Jessops goes bump

Widely covered in the press today is the another high street retailer going into administration, this time, the photography chain, Jessops.

Jessops was the sort of place you would go to buy camera stuff if you needed it quickly and couldn’t wait for it to be delivered, i.e. you were desperate for a particular widget that they happened to have in stock. The other reason you might visit Jessops is to check something out, and then go and order online for a better price.

For instance, I like photography. Before I headed on holiday at the end of last year, I thought I could do with a good wide-angle lens for my DSLR. Running out of time before the trip, I had looked at the local Jessops. Compared to Jessops’ walk-in price, the lens was over £150 cheaper online and still delivered next working day.

The professional market spurned Jessops for being too consumer oriented (with a limited in-store range and high prices) in favour of independent and online shops (or small, specialist chains like Calumet), and the bottom has fallen out of the consumer point-and-shoot market because almost everyone’s mobile phone has a half-decent point-and-shoot camera packaged in it.

Jessops did have an online store, but the prices weren’t significantly better value than those offered in the high street, and not competitive against other online retailers such as Amazon.

That’s what killed Jessops. They were expensive, failed to move with changing habits, and ended up appealing to a very fickle and limited audience.

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