For our third report on how major camera retailers are coping with the lockdown, we chat to Frank Keenan, Commercial Director of Park Cameras. ‘With the retail stores closing down at the end of March, virtually all of the store team are furloughed,” Frank explains. “But the really good news is that the photographic customer is still interested in the market and interested in interacting with us. We have also been working with the brands to generate a lot of unique content, particularly video and blog tutorials.”

As Frank explains, the major brands are being very proactive in the face of the crisis. “A lot of them are starting to run online one to one and ‘one to many’ seminars. There has just been a series of weekend seminars with David Newton, an ambassador for Canon, for example, and multiple Facebook live streams lasting over an hour. Sony and Fujifilm are doing similar activities and Olympus and Panasonic are even running technical one to ones.”

Park is reaching out to furloughed staff, running photo competitions (see picture below) and keeping them up to date with the market. Returning to the wider business, Frank reports that online orders in particular are very strong.

“What’s also really surprising is the number of calls to our calls centre, from very experienced customers who want to know the nuances of gear they are thinking of buying. Lots of customers are wanting one to one conversations, which is great. There are lots of exciting things happening in the market, such as the updates to the Canon EOS R5, the arrival of the Fujifilm X-T4 and so on.”

In terms of discounting, Frank notes that again, the makers themselves have been very proactive. “Canon ran a strong promotional program over Easter, and Olympus has been very aggressive, too, so it’s a great time to buy.” See the Events page here for Park’s latest initiatives and activities.