Imaging Industry Roundtable
Comon: It's very large in my mind. Do they want to "take over" this business? I still feel a local store can compete through service, product mix and personal attention. I am not worried about "going out of business" because of this. But with regard to the changing face of the competition, who will it be? How do I better them? Where will my "slice of the pie" be?
Cutting: In a consolidating retail marketplace, manufacturers need to find ways to grow product presence; doing so via direct to consumer online sales is a growing trend. Naturally, many consumers are visiting manufacturers' websites to research products prior to purchase; for the manufacturer to drive some consumers directly to purchase at that point of attraction just makes corporate sense. But whatever is selling on the manufacturer's site is typically at a higher average price than one might find at retail, and is used to showcase what is available directly from the manufacturer, in its own language and environment. Items like this are used to build awareness of the scope of the brand.
The imaging retailer's opportunity is to provide a destination for the imaging consumer to get excellent consultative service in a uniquely inspiring touching, learning, kicking-tires environment. You don't get that experience from a manufacturer's website.