Jessops plans Apple-inspired relaunch tomorrow

The Verge reports on the re-launch of Jessops, the UK high street camera retailer which recently went into administration and is now backed by Dragon’s Den / Shark Tank investor Peter Jones:

As part of its relaunch, Jessops is set to offer a number of former employees their jobs back, hiring around 500 staff to run its stores. The company also hopes to mimic Apple’s retail success by introducing new “play tables,” where customers can test and compare cameras, and has announced plans to create a Jessops Academy, which will offer one-to-one tuition and the option to reserve and collect online items.

This is an interesting strategy that very much mimics the best features of Apple retail that have proven hugely successful, and if there’s one consumer product that could benefit drastically from Apple’s approach, it’s the camera.

Unless you visit your local independent camera store (which are rare nowadays due to companies such as Jessops and Currys putting them out of business in the first place) then testing a camera involves getting into all sorts of odd positions since the camera is firmly attached with various cables and plastic fixtures to the table. You can’t hold it naturally in most places and you spend more time worrying about whether the alarm is going to go off than if the camera feels good and takes good photos. There’s no memory card fitted and you’re stuck with the lens attached to the body (which can be frustrating if it comes as a twin-lens kit) so even if you take a few pictures, you’re usually still left with the last one in the buffer to view anyway.

I’d be interested to know if they’re also planning to allow lens testing without having to bring in a camera body.