a man holds a camera

Glazer's Camera

Capturing Ecommerce Through a New Lens

A cornerstone of the Seattle creative community, Glazer’s Camera is an essential resource for local residents who are passionate about photography. Its ecommerce website really came to life with Shopify.


Ecommerce Development
Shopify Development
Custom Integration

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Meet Glazer's Camera

camera lens equipment on a table

Meet Glazer's Camera

Since Ed Glazer first opened the Glazer’s Camera store in 1935, it’s been the place to go for professional-grade camera equipment in the region. Today, after being passed through three generations of the Glazer family, the business now occupies a beautiful new store in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood. In recent years, they’ve expanded beyond camera equipment also to include photography classes, community events showcasing local talent, and financial support for photography students attending Seattle Central Creative Academy. 

Bear Group is proud to have partnered with Glazer’s since 2008 to develop its online platforms and expand its online business.

They're advisors to us. It's critical help for those of us who aren't developers to understand the pros and cons of different decisions.

Rebecca, Glazer's Camera

The Right Business Solution

uncovered camera lenses on a table

The Right Business Solution

We approach every project from a holistic business perspective to set clients up for success — not just a technology-centered viewpoint. After working with Glazer’s for many years, we have a solid understanding of their business and the technical solutions that would ultimately help them be successful. 

The Glazer’s online landscape is more complex than it might look from the outside. It includes:

  • A rotating catalog of well over 12,000 SKUs at any time.
  • Dynamic used inventory business, where single units in stock are the norm.
  • A physical storefront that shares inventory with their online store (so POS integration required).
  • Picturesque marketing and front-end UX goals 
  • Retailer rebate programs and discounts coming from the manufacturers (Sony, Canon, etc.) that need to be incorporated into the checkout process.
  • Community building tools (blogs, social integration).
  • Registrations for events and classes
  • Photography equipment rentals business
  • Repairs business
  • Enhanced security

The Challenge

With the Covid-19 pandemic hitting in early 2020, the Glazer’s team needed to temporarily close their new—and very beautiful—South Lake Union store to shift to an online-first approach. This change happened quickly, and they needed to offer Buy Online, Pickup in Store (BOPIS) to meet the needs of long-time customers, as well as new customers looking to explore a new hobby or rekindle their passion for photography now that many people had extra time on their hands.

Glazer’s ecommerce increased to 10x their normal volume almost overnight, and we were glad to see the systems currently in place held up to the new demand. We were also able to implement a number of other necessary features to the new Glazer’s site.

Increase in ecommerce volume during COVID-19 pandemic
a camera shoots a landscape

The Solution

Many of the fully-custom websites we build start with an upfront design/UX phase to determine the site’s look and feel. We were able to work together with the Glazer’s team to identify a Shopify base theme to use as a starting point, and then modify it to suit their brand. 

They chose a Shopify base theme and from that base, we were able to extend the theme — taking what might be considered a “stock” look and customizing it to Glazer’s brand. This approach is very efficient, reducing the typical 8-10 weeks of front-end development when starting with a “blank” canvas, to almost 3 weeks with a base theme to build upon.

multiple views of the glazer's camera website

The Results

Glazer’s uses a highly-customized point-of-sale (POS) system called Photoware, that is wrapped around the unique needs of a photography retailer. On-hand inventory is managed through their POS, and the system can output structured XML. Back in 2012, we built an integration with Photoware for Magento 1, and were able to replace that with a Shopify app.

The new app uses Shopify's JSON REST API to get current stock info, passes data into a GraphQL database, blends it with the incoming Photoware XML data, then writes back updates in batches to the Shopify app. It takes about 2 minutes to review and update all 12,000 SKUs, and processes updates multiple times per hour.

This custom build allows us to automate a number of Glazer’s inventory and product management tasks. For example, any product that is marked as deprecated in their POS system is automatically pulled from the website. Additionally, we are able to filter out or group certain products to help speed up the merchandising team’s workflow.

Start Your Project

Three Easy Steps:


Contact Us

The first step in working with Bear Group is to fill out our contact form to schedule an introductory call with our team.


Introductory Call

We'll listen to the challenges you are facing and discuss possible solutions. This will give you an idea of how we can help.


Get Started

After you've decided that Bear Group is the right development partner for you, we'll kick off your project and dive right in.