Communicating the appeal of the GXR
The GXR has been on sale in stores for about two months. To get an idea of how it has been received by the market, we visited several high-volume camera retail stores. There the GXR was displayed not only in the compact camera section but also in the SLR camera section and the new digital camera corner. A landmark year in camera history for new digital cameras, 2009 saw the appearance of several new mirror-less digital SL cameras (Micro Four Thirds* standard). As one of the new products of 2009, the GXR attracted strong attention as a totally new camera system in which lens, image sensor, and image processing engine are integrated into a single unit that is interchangeable.
- *Micro Four Thirds
A new standard for interchangeable lens digital cameras those are thinner and smaller, and therefore more portable, than SLR digital cameras. By eliminating the mirror box found in SLR cameras, this standard features a reduced flange back distance (from lens mount plane to image sensor surface).
"The important thing is to communicate the merits of this new system to many people. Our sales staff have been racking their brains to figure out how to go about doing this," said Mitsuaki Wakumoto, a member of the Sales Strategy Group in the Personal MultiMedia Products Company ICS Sales Office. "In addition to strongly communicating the GXR's appeal in the catalog and on the website, we felt that the most effective method would be to have people actually hold a GXR in their hands, so we put the GXR on display in stores nationwide on November 27, well ahead of the sales kickoff date of December 18, 2009," added Wakumoto. This was the first time that Ricoh has had a product on display in stores before the actual start of sales.
The aggressive effort made to showcase the GXR in magazines and on websites has also been unprecedented. Before the start of sales, we had professional photographers try out prototype GXRs and post their impressions and images in blogs. By enabling interested camera users to get their hands on a GXR in stores, we made it possible for them to verify for themselves its actual size and texture as well as the operational feel of unit attachment/removal. "We received many comments, such as 'I did not realize it was this small' and 'I like the click-in feel when mounting,'" Wakumoto recalled. Photographs were also printed in large size and displayed in store camera corners to demonstrate the GXR's superior imaging power.
Sales opportunities created with a reservation campaign
"I also wanted to try a totally new tactic for the sales campaign. We knew there would be people who would want to buy a GXR after trying it in the store before the start of sales. So we prepared a special GXR logo strap that was not sold but rather given as a present to motivate people to immediately reserve a GXR," said Wakumoto. For the campaign item, there was a desire to create something people would want to use as a tool and something that they would enjoy more and more the longer they used it. "There were even reservations made at the same time that the GXR was announced. It really made me happy to see the strong feeling of trust that people have for Ricoh digital cameras," Wakumoto said, recalling his surprise.