I’m not sure the last round of rebates from Fujifilm had ended before this new wave of even heftier discounts began. These are fantastic deals, and great for just about everyone except for those who recently purchased and can’t get a price adjustment.
I’m left wondering if rebates like these promote the premium image the company is aspiring to, and in many respects have been achieving. The word “rebate” can be enough to squash that image alone, but that’s a problem with the industry at large.
Things need to sell of course. This time of year is sure to be one of, if not the worst for camera sales. I often wait to list camera gear for sale until May when the weather gets nicer and most people start thinking about taking pictures again. Even though the gear is technically older, it will still fetch substantially more interest and thus, a higher price with more people in the market to buy.
Getting a strong foothold in the market is also really important, and crucial that it be done quickly in this era of smartphones. I don’t have access to any sales figures, but I’d be curious to know if these discounts ultimately result in significantly more sales, and with them a better bottom-line. Or, would a consistently higher price, fewer sales, and the perception that Fujifilm truly believe their products are worth the MSRP be better overall? It would certainly help people’s confidence in buying, knowing they aren’t going to be burned by a massive price-drop a month or 2 after spending hundreds of dollars on a new lens. It would also result in fewer people waiting for the inevitable deal. Imagine you just bought a 14mm f/2.8 at Christmas for the MSRP and now it’s a full $200 less expensive. I know I’d be frustrated.
Fujifilm are well on their way in establishing themselves as the camera-maker who invests in making sure their customer’s experience actually improves months and even years after they’ve purchased a camera with regular firmware updates that offer previously unheard of levels of functionality. They’re also on the right track in trying to corner the premium compact market. The iPhone is without question eating the point-and-shoot market’s lunch, but for more people then Apple’s Phil Schiller might think, iPhones are a long way from replacing proper cameras for a lot of people. The steady development of Fujifilm’s Camera app will further reinforce this, and once they’ve made it easy enough on their entire line of cameras (something they should focus on), there’s no doubt we’ll start seeing Eggs Benedict photos on Instragram that were shot with Fujifilm cameras. Can’t wait.
If things were left to me, I would think that getting the body sold has to be the most important first step. I’d look at offering heavy discounts on older bodies (as they are with the X-E1) touting the message that they’re even better now than the day they were released. Kits or body + lens combos could see the occasional discount as they do today. FUJINON lenses, which are know to be of outstanding quality, would be set at a price and left there.
If market penetration is paramount, drop all the prices a little. Then, Fujifilm’s reputation for taking care of their customers long after purchase will continue to speak for itself, photographers will continue to love them for it and write a plethora of blog posts and tweets about how awesome a company they are. It’s conceivable that “word of mouth” that strong would drive continued sales more than fire-sale rebates would in the long run.