The Jessops comeback: a sign of things to come on the high street?

The trend toward value-add in store services

online appointment schedulingHere at BookingBug we work with retailers of all shapes and sizes, each on the same journey – to adapt to the fast-changing needs and expectations of the multi-channel consumer. That’s why amongst the media doom and gloom it’s always great to hear when a brand is innovating and doing exciting things – especially when its one of our customers…

In January this year Jessops became another once-loved high street brand to call in the administrators. Yet while the prospects for the likes of HMV, Blockbuster and Comet remain bleak at best, just 10 months after the camera retailer ceased trading, and eight months after it reopened under new management, this week Jessops announced it has generated more than £70 million in sales and is set to make first year profits.

Not a bad turnaround for an electronic goods retailer that just a year ago was on the brink of being wiped out by the Amazon effect.

So as consumers continue to ditch the high street in favour of seeking bargains online, how has new Jessops started bucking that trend to re-establish it’s place on the high street – and what can other retailers learn from its journey so far?

1)   A focus on value-add services

Jessops doesn’t just sell cameras anymore – it sells expertise and training. The knowledge, advice and courses available in store are Jessops’ biggest strategic advantages and something that simply cannot be delivered online.

2)   Passionate employees who really know their stuff

The staff in Jessops’ 28 stores aren’t just retail assistants, they’re passionate photographers who live and breath their art. They’re knowledgeable subject matter experts that really care about the products they’re selling and services they’re delivering.

3)   Using online presence to build offline engagement

The team recognised that in order re-establish the value of the Jessops experience, they needed to use their online assets to drive in-store footfall. One way they have been doing this is by using their website to promote and take bookings for their Jessops Academy photography school.

4)   Refreshing store layouts

Moving away from the look and feel of a traditional electronics retail store, Jessops has adopted the “Apple experience” approach, with play tables and kiosks, and each store having space dedicated to holding Jessops Academy classes.

Essentially Jessops is no longer a photographic equipment retailer, it is strategically repositioning itself as the go-to resource for all things photography related, whether that be advice, training, cameras or accessories. No one else on the high street – or online – can sell cameras the way Jessops can, which isn’t a bad position to be in at all.

Looking ahead, based on the conversations we’re having with other retailers, it sounds like we’re going to see lots more high street brands moving towards a more defined, service oriented approach to their in-store operations, which can only be a good thing for retailers and consumers alike.


At a glance: BookingBug & Jessops

Following Jessops’ take over by Peter Jones in January 2013, the team approached BookingBug to design and implement an online booking system for the Jessops Academy for course spaces sold in store alongside camera purchases:

Key objectives

  • Implement an integrated online booking platform for Jessops Academy photography courses
  • Fast project implementation and turnaround
  • Support Jessops strategy to re-establish the brand’s position as the go-to high street photography experts
  • Full, seamless integration with Jessops’ internal sales and reporting platforms


  • Project taken from initiation to a successful live and integrated roll out across 12 Academy locations in just four weeks
  • Jessops was able to increase the promotion and uptake of their courses & can now seamlessly handle the administrative demand

Screen Shot 2013-11-20 at 17.58.05