YM Camera

Ohio, United States

Robby Yankush has been working in the family business for pretty much his entire life. Starting with summer employment stints while still in school, it has now been three years since Robby officially became the full-time sales manager — who also handles the marketing and runs the website and online store — of the business opened by his grandfather in 1951.

Being a specialized camera shop, the challenge standing before YM Camera is clear; with the popularity of smartphones and the democratization of camera technology, most common picture takers no longer have use for a camera beyond the one in their phones. Interestingly, Robby has actually found that this technology has helped his business.

“2016 was our best year ever in company history and in 2017 we've been up every single month. The smartphone has been the best thing for my industry — just because I'm not selling $99 point-and-shoots anymore, I'm selling $1000-$2000 cameras.”

Their highly specialized product offering, however, is not the only factor behind their growing success; Robby understands that any of their cameras could be purchased in a few clicks on Amazon. So why else do customers travel for two hours to reach the store?

A great customer experience
YM Camera is so much more than a camera shop. They add value to their product with a myriad of professional services that would take other businesses much longer to complete. From firmware upgrades to calibration, they do it all.

“We're a full photo specialty retailer. We do scanning, restoration, printing, we just had three people drive up today from two hours away to get all their wedding photography gear calibrated and cleaned. That's usually something you'd have to send back to the manufacturer and it would take three weeks — I do it in an hour.”

Meeting customers online
Looking for ways to make closer connections with his customers, Robby spends time getting to know his customers on Facebook photography groups. “Whoever comes in from the groups get a special deal, and the level of trust is awesome.”

Robby also takes full advantage of any customer info he gets in-store — he takes customer emails and adds them to their database, later engaging with these same people on Facebook or Instagram. “I’ll even do something special, like if you buy a camera or lens for over $1,000, I give you a coupon for a free rental in the future.”

How Lightspeed saves Robby time
“We were using another system before, and it felt like using a stone and chisel to write up a sale, compared to Lightspeed. Since I've been a full-time sales manager here for the past three and a half years, the single best decision we've made is going with Lightspeed.”

Lightspeed eCom has been a major catalyst for his recent business success. “With my eCom store, I can now take a used lens in at 2 p.m. and it can be shoppable on my website by 2:15.”

Everything has become smoother with the help of the POS. Robby is able to track his rentals via the work order tab in Lightspeed and ring people through on the iPad, making the entire customer experience a smooth one. Not only that, but the online-offline inventory management brings simplicity to a whole new level. “If I sell a lens on my site, it all syncs up — it automatically deducts the item from my current inventory, so everything is always up to date.”

The increased efficiencies don’t stop at the shop doors. “Right now, if I’m not at the shop, we can still check up on our inventory levels. We're going to a trade show at the end of September and I’ll have a lot of ordering to do at this trade show — I know I'm gonna have my cell phone on me and I'm going to be looking at inventory levels throughout the day.”

At the end of the day, regardless of where the industry takes YM Camera, it’s clear that theirs is a brand name that means something to their shoppers. “People know they can trust us since we've been around forever.”