Market Sense: Accessory Sales, It’s a Matter of Show and SellAugust 12, 2010 By Jon Sienkiewicz
Seems contradictory at first, but during economic slowdowns, accessory sales can spike. Folks who are unwilling to spend $2,000 on a new DSLR system happily spend $200 on accessories to refresh their aging system. And they’ll do it over and over. Show them a reason and they’ll find a way.
I first noticed this phenomenon three decades ago when America’s economy stumbled under the Carter administration. Sales of high-ticket items got slammed, but lenses, gadget bags and other less expensive items fared better.
Minolta distributed the Cokin Creative Filter system in those days (and for nearly 25 years thereafter, until the Konica fiasco), and Cokin sales stayed steady even as the economy faltered. At that time I kept remembering this phrase, and I’m sorry that I cannot remember who said it first: The last thing a person gives up is their hobby.
Serious enthusiasts and hobbyists are always willing to buy accessories that expand their creative horizons. But they can’t if they don’t know what’s available. The key to selling accessories is exposure. Find ways to let your customers know what’s new, what it does and most important of all, why they need it. It’s a matter of Show and Sell.
“Train your staff to assess the customer’s needs, and then approach the transaction from this point of view: what can I do that will enhance this customer’s experience and, at the same time, help the store that I work for.”
We asked Tom Gramegna, president and owner of Bergen County Camera, located in Westwood and Englewood, New Jersey, how his organization encourages accessory sales.
“Bergen County Camera is fortunate because we benefit from the strength of others,” he said. “We’re part of the PRO buying group and we share best practices.
“Kits are one way to sell accessories, but frankly, we’re ambivalent about kits,” Gramegna continued. “We’ve tried kits for products other than cameras, things like flash units and tripods. Our conclusion is that a well-oiled sales machine doesn’t need a kit. The key is training; training, and making the sales staff aware of where their paycheck comes from. It’s not just from selling popular hardware.”