, and a non-local online retailer. The online retailer was more than 10% less for the exact same product. Upon arriving at the store, we were immediately greeted. My wife spent 45 minutes in Q&A with our knowledgeable and helpful photo professional. Near the end, I asked an honest yet uncomfortable question — an “elephant in the room” question: “Why should we purchase the camera here, when we could get it cheaper online?” I have to hand it to our consultant… here’s what he had to say:
We build relationships — When you purchase from us, we’re here to help you. We are part of your team.
We offer more than just a receipt when the purchase is complete — This includes frequent free photography classes, advice, and ongoing education.
We know this industry — The store is professionally operated by photography enthusiasts who know their business.
We’re someone you can trust — While I was waiting on my wife I looked at a video camera on sale. Another employee asked about my interest in the camera. After asking how I would use it I was advised it wasn’t what I needed and they didn’t have a camera that fit my purposes. They even recommended a brand they didn’t carry.
We’re part of the community — Not only are they part of our community but have been for over 55 years – that means something.
These are lessons any business would do well to embrace. Many consumers aren’t looking for the lowest price, but the best value, which includes service, follow-up, and trust. We bought the camera.