Adorama Continues Developing from Photography Shop to Destination for Digital Creators with Updated Loyalty Program
12.2.16 Online Marketplace

Adorama Continues Developing from Photography Shop to Destination for Digital Creators with Updated Loyalty Program

By: Sean Garrity

The Crunch: For the past 40 years, Adorama has been known as a go-to retailer for professional and amateur photographers alike. Initially stocked with the basics — tripods, film, lighting, and photography equipment — Adorama has grown along with the industry and now offers everything the modern photographer could possibly want, including computers,  high-tech printing services, and audio equipment. The company’s vast Learning Center has helped hundreds of amateur photographers become professionals with online tutorials and live workshops. Adorama has furthered its commitment to helping customers with an improved loyalty program offering perks like free shipping and extended warranties. Industry needs have changed the marketplace, and Adorama has evolved to keep up with consumer demand.

When Mendel Mendlowitz started Adorama in New York City, he had a clear vision for the business. He wanted to create a one-stop shop for people who were passionate about photography, so he crafted Adorama to serve as a silent partner for any level photographer.

Since 1975, Adorama has been one of the go-to retailers, not only for some of the best photographers in the business but for anyone who is enthusiastic about taking pictures. Mendel wanted his store to serve as a model for how a retailer should operate, and Adorama does that by keeping a finger on the pulse of consumer need and changes trajectories to provide solutions as needed.

Of course, when Adorama began forty years ago as a camera shop, the needs of a photographer were much different. The store stocked tripods, film, lighting, and other photography equipment.

But Adorama has evolved in tandem with the photography industry and now offers everything the modern digital or film photographer could possibly need, including computers, audio equipment, high-tech printing, and even musical instruments.

Screenshot of Adorama's homepage

Adorama began as a small photo shop but now has over 150K items in stock ranging from cameras to drones.

“There’s been a huge crossover among different verticals,” said Lev Peker, ‎Adorama’s Chief Marketing Officer. “Today, with the importance of digital photography and video, Adorama now has to offer much more. We are currently one of the largest computer resellers, for example. We have digital battery chargers, software, data storage products, and screens to display video, just to name a few.”

Altogether, Adorama has over 150,000 items in stock, but the store remains focused on photography and video, providing everything a practitioner could possibly need. It even offers a robust rental department that enables professionals from all over the world to access the equipment they need.

The company’s vast Learning Center has helped hundreds of amateur photographers become professionals with online tutorials and live, in-store workshops. To further demonstrate its commitment to consumers, Adorama has updated its VIP program to focus on customers’ needs and build relationships by rewarding customer loyalty.

Exceeding Consumer Demands with VIP360 Loyalty Program

Adorama launched its VIP360 Loyalty Program to better serve serious practitioners of photography and video. For just $49.99 a year, customers are granted access to a wealth of benefits.

Lev explained that Adorama started a previous VIP program three years ago, but the company noticed it wasn’t doing as much as it could to provide solutions to some of the problems customers faced. He noted that many customers who ordered products online needed them right away and others were looking for flexibility on warranties and return policies.

“The VIP360 loyalty program is a direct response to customer demand,” Lev said. “We improved customer service and introduced new benefits that respond to their needs.”

Free 2-Day Shipping Delivers Gear When It’s Needed

In an age when so many online retailers are offering free shipping deals, Adorama noticed that its customers were looking for the same. Under the VIP360 program, customers can take advantage of free 2-day shipping. As Lev pointed out, the shipping’s so efficient products often make it to customers’ doors in one day.

Adorama's VIP360 logo

Adorama VIP360 members enjoy free 2-day shipping on products, so they don’t have to wait to start snapping photos.

This perk greatly benefits professional photographers who get rush assignments and need equipment right away. The VIP360 program pays for itself, as photographers don’t have to turn down jobs to wait on equipment or pay for expedited shipping.

Additional Warranty Offers Protection For Drops and Spills

Almost all products at Adorama are guaranteed by their manufacturers, but now Adorama offers additional security. A year-long warranty covers incidental damage to equipment, including drops and spills.

