14 “Big Apple” Advantages of Doing Your Holiday Shopping for Your Favorite Photographers at B&H Photo Video
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1. B&H Photo Video is located on the island of Manhattan, New York City, at the corner of Ninth Avenue and West 34thStreet. It is generally recognized as the largest photo and video equipment store in the U.S. that is not part of a chain operation. B&H claims to be the “world’s leading retailer of imaging products.
2. Herman Schreiber and his wife, Blimie (thus, B&H), opened the original business during 1973. They’ve had to relocate twice to serve a growing clientele that now numbers 2,000 per day in the store and thousands more via its Web site.
3. The current location was expanded to a second floor during 1997, which created the current 70,000-square-foot store, with a total staff of more than 1,500.
4. Pro lighting, binoculars and scopes, video, audio, darkroom, film and both home and portable entertainment can be found on the first floor, while the second floor is for those customers looking for analog and digital photography equipment, computers, printers, scanners and matching accessories.
5. For amateurs and professional photographers, including the world’s best, visiting B&H Photo Video is as attracting and exciting as any of the famous sites of the Big Apple.
First-time visitors often stand in awe for a few minutes adjusting to the sensory overload of such an enormous space filled with so much merchandise and a huge number of customers and employees and all the activity they create. Be prepared for quite a strict security system when you enter, during your visit and when you leave.
6. One of the primary attractions at B&H Photo Video has nothing to do with photography; it’s the elaborate checkout process. When you purchase an item, it is entered into the store’s computer system, which then selects the item from inventory in the basement. Your purchase is conveyed in a basket from the basement across automated rails on the ceiling to the end of the checkout counter, where you receive it after paying for it.
7. As one customer commented at Yelp.com, “I usually use their website (love the free shipping), but I was in New York recently and went to see their store. IT IS THE BIGGEST STORE FOR AUDIO VIDEO PHOTO I HAVE EVER BEEN IN!!!!”
8. Another customer wrote at Yelp.com, “There's a reason why so many professionals shop here - I've never heard of anyone who had a problem with a faulty product being unable to return it, and I've never had someone in sales try to sell me on the highest price item to make his commission.”
9. The people at B&H obviously take customer service seriously. First, most of the staff members are experienced and accomplished photographers and videographers; and they receive continuous training. Second, B&H Photo Video operates an advance inventory tracking system that makes it easy to find even unusual and special-order items. Third, B&H wants all of its customers to be long-term customers, so it offers a very liberal return policy.
10. Most customers interact with B&H through its Web site. It is clearly well organized as soon as you see the home page (or any page) and it’s easy to read and navigate.
11. B&H Photo Video has received numerous awards and certificates for its Web site, including CNET's Five Star Excellent Store Rating, the Shopping.com Trusted Store Seal and a winner of the BizRate Circle of Excellence Platinum Award for 7 consecutive years.
12. B&H also operates a Web site in Portuguese for its Brazilian customers.
13. B&H customers are able to search, browse and purchase from the company’s entire inventory via their iPhone with the free, downloadable B&H Photo app.
14. All B&H Photo Video customers should be aware that the store is owned and staffed by orthodox Jews, so the store is not opened and Internet orders are not processed from Friday evening to Saturday evening and during any Jewish holidays.
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