A history of London Camera Exchange
London Camera Exchange has a long history dating back to the 1950s when the founders acquired a site in Guildford’s Tunsgate from which they operated a photography studio.
The owners soon noticed that their customers had a keen interest in the equipment used and they even went so far as to sell some of the older kit. Over time customers started to offer other cameras in part exchange for newer and more expensive models and the business as it exists today was born.
Even today the business is located at the same site as the original Tunsgate Studios, but the business has grown considerably to 27 shops throughout the UK, as well as a strong online presence. Since 2021 the business has been owned by the employees by way of an Employee Ownership Trust.
London Camera Exchange offers one of the most comprehensive product portfolios for photographers, with each store choosing what products to sell based on localised demand. This means that stores can address the specific wants of the community it serves.
London Camera Exchange is however more than a traditional retailer. It has over time evolved to become a bricks-and-clicks retailer offering a comprehensive product portfolio with a strong online presence and a dedicated consumer base.
Lee Harasyn, Managing Director, London Camera Exchange, stated: “We pride ourselves on the speed at which we respond to changes in the retail market, therefore we have always devolved product selection to the stores. But it is more than that. In the last couple of years, we’ve seen huge changes in the way our consumers want to buy our products, and consequently, our business came to a crossroads when it came to what finance options we could offer our customers.”
eCommerce has enjoyed extraordinary growth in recent years as consumers moved online. However, it is not just the ease with which they can buy that has driven this retail revolution. It is how they can pay for their dreams that is now front and centre. This is particularly imperative amongst younger age groups.
To address these trends, merchants have had no other option than to review their businesses to enhance the online customer journey and the sales cycle to help boost their own sales performance.
The London Camera Exchange was no different and was already providing consumer finance options from its website.
Harasyn continued: “We were already based on the Deko platform, offering a range of consumer credit products from a long-standing lender. However, that provider was acquired. We were left with a choice: either migrate over to the new offering, which to our minds was less competitive and less user-friendly, or stay with Deko. The decision to stay was an obvious one, as Deko could connect us to a new lender without the need for an additional integration.”
“There is no doubt that with the merchant:consumer relationship transformed by recent trends, payment has now become a key performance driver. The consumer’s browsing experience must be frictionless if payment is to be successfully completed: the payment page must be clear, well-designed and built on reliable and agile technological solutions. Not only that, we also needed to be able to continue to offer the most flexible payment options possible for our customers.”
“Furthermore, we had to choose a solution that would ensure a frictionless customer experience, and one that not only reduced cart abandonment, but also gave us the confidence that we would see an increase in sales and an immediate impact on our bottom line.”
London Camera Exchange already had a good working relationship with Deko, a multi-product, multi-lender retail finance platform.
Harasyn continued: “What struck us from the outset was just how approachable the team at Deko was. We genuinely feel valued, and not just another cog in the machine. Given that we were already using the platform the migration to a new consumer finance solution was incredibly straightforward and easy and Deko was there at every step and that mattered to us not just from a technical perspective, but from a compliance one too,”.
“Our product portfolio comprises of a number of high-value products and our customers are looking for an easy, simple way to pay over 12 to 48 months. We need a solution that allows us to quickly and seamlessly offer our loyal customers an easy way to pay. The goal – reduce cart abandonment rates and positively impact our bottom line. Deko has delivered both.”
London Camera Exchange has been working with Deko in this new capacity for over a year enabling the business to undertake a detailed analysis of the impact it has had on its eCommerce operation.
“As a merchant, we needed to consider our customer's needs before deciding on the best payment options. We knew one thing for certain - shoppers want variety and are shying away from the more traditional lines of credit. What we did not expect was the almost immediate impact the implementation had on our bottom line,” continued Harasyn.
“Compliance was also a central part of this process as it is a key aspect of maintaining stakeholder and investor trust. When people see that your organisation not only has the framework in place but also has employees compliant with their rules, they are more likely to do business with you. Deko was on hand to guide us through the compliance maze and ensure that London Camera Exchange operates in an ethical and correct manner.”
Over the past year, the merchant saw an immediate impact on the bottom line, with a 7.5% uplift in credit acceptance rates when compared to the previous lender. The result of this was a 6% uplift in total revenue generated through finance.
“Deko has provided us with a comprehensive consumer finance platform that has put the consumer in the driving seat. They now have more buying power, thanks to the ability to spread the cost of purchases over a period of time that suits them. Not only does it help buyers make purchases, but different finance options also show we are supporting customers by offering them more flexible ways to pay and that in turn drives customer loyalty,” concluded Harasyn.
The last word
“Deko has delivered for us a reliable finance framework enabling us to offer our customers the most comprehensive payment options which in turn has helped drive sales and bottom line. Whether it is in-store or online, our Deko consumer finance solution delivered an uplift in average basket size, sales and revenue off the back of an acceptance rate increase. This is driving repeat purchases and in a time of tightened personal cashflow helping consumers buy the product of their dreams.”