Local Business Interview
11th April 2016
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This month I have been delighted to meet and interview Jason, Managing Director at CameraWorld in the High Chelmer Shopping centre.  CameraWorld first opened its doors in 2000 as a London based business just off of Oxford Street and has since then opened a branch in Chelmsford.

“So Jason, how much of your business is done online?”

“Well much not really. A percentage is, obviously, but we have a really good following and most of our business is done through the shop door. This is great for us because our concentration is and always will be in the shop where we can give our customers a personal service.”

“What do you offer that distinguishes you from the internet and the likes of the nationwide appliance stores?”

“Well, as a specialist in photography, we do offer a much wider range of photographic products, because this is our specialty. All our competitors deal wider ranges of products, which naturally reduces the focus on photography.  You will always find the main brands but we you will always find a wider range of accessories in our store.  More importantly than that if you have an old camera we offer a trade in service so you can trade up to a new one. This can be from a 30 or 40 year old camera to something you had bought recently and fancy the next model up. We offer good prices and you pay the balance and take your new shiny toy away”

“So your ranges are more in depth?”

“Yes, as a specialist in photography this is our sole focus and we spend time finding the new and upcoming accessories that are suitable and interesting in our market.  We can offer photographic equipment from your entry level holiday camera to the enthusiast photographer, to those wanting to pursue a career in photography. If you are a hobbyist and you are into photography as a hobby you can come to us and buy all the quality accessories you need to enhance your skills in photography.”

“What other services do you offer?”

“We do offer camera repairs and also we are just about to launch a HD printing service online only, where people can go onto our website and order high quality prints. They are more expensive than other places, but if you are looking for the real quality then you will certainly notice the difference when we bring this new service online.  In addition to that we do sensor cleaning. All modern cameras are now digital and have a sensor to process the image. If a sensor is dusty that dust does appear on the photo and can affect the quality of the image. This isn’t something that has to be done regularly, most do it before they go on holiday.”

“We assume your staff are all keen photographers. Do you offer training to keep them up to speed with the future of photography?”

“Absolutely. We encourage our staff to be active photographers. They have access to lots of equipment and love testing out all the latest cameras and we send them on training courses on a regular basis. All of our suppliers do those normally twice a year as new products are coming out and we ensure there is at least one person per product that is fully trained and aligned with it. Mainly their general enthusiasm gets them through. When a new product comes in they start playing with it and can generally learn a lot more that way. “

“Do you find it an advantage to be one of the few remaining camera shops?”

“That’s an interesting question, we are one of the few remaining for lot of reasons. There are now less that 100 shops remaining in the UK which is a great shame. The reason for that is that it’s very difficult to make it viable. High Street rents are very expensive and also quality staff are expensive. They are trained, enthusiastic and have to earn decent money. Profit margins on cameras have fallen because we have to be competitive with the internet and that is why a lot of competitors have fallen by the wayside. In the last 10 years we have lost probably around 300 camera stores in the UK so 75% of the photographic industry has disappeared because of the overheads. We survive because we offer a great personal service and have won many awards within our industry for our service. People come back to us because they like doing business with us, our prices are very competitive, we are not the cheapest but we are very close and we know what we are talking about and can advise customers on their needs.  Not always easy to get that online. “

“So what does the future hold for Camera World?”

“Well there are lots of new developments in the industry. Compact system cameras for example. Basically what this means is everything is getting smaller and people don’t want to carry big heavy cameras around with them anymore. They now want the small cameras but they still want the quality. That’s where it is going so a lot of the manufacturers are bringing out these small but high quality ranges with interchangeable lenses. We are doing very well with these as we are specialists in this area. The future is bright, there are lots of new products coming out that stimulate the market. Our second hand business is thriving and that is difficult for some of our competitors to compete, as our historical knowledge in the market is so comprehensive, so yes I am very optimistic about the future I think its going to be very bright.”

“Well, it’s been an interesting morning and thanks to Jason for giving us an insight into CameraWorld Chelmsford. If you would like to visit them you can find them at:”

7 Exchange Way
High Chelmer Shopping Centre
Chelmsford
CM1 1XB
T: 01245 255510
www.cameraworld.co.uk

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About the Author

Thomas B

Member since: 2nd April 2013

Hi I'm Tom Bosher

I run thebestofchelmsford and am passionate about helping the independent businesses in Chelmsford thrive and achieve their goals.

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