Fancy a digital camera with your Y-fronts and low fat houmous? Marks and Spencer has entered the highly competitive camera retail market. So what does it hope to offer the consumer that existing retailers don't?

Marks and Spencer has entered the highly competitive camera retail market with a new range of stand-alone technology departments in 14 of its main stores throughout the UK which will place its emphasis firmly on customer service. The departments will sell a range of products including LCD televisions, mobile phones and iPods, as well as digital cameras and camcorders.

The move follows research by M&S showing that 60% of Britons do not enjoy shopping for electronic products due to the lack of helpful, or overly pushy, in-store staff, confusing instruction manuals or baffling amounts of functions and services. It also found that one in five people who own electronic items do not know what common technology terms like PDA, MP3, or HDTV mean, and, 46% of people who own at least one electronic device cannot operate their gadget above the basic level and rely on friends and family to operate them.

To counter this Marks & Spencer has repackaged all of its technology products on offer to make them more appealing and, in many cases, re-written the instruction manuals to make them more user-friendly. The departments will be run by technology-trained staff while signage and point-of-sale materials will feature clear explanations of technical jargon.

The range of brands on offer is limited at the moment, with Sony and Samsung providing most of the digital cameras, but this is expected to expand. There are no plans at present for a ‘St. Michael’ own-branded digital camera range, though the company hasn’t ruled this out in the future.

Steve Rowe, Director of Home and Technology comments, ?We are pleased to create dedicated technology departments in our key stores. We know that our customers want to buy the best products at the best prices from a retailer they can trust and our research shows just how baffled the nation is with the amount of choice and technological jargon. By offering a selection of carefully chosen products from some of the biggest names in the business along with good prices, technology trained staff and great after-care service, Marks & Spencer is taking a completely new approach to technology. ?

The will be a price to pay for the M&S service experience ? prices are somewhat higher than the cheapest prices found online and on price comparison websites, but the company clearly feels there’s a significant sector of the market who will be prepared to pay a little more for the extra service and peace of mind.

To view Marks & Spencer’s digital camera range online, go to