Over the years, I have made a lot of purchases at Jessops. Cameras, paper, camera bags and so on. Sometimes because it was good to go and see the products, sometimes for the convenience, but often purely because I wanted it now and it was in stock.
More recently however, Jessops have been in financial difficulties, going into liquidation in 2007, but the brand being rescued by HSBC so it could continue trading. Understandably, stock has noticeably reduced in the stores, from ten years ago when the shelves were crammed with cameras, to maybe 20 or so in my local store today.
So, this morning, we made a decision to buy a Canon IXUS 220 HS for my wife (plus I’d like to play with the slow motion video modes!). Going online, we found that the Jessops in Camberley had them in stock, so I used their “Collect@Store” service to reserve one. I received the email and the reservation number, and we duly jumped in the car and set off to the store.
Once in the store however, it was a different matter. It took the sales assistant a couple of minutes to find the camera – she knew of the reservation, quoting the camera model to me once I’d announced that I had reserved one.
Eventually, she discovered that the one unit in stock was the one on display. We would accept this, looking at the camera it was actually in pristine condition, so all was good. That was until her colleague pointed out to her that they would NOT sell the product because the manager (name of Paul Chapman) had dictated that it should stay on display. I explained that not only had we reserved it on the website, but had made a special journey to collect it. No change in decision. Also that I had in the past purchased a lot of goods from Jessops, but recently less, because the stock situation was so poor. No change.
“Would you like to order one?” I was asked. Frankly, if I’m going to do that, I’ll get it from Amazon, it’ll be a bit cheaper, and I won’t have to travel into Camberley to pick it up. (Also, I’m uneasy giving Jessops any cash up front, given their financial situation). So, I told them, either sell it to me now, or lose the sale. They refused.
I left the store, checked on the Comet web site, checked and reserved – bingo! £10 cheaper too. Collected and purchased, no hassle at all. Plus, by the way, oodles more cameras on display than the ‘specialist’ store called Jessops – and you can handle them all.
So, Jessops have a strange policy, the little stock they have seems to be for display. In this financial climate, surely if you let a customer leave your retail store without making a purchase, they will almost certainly get on the web and find it elsewhere. What’s the point of ordering something from a bricks and mortar store when you can have it delivered to your home for free?
I’m pretty sure I won’t deal with Jessops again. I mean what’s the point?
Jessops, you need to think about this carefully, you will surely go out of business soon if you carry on like this. Mr Chapman, think carefully about letting buying customers leave your store. You’re not only losing business, you’ll be out of a job. I’d love to hear your rationale for losing a sale and making money.