Should You Buy IP Cameras Online?

By John Honovich, Published Jul 05, 2009, 12:39am EDT

Buying video surveillance cameras on-line is a relatively new but growing trend. Traditionally, end users bought cameras from integrators while integrators bought directly from manufacturers or through their representatives.

In the last 5 years, significant change has started to occur. Most IP video surveillance cameras can be readily bought on-line at prices close to, if not lower than, what integrators can buy from traditional channels.

Benefits of Traditional Sales Channels

Industry people cite a number of benefits from the traditional sales model:

  • Integrators provide technical expertise and ongoing support to ensure that systems are properly integrated and maintained. The discount on products compensates them for this service.
  • Integrators market and promote a manufacturer's products, acting as a 'virtual' sales force that expands the reach of a manufacturer. Greater margin on product sales compensates integrators for their sales force.

Benefits of On-line Sales

On the other hand, many feel that on-line sales rectifies a number of problems of the traditional model:

  • Lower prices: On-line, buyers can choose from sellers around the world that frequently offer substantially lower prices.
  • Wider choice: Buyers can choose from a much wider array of products than what is often offered locally by integrators in a buyer's region.

Future of IP Camera Sales

A lot of integrators are concerned and frustrated by on-line IP camera sales. It encourages customers to ask more questions about pricing and often attempt to buy products directly. It has the potential to wipe out revenue from product sales - a major source of profits for integrators.

Regardless, it's hard to imagine that the move to on-line sales will not continue, much like it is in many other markets. The lower costs and wider options on-line are simply too attractive to buyers.

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