The 320sqm store has been designed not only as an outlet where customers can purchase Canon products, but also a community hub where photography enthusiasts can gather to learn more about their cameras and hone their skills.
“Our objective was to create the best experience possible. We had no preconceived ideas and deliberately looked to challenge established ways of thinking that become experience barriers,” Jason McLean, director of Canon Australia’s consumer imaging division.
“The result is a space that is welcoming to all, provides unrestricted access to our gear and encourages an exploration of photography, videography and print in a way that’s relevant to you as an individual.”
The store includes a large display area where customers can touch and feel Canon’s camera range, from point-and-shoot devices to professional equipment, as well as support spaces where they can receive personalised consultations and break-out areas set up with cycloramas where they can take their devices for a spin.
This is in contrast to most retail environments where Canon products are sold, where customers typically have to wait for devices to be removed from a locked cabinet and have limited ability to trial them before purchasing.
“At our Experience Store, you’re able to play, test and explore with guidance from our in-store Ambassadors, based solely on what you want to achieve,” said Chris Siacolas, the newly appointed experience store manager and Canon employee of 18 years.
Canon’s in-store ambassadors – highly experienced staff with over 50 years’ combined experience – are just one part of the service offering.
The company is also harnessing the local arm of its experience team, Canon Collective, to host a range of weekly activities, including beginners’ guides to photography, photo excursions in and beyond Victoria and edit-to-print workshops at the store.
The camera brand has been on a mission to change the way it engages with customers in recent years, from being focused on products and technology to being focused on the user experience and inspiration. The Canon Collective has played a significant role in driving this shift, while social media channels and a film series on National Geographic, Tales By Light, further showcase user generated content.
The shift comes amidst a broader trend of wholesalers increasingly going direct-to-consumer. Nike has been one of the most prominent examples of this, and Canon’s Melbourne experience store is indicative of the trend.
Co-located with SunStudios, the store has on-site printing capabilities, professional studios, a café and large gallery space. It aims to serve customers of every skill level, from the amateur family portrait-taker to a professional photographer.