/ Shopping, Technology

Jessops finally snaps – was I to blame?

So, I was sad to hear that national camera retailer Jessops is going into administration. And then a second feeling came over me… a small measure of culpability.

Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t say that I’m directly to blame. The rise and rise of the cameraphone has had a devastating knock-on effect for sales of digital cameras, and last time I checked, I didn’t design the cameraphone (I barely even use my own).

But one thing I resolutely haven’t done is bought a single thing at Jessops this side of the millennium.

Get your bargains online

The last time I bought a camera from Jessops, it took film. That’s how long it’s been since the store has had any kind of relevance to me.

I’ve purchased two digital cameras in my time, and in both cases I snapped them up online for a significant discount compared to what I’d get on the high street.

I’ve bought lenses for my DSLR, and again, I headed online for these. SD cards? I wouldn’t dream of paying the ludicrous prices you’d find for these on the high street when you can get them online at a fraction. And I suspect this sort of behaviour makes me rather a lot like many UK consumers and potential camera buyers.

The last reel for Jessops

Jessops’ days have been numbered for a while. It’s sad to say, but true. I’ve spoken to the world’s biggest camera manufacturers over the last couple of years and, mark my words, every one of them is shaking in their boots at the challenge of selling cameras to a market that’s largely happy to wave its smartphones around.

This is the same challenge that a specialist camera retailer would face, and that’s before you factor in the better deals that can be found online.

I’ll miss having a browse through the cameras inside a store at Jessops, and actually handling a product I’m considering buying. But any time an assistant came up to me and asked if they could help, the truth was, no – they really couldn’t. And I couldn’t help them either.

Jessops’ administrators have announced that at present the retailer is not in a position to honour customer vouchers or accept returned goods. If you are concerned about Jessops going into administration, perhaps you have a gift voucher or a broken camera, then you can find advice in our guide on what to do if a company goes bust.

Comments
Member

@Rich, I don’t think blame can be levelled at you or I for why a company fails. If management don’t offer goods/services at prices people think are reasonable, you can expect this to happen time and time again.

Hopefully, management in other struggling companies will be forced to move away from the Cash Cow retail model and into a valued partner retail model. Although don’t hold you’re breath, many of them have been doing business in a bad way for too long to for us, the consumer, to see any real change.

And I wonder how many people will find out that any cashback they’ve “earned” will not be honoured either.

One cashback site are still offering “Earn 10p when you check in at a Jessops store” and 2% / 5% on purchases made online.

One other thing just google “Jessop administration” and you’ll see 2009, 2010, 2012 in the drop down, so they must have been struggling for a long time, wonder why they kept flogging vouchers, Oh yes its that Cash Cow retail model again aka Greed.

Member

I know the long term memory is a strange thing, but I am sure Jessops was one of the leading photographic mail order companies way back in the 1960’s. This being so they should have been well placed to cash in on the booming on line market and really did not need expensive expansion into nation wide stores. The lessons of the dangers of greed, over expansion and a long line of credit should have been learnt from the previous crashes, but alas the lure is just too great. Freddie Laker well demonstrated the perils of a cash flow only company.

Member
Phil says:
9 January 2013

Back in the days of real, proper photography I bought all my chemicals and film from Jesspos mail order. I always thought their venture into the high street was a mistake.

Member

Indeed, Jessops were very big in mail-order, advertising through Amateur Photographer and other enthusiast magazines. I did think it strange that they began expanding into every High Street at about the same time as most independent camera shops were closing down. So, in my view, they were no longer specialist enough to satisfy the real enthusiasts, and their target customer who just wanted a simple camera for some holiday snaps has since found cheaper outlets and other devices to satisfy that need.

So I don’t think Rich can be blamed for the failure. Every dog has its day, and Jessops have now had theirs, along with nearly all the other great names in the history of photography – Kodak, Polaroid, Agfa, Rollei … .

Member
HappyPig0 says:
10 January 2013

I gave up shopping in Jessops years ago….. Several stores tried, service, attitude and knowledge from staff within them shocking! They had a market proposition but failed to deliver. The had an online business but got it wrong! Like all businesses…. It’s only as good as the people within it! But like too many, it’s easier to blame! Easy come easy go, the pound still in the pocket, and now less mouths to feed it to…. thats all part of driving recovery, a recession / depression always reveals who’s swimming naked!

Member

I’ve always thought Jessops were expensive but did buy some photographic equipment with my employer’s money, simply because Jessops was one of the approved suppliers. I once wanted to buy through Pixmania, but they were not an approved supplier. I purchased a camera with my own money and was badly ripped off. Looking at customers’ reviews after the event, Pixmania had some terrible feedback and that for Jessops was quite good.

Member

Similar here, I had an insurance claim that could only be fulfilled using a “high street retailer”, what a rip off! Jessops was my only “choice”. By the time I had paid their price, the excess and an upgrade penalty I was little better off than if I had bought a new camera with wider choice at my own expense from the internet. The service was abysmal as well, they seemed to know very little about digital camaras, and even less about optics in general.

Member
Phil says:
10 January 2013

Something Which? ought to be campaigning about is how whenever this sort of thing happens consumers (and employees) are left out of pocket whilst the administrators always get their multi-million pound fees paid in full.

Member
Frank says:
10 January 2013

Rich – you say you have been into Jessops to browse cameras and handle the product you are considering buying, but not bought anything. You have then presumably purchased on-line and if this is the case then I think that yes, you are partly to blame for Jessops’ demise. How can a company afford to pay rent on premises and employ staff if nobody buys? If people want to buy off a web site that’s fine but if they want to go and “touch and feel” the product in a shop then they should buy from a shop, otherwise there will be no shops left and none of us will have the choice!