var _gaq = _gaq || []; _gaq.push(['_setAccount', 'UA-13294490-3']); _gaq.push(['_trackPageview']); (function() { var ga = document.createElement('script'); ga.type = 'text/javascript'; ga.async = true; ga.src = ('https:' == document.location.protocol ? 'https://ssl' : 'http://www') + ''; var s = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(ga, s); })();

Photo Hall killed by capitalism? Are you kidding me?

A few minutes ago I saw this sign at the entrance of a Photo Hall in Brussels:

Photo Hall capitalism socialism

(The sign says: “Dear client, after 79 years, we announce the death of our company, Photo Hall SA, following a long fight with capitalism. The 300 employees of Photo Hall thank you for your trust during all these years.)

Hang on a second: fight against capitalism?!

Photo Hall, which is like Best Buy in the US or a competitor to Media Markt and Pixmania, has operated a number of brick-and-mortar stores and a rather simple online store.

Photo Hall stores were never overly exciting, neither did they have a special atmosphere to them. They were good-old-fashioned electronics stores where you could buy a headset if your dog ate the old one, or pop in for a USB key if you needed it quick. But to buy an expensive computer there? Never.

I do feel very sorry for all the employees who have to be laid off, but the authors of this poster clearly have no clue about capitalism if they seriously put this up on the window of all their stores.

It would sort-of be acceptable if they complained about i) fierce competition ii) corruption iii) high real estate prices iv) the ongoing crisis v) change in customer behavior vi) or any other legitimate reason. But capitalism?!

Good luck setting up your business in North Korea. Certainly there is no capitalism there.

Why Photo Hall really lost

They lost is because of bad management who did not discover that consumers buy the gadgets they need in large retail stores like Media Markt instead of small shops. The same trend can be seen in moms-and-pop’s stores vs. Tesco and Cora type of supermarkets.

They lost because the products they carried were boring, relatively low value so they could not generate a lot of profit to maintain the operations.

They lost because their shops, unlike Apple Stores or even Media Markt, had zero emotional appeal to those who entered. The design, the clerks, the arrangement, the items…none attracted the customers who have money to burn, and they did not trigger those who did come in to spend more.

They lost because their web presence was considered secondary to their physical stores, and has beaten them in efficient online retail.

Finally, they lost because Photo Hall’s very own name refers to an era when photos had to be printed, cameras were using film, and shops could make a living from cropping and editing holiday pictures.

Dear managers of Photo Hall: look in the mirror first before blaming a system that made it possible for you to live 79 years, and that will make it possible for you to start a new, hopefully more agile and innovative business. I wish you lots of luck for it!


Posted in E-business, Marketing

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Copyright © Andras Baneth. All Rights Reserved.