Epson gains More Mindshare with thINK Initiatives
The inkjet printers market is witnessing a much intensified competitive ambience. The increased availability of low-cost printers coupled with the adoption and use of integrated printing solutions and the ongoing price war among the printer vendors has resulted in significant cost savings to the Indian customers. Thus, the overall situation is that the Indian customers are getting a much wider option in the printer categories. Since the offtake from large corporations has slowed down, vendors are seeing tremendous growth opportunities for printers in the Indian SMB and end-customers. Apart from that, the B & C class cities are also generating a huge promise for the vendors.
In the Inkjet printer categories, the major players are HP, Epson, Canon and Lexmark. Today, the vendors in the inkjet space are coming out with lots of innovative technology, offers, and are making a lot of investment around the partners to grow their market share.Recently, in order to grow its market share and reach to a maximum number of customers, Epson has launched a new initiative called thINK. Under this campaign, the company has launched two new ink cartridges, i.e. affordable Dye Ink and DuraBrite Ultra, and, six new inkjet models of printers. Out of the six models, three models (Epson Stylus C58, C79, C87) are single- functional printers and three (Epson Stylus CX2800, CX3900 and CX5900) are MFDs. The company has taken the competition to the next level by offering ink individual cartridges with the entry-level printers, which otherwise is available with the high-end models of the competition.
When Dye Ink cartridge is available at an affordable price of Rs.250 (MRP) only, the DuraBrite Ultra ink cartridge provides ultra-durable and smudge- free print outs. These are the high quality inks at an affordable price point.
With the two new ink cartridges, Epson now provides four types of inks, the other two being special ink for photo printing and K3 Ultra for professional printing.
The company has also provided ink individual cartridges (iNKDiVIDUAL) from the entry-level models. In the words of SM Ram Prasad, Business Manager –Consumer Products, Epson India, “The advantage of ink individual cartridges is that one needs to replace one cartridge only, which is exhausted, thus keeps the running cost of the printer at a lower side.” However, depending upon the volume of the work, the customer can also use large black cartridge with select models, including Epson Stylus C87.
There are four components that make Epson special in the printer market, i.e. print head, software, media and ink. The print head of Epson printers are based on Micro Piezo technology, which enables precision allocation of ink to the printing objects. And today, Epson is making heavy investments in technology in terms of all these four ingredients. Speaking on the benefits of Micro Piezo technology, Ram Prasad says, “The significant benefit of Micro Piezo technology is that unlike the print head of other competing companies, the life of our print head remains as long as the life of the printer. The other advantage for the customers is that they can use different types of ink for the same print head.”
Epson has always endeavoured to offer high quality of ink at low cost.”Epson says that the low-cost cartridges are expected to help the company drive its cartridge sales and to effectively tackle the menace of non-genuine cartridges. The Epson technology and its R&D centre have worked for the last couple of years to come out with solutions, which will not be of high quality, but also offer a greater value proposition for the customers in India.
Currently, Epson is making huge investments around its partners to grow its market share in the inkjet printer categories. In the inkjet market, Epson has got around 23-per cent market share, which it wants to grow up to 30 per cent by the end of this year.
In the last one and a half years, Epson has gone through major restructuring in its distribution systems for its consumable products. Ram Prasad says, “Today, we have reached a very good penetration level. We have got a reach of around 2,300 Epson Channel Partners (ECPs). Apart from that, we have 52 Epson Business Partners (EBPs) who are the regional distributors.”
As Epson is expanding its operations in the country, it is focussing on adding more and more eligible channel partners in its kitty. At the same time, it is also trying to maintain continuous engagement on all the fronts with the existing partners.
In the end
The latest offering of Epson is a very great effort and demonstrates the tremendous value the company is offering to the Indian customers.