It’s easy enough for someone to knock a camera or lens off a desk, breaking it on the floor. But the odds for damage skyrocket during unpredictable outdoor shoots with weather concerns and precarious predicaments. Photographers can rest assured that Adorama will replace damaged items at no charge with its warranty.

Returns and Exchanges Are Faster and Easier

When VIP360 customers are not satisfied with a product, Adorama offers free shipping for returns and gives customers a full 60 days to make up their minds. Numerous reports, including an e-commerce study by UPS and Forrester, suggest that generous return policies go a long way to build customer relationships and maintain loyalty.

“We consider customer satisfaction to be a top priority,” Lev said. “If customers are not satisfied with a product, they can return it, no questions asked.”

This VIP status also includes discounts, access to special products, free Learning Center courses, and contests.

Equipment Flexibility — New, Used, Rental, and Buy Back Options

Adorama’s flexibility with equipment sales and rentals is another example of the company listening and responding to consumer need. Adorama customers can buy and sell used equipment or rent-to-buy based on what’s best for them.

For those looking to sell to the store, Adorama offers free shipping for sellers. And if Adorama’s offer isn’t right for the seller, Adorama will send the item back at no charge. There is a broad selection of used equipment available ranging from economical options to top-of-the-line gear.

Renting, which is just for photography and video, offers considerable advantages to professionals who, say, need to travel to New York for work, but don’t want lug around their expensive equipment and put it at risk during travel.

Banner of Adorama's Rent-to-Buy program

Adorama’s Rent-to-Buy program offers photographers a cheaper road to ownership of professional-grade equipment.

“It’s easier for traveling photographers to rent when they arrive,” explained Lev. “A lot of our rental customers are from big broadcasting houses or are professional photographers who need a special piece of equipment for a particular event.”

High-end audio products may also be rented. Professional DJs rent from Adorama when they need a special board or a big panel – something that they don’t need to buy for themselves, but might be necessary for a show.

Renters at Adorama also have the option to rent-to-buy with a big discount. If renters try out the equipment for a week and choose to buy it, Adorama will give the week’s rent for free.

Adorama Learning Center Teaches the Latest Photography Skills

Adorama’s Learning Center has resources for anything one might wish to learn as a photographer or videographer. With more than 800 videos, thousands of in-depth articles, and full-scale courses, the Learning Center is frequented by those who’ve never taken a photo or video as well as by seasoned professionals.

“When I joined Adorama five years ago, I knew nothing about photography — in fact, I didn’t even particularly like it,” Lev laughed. “But I learned photography here using the articles, videos, and courses available at the Learning Center, and I’ve become quite skilled.”

The center is continually updated with content from technical, photography-related topics like “How to add a Bokeh to an image in Photoshop” to practical subjects like “How to make money as a photographer.”

Adorama’s Learning Center offers all of its courses for free, which is great for aspiring photographers or professionals looking to hone skills.

Probably the most popular feature in the Adorama Learning Center is AdoramaTV. The channel covers product releases, gear reviews, photographer interviews, and examines equipment from lighting, video, and compact cameras to Photoshop and audio gear. Because AdoramaTV connects viewers to engaging content, it has attracted an audience of over 1 million viewers per month.

The Adorama Learning Center presents professionals detailing real-life stories about their craft. The articles and video episodes address some of the problems or difficulties photographers can run into and show how these can be circumvented or solved.

Not Just for Cameras Anymore, Adorama is an All-Inclusive Resource

Since Mendel Mendlowitz first opened his photography shop in 1975, much has changed at Adorama. The store is still a go-to resource for novices and professional creators alike, but its range of products has grown to meet customer needs.

“We have taken the expertise from photography and applied it to other verticals,” Lev said. “For example, we now sell drones, but we have become experts so that when we sell a drone we can make sure the person knows how to use it and can get the best from it. We do this with every new and emerging technology.”

Whatever a photographer’s videographer’s, or other professional’s demands may be, Adorama takes them to heart.

“It’s our goal to offer the best products and services to our customers,” Lev said. “And our years of experience and know-how position us to do just that.”