Camera House members have the option of offering camera hardware on a rental basis via a new relationship with camera and musical instrument rental specialist Polygon Group, trading as Studio 19 Rentals.
It has a 25-year heritage in the musical instrument industry and has strong connections into schools.
National sales and marketing manager, Vince Swift (a former Canon rep) told Photo Counter that around 15 Camera House store had already implemented the program, and overall, response has been very positive.
He said that Studio 19 competed with the likes of FlexiRent and HSBC, but there were a whole range of advantages for both retailers and consumers compared to those purchase plans, such as the ability to negotiate a price with the customer, and for the renter to hand the product back with no financial penalty.
‘It’s very different to anything else out there,’ he said.
He added that Studio 19 was not restricted to dealing only with Camera House members.
A feature of the Polygon Group’s model is that customers renting photographic equipment can apply to purchase the product at any time during the rental period – which is generally 24 months.
Polygon’s B2C photographic equipment business is www.cameracorp.com.au, which offers a selection of 24 Nikon, Canon and Pentax DSLR and mirrorless interchangeable cameras, an extensive range of over 200 lenses, and other accessories.
For example a Canon 1100D twin lens kit (18-55mm + 55-250mm) is available from Cameracorp for $43/month over a 24- month period ($1032). It can be purchased outright for $681 after one month ($725 total cost), $583 after six months ($841 total). When the 24 months expires the customer can either return the kit or purchase it outright for a little more than one extra monthly payment.
Polygon Group’s (sort of) B2B unit, Studio 19, ‘operates Australia’s foremost in-store rental program for both musical instrument retailers and camera retailers throughout Australia’ as its website explains.
The retailer sells a product to the customer based on a price negotiated over the counter, and Studio 19 then purchases the product from the retailer at that price and provides the rental ‘back end’.
Studio 19 argues that this enables the retailer to make more profit via add-on sales.
The retailer is paid the full invoiced amount for the product at the commencement of the rental agreement. If the customer returns the product or has any issues with the ongoing rental payment, Studio 19 will take responsibility for handling the relationship.
Studio 19 will rent all retail stock from camera bodies through to tripods, cases and studio lighting.
Rental enables customers to upgrade to a high end camera or lens they may otherwise not be able to afford as an outright purchase.
‘Remember for every customer that has the outright cash, another 20 will have the monthly rental amount,’ noted Studio 19’s marketing spiel: ‘Let say someone comes in for a 5DIII and they are not interested in a rental as they like to own their camera, they only have a 50mm but they are saving up for some lenses. They could rent a 17-40 f4L and a 70-200 f4L for $27 a week. That’s a $1700 sale. How easy would that add-on sale be..?’
Retailers can place up to 10 products on the single rental application. opening up the prospect of add-on sales and bundles.
The minimum rental period for new cameras is six months. Maintenance of the camera is also included in the rental plan, which has the effect of extending the warranty period to the length of the rental. Studio 19 is also introducing a low-cost optional protection plan to cover the customer for fire, theft and accidental damage throughout the rental term.
If a customer wishes to return a product, in most cases they will return it to the store, from where it will be returned to Studio 19 at their expense.
Retailers can also use the Studio 19 rental program as an alternative to lay-by, with the added appeal that the customer can take possession straight away and the retailer is paid in full straight away.
Studio 19 will be rolling out training for the Camera House group via a web based training program available from this month. POS is available and Studio 19 encourages retailers to incorporate the rental option into product ticketing.