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EXCLUSIVE: Canon Australia moves on grey

December 16, 2010: In recognition of the fact that consumers have access to an increasingly global and competitive marketplace, Australian photo industry leader Canon Australia is taking the lead with retailers with price reductions on DSLRs, lenses and key compact models ‘to ensure that Australian consumers can access comparative value in local stores.’

‘Current conditions have contributed to price disparities between Australia and other markets and the relatively recent rise of online trade has brought these disparities to the fore,’ says Jason McLean, director, Canon Consumer Imaging (pictured right). ‘Canon is monitoring price movements very closely and working with the retail trade to ensure local competitiveness from a global perspective.’
He said that Canon Australia came to the realisation that the global market ‘is like another competitor to us.’

This week Canon has taken action with retail partners on mid-to-high range Digital SLR camera models from the new EOS 60D up; and select lenses and digital compact cameras as required.

‘We believe that this action will help address issues around local value in key camera categories…’

Retailers Photo Counter spoke to reported significant and wide-ranging price reductions on Canon products this week, and applauded the initiative. Canon has been using the relatively new and efficient ‘scanback’ system to speed the price change process, which alters pricing into stores ‘on the fly’ rather than using price lists and retrospectively crediting accounts.

Canon general manager, Marketing, Darren Ryan said that price reductions varied from model to model. Retailers estimated the average reductions to be around 10 percent. Ryan said that some were considerably larger than that.

He said that he hoped the industry would see the price changes as ‘re-iterating our support for local retailers’.

The initiative in Australia is part of a global change of policy on pricing for which Canon Australia has been a strong advocate, providing feedback to Tokyo on the emergence of the global market and the impact variable global prices have been having locally.

As we went to press there were rumours in the trade that Nikon planned to follow Canon, introducing a range of cashback offers which will also make the local product more attractive when compared to parallel imports. Nikon executives were unavailable for comment.

‘Competing in a global market is a new and complex issue for manufacturers and retailers in many industries. While there is no silver bullet, we are keeping a close eye on fluctuations and are ready to act to ensure that consumers can continue to access good value locally,’ said Canon’s Jason McLean.

‘We believe that this action will help address issues around local value in key camera categories. As retailers adjust their offers and consumers evaluate the total value proposition – including selling price, promotions, after sales service, and warranty support – we expect the local market to reset itself to compete comfortably in a global context.’

The local retail challenge

McLean sees a latent opportunity for retailers to make consumers aware of the important, though less prominent, aspects of value when buying from local stores.

‘Consumers are often unaware of the good value to be had in-store, with competitive ticketed prices, in-store bonus gift promotions and cash-backs, and further discounts that can be negotiated with floor staff,’ he said. ‘Also, consumers need to be aware of differences between various retailers locally and overseas around stock availability, delivery costs and after sales support. If anything goes wrong, consumers certainly appreciate a quality service operation with local warranty cover or extended warranty options.’

McLean also believes that the steps should give local retailers over the coming months the opportunity to build presence and operate on the global stage themselves.

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