D-Photo: Can you explain more about PB Technologies and the vision it has as a company? For how long has the company been around?
Paul Nicol: PB Technologies was started in 1993 in small premises in Panmure, Auckland. It has a fairly simple philosophy, which is to source what the customer wants and deliver it at an unbeatable price. The company has now grown to have nine superstores in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, and Christchurch. In addition, PB Technologies has significant service operations as well as online, distribution, wholesale, education, and commercial divisions.
The underlying mission of the company has not changed since its inception: to deliver the best price, every day, and to have the biggest range. Our entry into the digital-imaging market a couple of years ago was the result of recognizing that many of our existing IT customers are photography enthusiasts, and, with technologies exhibited in devices such as GoPro and drones, elements of that market fit very well with the operations of a strong IT provider.
How can PB Technologies help and encourage photographers, whether they be beginners, amateurs, or professionals?
I think what PB Technologies brings to the photography market is a more flexible and open offer than is traditional. The majority of people do their own online research, and rather than contradict that with sales skills, our value proposition is to get the customer what they want at the best price. We don’t pretend to be photography experts — although we have many enthusiasts and semi-pros within our staff of more than 400. I think the expertise role sits very clearly with the specialist shops, and they do a great job in that area.
Have you noticed any trend in the sort of photographic equipment that is being purchased, and, if so, what do you think is the reason for it?
I think the biggest trend we are seeing is the reinvention of video through GoPro and drones, and people wanting to capture their activities and communicate them through social media.
While smartphones may have had a significant impact on entry-level and mid-level cameras, the market for Micro Four Thirds products and DSLR products that feature more sophisticated video and communication functions is growing.
Do you have anything that would be suitable for someone who is interested in picking up a camera for the first time? What about young children who are keen to take a photo or two?
We do carry entry-level cameras, and, in addition, we sell to schools through our education division. To be fair though, our overall range sits at the mid to higher level.
What other types of products do you offer that will ensure a photographer’s equipment kit is packed and ready to go — things like storage cards and software?
PB Technologies has a complete range of all the accessories and brands — filters (Zomei), tripods (Manfrotto), bags (Lowepro), etc. As one of the larger sellers of flash memory, we deliver unbeatable pricing on brands such as SanDisk.
How easy is it to locate a PB Technologies store around New Zealand?
We have nine stores nationwide, and we’re online. You can find a store near you by using our store locator at pbtech.co.nz.