In October 2010 I had the opportunity to visit the PhotoPlus Expo in New York. But of course this also was a great opportunity for me to visit one of the biggest camera and video store of the town. B&H Photo I knew from several advertisements on the Nikonians website. On a cold monday morning I did meet up with the guys from B&H. They had offered me an exclusive VIP Tour to show me their shop. When I arrived at the New York Superstore at 9th avenue I found what I expected. From outside it was the big store I have seen in several pictures and on several advertisements. As a guy from Europe knowing our local Media Markt and Saturn Superstores what shall I expect, except from the opportunity to see another store full of electronically products?
But it came surprisingly different…..
When we entered the door I realized in seconds that this looks not as a normal store. All over all I saw an assembly conveyer over my head. My first impression was that this is part of their packing for the online store. But this turned out not to be true.
We started in an area full of Photo and camera bags. This of course is normal for an store. But there only was one piece of each bag available. So I could see all bags I know about. But I could each bag only see once. “Well, they will run in trouble as soon as a few people want to purchase the same bag “, was my first thought. I guess my hosts did realize the big question mark above my head. During all this bags I got the explanation of what I now call “perfect customer service”.
The complete store is divided in several sections like bag, camera, tripods, video and so on. In each section you can find consumer and professional equipment. To use the space most efficient they do not have a storage in the floor. Where we Europeans would expect the boxes of the products for take away they simply do have more products to show. And they have quite a big range. Everywhere you can find products for low budget and the most expensive high end version. This gives you the opportunity to find your product for your need and your budget. In an area where they sell microphones I realized that this service would result in another issue. You simply have to much choices.
But this isn´t really an issue. Wherever you looked I saw a B&H representative ready to help me finding whatever I need. But there is another difference. In Europe you only find people who know a little bit of everything. So they should give you advice for dvd player as well as for Apple computers. At B&H that is not the case. In each section the employees is a specialist for his section. So they have photographers working at the Nikon booth and a Keyboard musician at the Keyboard. But that´s still not all. Compared to European stores this guys are not commission paid. They really can take care of your needs.
Once you know which product you want to purchase you just get a receipt. You don´t need to carry around all your products. Just walk over to the next section and check out another great products. If you want to purchase this as well just let the sales person know. They will add it to your existing receipt. In normal stores you get in transport trouble after the 3rd or 4th box. Here you don´t have to care about. This now explains why they have this trolley system running above me. The salesman takes your order, this order than will be packed into a box and shipped to the exit.
At the end of my tour I went to the cashier desk for checkout. All they needed was my receipt and my credit card. A few seconds later a friendly employee gave me all my products. Normally I now would have to cary all this boxes through downtown New York, showing everybody that I carry a few hundred bucks around. But also this is considered. You don´t need to carry all the boxes. Before leaving the Superstore there is nice room where you can unpack all your products and put them into your photo bag or your laptop bag. The boxes you can leave there. And in case something is not correct or parts are missing in the box there are representatives to take care of this.
At B&H they really take care of your sales from the beginning until the very end right at the exit door. Thank you B&H for showing me that there is a store in the world where getting happy customers is practiced every day. I wish I would find this in Europe too.