When Canon announced it's MAP pricing, I thought that would be good for independent camera stores that are being undercut by the big online retailers. MAP pricing would give the stores the chance to sell the cameras at the same price as the big online retailers, and the customer could walk out of the store with their purchase. The store stays in business.
I guess I was being idealistic and naive to think that Canon was instituting MAP pricing to help the small independent camera compete with the big online retailers.
These Canon stores will not only create high profile competition to the small independents, they will have the advantage of being the manufacturer and distributer of the product, giving them a cost advantage. That cost advantage will not translate into better prices for consumers. It doesn't at Apple stores! Instead it will be redirected towards glitzier stores in high traffic shopping centers that small stores can't afford. The massive Canon advertising program , which now works to support the sale of Canon products at independent retailers, will provide Canon with the foundation to promote their own stores and draw sales away from the small retailers. Those small retailers cannot afford to mount advertising campaigns on the scale that Canon can.
At this time, one of the major photo retailers in my area has been running ads on TV in conjunction with Canon. Instead of having that support from Canon, Canon will be working against them and they'll be on their own.
I'm sure that the Canon stores will be as sharp and glitzy as the Apple stores and the salespeople will be well trained on Canon products. The stores will probably be better stocked with Canon products than the small independents as well.
But I doubt that Canon stores will be carrying aftermarket and third party merchandize like Sigma, Tamron lenses, or Nissin flashes, or aftermarket batteries. The small accessories like lens hoods and caps, shutter release and flash cables...they'll all be premium priced Canon products, not less expensive aftermarket brands that work just as well.
And when the customer is trying to decide on a camera, the saleperson is not going to show you a Canon and a Nikon or some other brand. He's going to show you a Canon and a Canon. Not two comparable cameras at similar price points, but two different quality level Canons at different price points.
My greatest concern is the harm this will do to my local independent camera shop..the place I go to when I need a roll of seamless, or some sort of wierd cable or bracket or lighting accessory, the place where I can try stuff other than Canon brand.
So if they open one of those stores in my area, I'll go there, enjoy the glitz, try out the cameras, pick the brains of the salespeople, but when I decide what I'm going to buy, I'm going to keep my purse closed and head over to my local camera store and spend my money there. My local shop is a small shop, off the beaten path and is crammed with all kinds of gadgets and accessories. The owner told me that if Canon opens a store nearby, it would probably kill his business. I would hate to see that happen.
I hope Canon does not do this.