Beyond betting on black, people go to Las Vegas for all sorts of reasons — to have poolside cocktails, audition for a talent competition or explore the Seven Magic Mountains. But for Joe Dumic and Prince Beverly, it was to find success in the camera retail industry.
Since 1971, B&C Camera has provided a wide selection of photography equipment and camera gear. Both Dumic and Beverly are passionate photographers and were optimistic about the future of the store. Now, B&C is the go-to camera place in the greater Las Vegas metropolitan, which is largely due to their customer-centric efforts.
On an extended trip to the United States, Dumic dropped his lens in Hawaii. He found a replacement in Las Vegas where he met the owner of B&C Camera who convinced him to buy the whole business. Excited about this new business venture, Dumic made the permanent move from Germany.
At the time, Beverly was working for Abercrombie & Fitch in a Senior Marketing Position. His brother was recruited by Dumic to work for B&C when they became friends at the hostel they were staying. When Beverly came to visit, Dumic noticed his passion for marketing. In 2011, he persuaded Beverly to leave Chicago and use his marketing expertise on B&C Camera instead.
As the General Manager, Beverly decided to grow the rental side of the business because of the good profit margin. We spoke with Beverly about how Checkfront was the software solution to make this growth possible.
“Our goal every year is to grow. Obviously, we saw huge growth the first year that we switched to Checkfront. That year was very big for us because we went from barely doing anything with rentals to running reports to seeing what rents, what’s the most popular item.”
General Manager, B&C Camera
Customers want to reserve camera rentals online
From amateur photographers to convention attendees, B&C Camera has a broad demographic. For anyone flying in for a Vegas trip, traveling with bulky camera gear isn’t ideal. And for locals looking to upgrade their equipment, it’s best to try before buying. So camera rentals are the answer.
Renting is popular with customers, but with that comes their desire to reserve camera rentals online. B&C was hesitant to offer an online rental option because they feared customers wouldn’t follow through. If there were a way they could send automatic reminders, they wouldn’t have to worry as much about customer accountability.
When Beverly began the search for software to support this, he couldn’t find anything compatible with MacOS. So they settled on a customized system created by their IT technician.
Similar to a spreadsheet, the system was old-school and clunky — not a long-term solution. As more rentals poured in, they couldn’t keep up with manual check-ins and outs.
What they needed was an automated booking system. Beverly didn’t give up his search. There had to be something out there that would work for and with them.
The right online booking system
When Beverly found Checkfront, he believed our online booking system was geared toward activity rentals and worried it wouldn’t be a fit for cameras. However, after talking with Checkfront, he was convinced that together, we could make it work.
Beverly says, “I was really excited to find you guys, and I sat for months at a time to find how we could make it work for B&C and renting camera gear. The good thing about you guys is that you really listen. I think that’s the number 1 reason why we are such spokespeople for you.”
With new features and product updates — like the custom language feature that allowed B&C to change the wording from Sold Out to Unavailable (which makes more sense for a camera business) — Checkfront became the suitable software B&C loves and recommends to other camera rental companies.
Automation with Checkfront
For Beverly, the main reason for switching to an online booking system was for automation. He says, “the platform is great, we always needed something to automate the whole system. That’s the only way that we can work in the future, and we want to do more and more automation.”
With automation, renting is made easy for both B&C and their customers. When someone makes a reservation online, they select the gear and date of pick-up/drop-off. Once complete, the Checkfront dashboard is updated.
In the morning, B&C checks for any reservations, prepare the rental gear and updates the Invoice status to Ready for Pick-up. This action triggers an automatic email sent to the customer to notify them — B&C also uses the Twilio integration for text message reminders.
When the customer arrives, the gear is ready to go. One of the staff members pulls up the customer’s name in the system and changes the Invoice status to Active. The same process happens once the gear is returned, except the status is set to Returned.
Automatic emails are sent throughout the rental process — from reservation received to rental returned. Doing this keeps customers informed every step of the way.
Technology, customer service and outstanding growth
In 2016, B&C Camera won Digital Imaging Reporter’s Dealer of the year and the Best Camera Store in Las Vegas award. According to Beverly, they’re not a big rental house, but they’ve been growing every year and “that success from rentals is because of (Checkfront) because we have the software that we can use.”
It’s evident that an efficient operation results in exceptional customer service. Constant communication allows B&C Camera to stay connected with their customers. And since it’s all done automatically, their team has more time for in-store interactions — like hosting a Saturday Social Meetup for photographers.
Beverly credits B&C’s focus on customer service and the use of technology as being the reason for achieving significant growth. A streamlined booking process, along with the sweet extras — such as friendly emails, free water bottles, and open discussions about photography — provides customers with an outstanding camera rental experience.