Nikon Australia has quietly introduced a two-year manufacturer’s warranty for Nikon DSLRs, Coolpix and Nikon 1 system cameras from March 1, and has lowered effective pricing on selected products to retailers who agree not to sell grey market Nikon gear.
The initiative appears at least partly in response to JB HiFi’s decision to sell both locally-sourced and grey market products at different price points on its website.
However, James Murray, Nikon Australia’s general manager, sales and marketing, said the ‘I Am Peace of Mind’ program – Nikon’s consumer branding for the initiative – had been in development well before JB began ‘box shipping from Hong Kong’.
‘I’m told that many people – JB is just the most visible – are doing a similar thing or on the verge of it,’ he said. ‘Eighteen months ago we became focussed on making sure our retail partners can offer globally fair prices, and helping them add more value to the consumer experience.’
Mr Murray said he didn’t see what Nikon Australia was doing ‘as a competitive play.’
‘The objective is to help the industry, help them get value to the customer,’ he said.
He said Nikon was making sure its retail partners can offer globally fair prices, and wanted to help them add more value to the consumer experience ‘ ‘that’s a big a part of this as price.’
If a bricks and mortar retailer and an online competitor had the same product at the same price, he said, ‘some consumers will still buy online’ and Nikon wanted to help retailers combine the ‘Peace of Mind’ campaign with more excitement and ‘retail theatre’ to appeal to consumers.
With Nikon products now off the ‘online direct’ section of the JB site, Canon is the only camera brand now offered from grey market sources.
If JB has in fact pushed through lower pricing for all Australian retailers through its bold move to go grey its competitors, while looking askance at JB’s tactics, are unlikely to protest the outcome – given that the benefit is shared.
Though Mr Murray stated, ‘we haven’t reduced wholesale price, our wholesale price remains the same’ a large Australian retailer we spoke to confirmed that lower pricing on some Nikon models was part of the new deal:
‘Nikon presented [us] with a NASA (Nikon Australia Support Agreement) and a signing “bonus” was a reduction in pricing on selected DSLR models, and the 2-year warranty.’
Contributors to the the usually savvy Photography forum on independent IT consumer website Whirlpool noted that Digital Camera Warehouse and Ryda had also lowered prices for some Nikon products.
The current Ted’s Camera catalogue highlights the ‘I am Peace of Mind’ program.
In a story in Smart Company, the lower prices and two-year warranty are presented as exclusive to JB HiFi, and characterised by JB’s marketing manager, Scott Browning, as part of a deal to get the retailer to withdraw Nikon products not sourced from Nikon Australia from its range.
Mr Browning claimed that, ‘the Nikon cameras that we are now listing online are the same price, if not cheaper than a prior direct import Nikon model’.
The two-year warranty, if not the same level of price relief, is available to all ‘Nikon Authorised Dealers’ who agree not to market grey Nikon products.
Following enquiries from Photo Counter, Nikon today issued the following press statement:
In response to an increase in direct importing or ‘grey market’ trading, Nikon Australia this week launched I AM Peace of Mind. The new campaign aims to support local resellers by helping them to provide their customers with the best possible customer experience and support system, both before and after purchase.
To add additional value to the Australian customer experience I AM Peace of Mind will
• An extra one-year warranty on top of the standard one year (upon registering on My Nikon Life)
• A face-to-face customer service experience and product advice from reseller experts.
• Progressive security measures through factory sealed boxes (commencing with DSLR
twin lens kits, with Nikon Australia continuing to explore possibilities with other
• Repairs under warranty (completed by trained technicians using genuine Nikon parts)
Nikon dealers who don’t sign up for the Nikon Australia Support Agreement won’t be offered the extended warranty term for their customers, rebates off the wholesale price of some models, or factory sealed boxes.