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Digital Camera Shops Miss the Big Picture

Posted By Robert Gorell On September 5, 2007 @ 10:32 am In Articles,Customer Focus,Customer Reviews,Relevance,e-commerce | 18 Comments

digital_camera_2.jpgWhat’s the #1 complaint about point-and-shoot digital cameras?

That was Bryan Eisenberg’s morning riddle today. It’s a great question, and one I was sure to answer incorrectly — Bryan isn’t known to ask rhetorical questions without punchlines.

Now, before you read my response, close your eyes for a moment and think of three possible answers.

Seriously, stop cheating and humor me… ;)

Eyes back open? Good. It’s easier to read that way.

I guessed:

  1. Shoddy image stabilization — With all the hype over new image-steadying technology, I figured the camera marketers were on to something. Besides, how many commercials of parents taking pictures of kids on tire swings can I handle?
  2. Grainy low-light images — This one was a (fine, I’ll say it) shot in the dark, but it’s one of my biggest complaints about non-SLR [define [1]] digital cameras.
  3. Poor red eye reduction — The human cornea reflects light differently than other mammals. Lucky us. But why, in 2007, must we endure blinding rapid-flash settings only to look like evil deer in headlights?

Just as I’d suspected, each of my guesses was wrong. It turns out that the biggest complaint among automatic digital camera owners is “shutter delay time” — not “shutter speed,” mind you; rather, the response time between clicking the button and the damn thing actually taking a picture.

Yes! Exactly! That’s my least favorite thing about point-and-shoot digitals, too! So, why didn’t I know that?

Am I backpedaling from my previous answers? Absolutely. Would your customers likely do the same thing? Absolutely. Why isn’t “shutter delay time” addressed by most retailers? Let’s stick with threes:

  1. Customers don’t have the vocabulary to describe their needs in the terms of manufacturer’s jargon.
  2. Manufacturers don’t want to admit how bad the shutter delay is on their cameras.
  3. Retailers aren’t doing their homework on how to help customers buy on their own terms, and in their own language.

After years of hearing “megapixel”-this and “stabilizer”-that, shopping for digital cameras becomes intimidating for people who just want to take good pictures of the people, places and things they love. Some do a good job overall, but miss the big picture [2] when it comes to shutter delay. Others have pretty decent emotional copy, but it ends up sounding generic [3]. And with each boring, overly-technical [4] description, digital camera retailers are flushing money down the drain. Some don’t say anything [5]; they just list technical specs.

Here’s what camera retailers should know if they’re to fix it:

  1. Surveys are flawed. Had Bryan explicitly asked if “shutter delay time” were the biggest problem with automatic digital cameras, I’d have said yes. Since I was left to my own, limited vocabulary on the subject, I gave three plausible-yet-unsatisfying answers. Such are surveys. Ask people what they really want and you’ll hear plenty about what they think they really want — which can be horribly misleading, if not altogether useless.
  2. Focus on motivations. What questions would your customers ask if they had the vocabulary? What are their underlying needs? How will they be using the camera? To address motivations, learn how to create real customer personas [6] that transcend demographics and stereotypes.
  3. Search engines value relevant content. Original, engaging copy is worth whatever you paid for it, and then some. Don’t rely on the manufacturer to sell its products for you. Their perspective is biased, and they don’t know your audience like you do. Grokking customer motivations gives insights into missing persuasion barriers like “shutter delay time”; things the competition isn’t addressing. It’s also how you know you’re buying the right keywords.

For example…

I have no problem geeking out for a week, digging through review sites like CNet [7] until I stumble across a review like this one where, halfway down the page [8], a graphic (not the video) introduces the concept of shutter delay. But I’m the exception. I’m the gadget-obsessed 18-35 year-old male who knows megapixels alone aren’t the measure of a camera’s worth — and I still guessed wrong about my own biggest concern about digital cameras. So much for demographics!
Meanwhile, other people may not do the research.

What if my step-mom were in the market? She’s owned her current digital camera for three years. It’s in great shape, but she’d buy a new one today if she knew it would take the shot fast enough to capture those rare moments when my 6 year-old nephew looks directly into the lens — that’s what matters to her, not techno-babble like this description of the Canon PowerShot SD800 on Amazon [9]:

[The DIGIC III Image Processor] takes the performance and speed of DIGIC II to even higher levels of processing power including new face detection function, up to 1600 speed ISO, high-ISO noise reduction, lower power consumption, increased speed for SD media cards, and higher resolution image processing for enhanced LCD viewing.

Um… Parle vous Ingles? Any chance she’d know off-hand that ISO refers to light-sensitivity, or that “noise reduction” means it will reduce graininess of poorly lit images, or that “enhanced LCD viewing” means quickly viewing the pictures on the camera’s screen? What was “DIGIC II”? Why would she care?

Luckily for Amazon, customers have always done the selling for them. So, unless you’re Jeff Bezos, it’s good to invest in persuasive copy [10] of your own.

Article printed from Conversion Rate Optimization & Marketing Blog | FutureNow: http://www.grokdotcom.com

URL to article: http://www.grokdotcom.com/2007/09/05/digital-camera-shops-miss-the-big-picture/

URLs in this post:

[1] define: http://www.answers.com/topic/dslr?cat=technology

[2] miss the big picture: http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp;jsessionid=YKLPZP31X4KWBKC4D3GVAHI?skuId=8266164&type=product&id=1170290185654

[3] generic: http://www.shopping.com/xPO-Canon-IXUS-850

[4] overly-technical: http://www.keh.com/OnLineStore/ProductDetail.aspx?groupsku=DC05999089670M&brandcategoryname=Digital&Mode=Digital&item=10&ActivateTOC2=&ID=2&BC=DC&BCC=3&CC=5&CCC=1&BCL=&GBC=&GCC=

[5] Some don’t say anything: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/518209-REG/Canon_2082B001_POWERSHOT_G9_DIGITAL_CAMERA.html

[6] how to create real customer personas: http://www.grokdotcom.com/2007/06/29/2-ways-to-get-started-with-personas-part-1/

[7] review sites like CNet: http://reviews.cnet.com/Digital_cameras/4520-7603_7-5023995-2.html?tag=tnav

[8] halfway down the page: http://reviews.cnet.com/digital-cameras/canon-powershot-sd800-is/4505-6501_7-32069607.html?tag=pop

[9] description of the Canon PowerShot SD800 on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Canon-PowerShot-Digital-Image-Stabilized-Optical/dp/B000HAOVGM/ref=sr_1_2/105-3038267-1538840?ie=UTF8&s=photo&qid=1188923656&sr=1-2

[10] invest in persuasive copy: http://www.grokdotcom.com/2007/06/14/persuasive-online-copywriting-seminar-2/

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