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Getting beyond the printed page

Getting beyond the printed page

ARN's Printers Market Guide is dedicated to looking at ways the channel can leave traditional print hardware sales behind and deliver holistic document management solutions.

According to Gartner, the copier and multifunction printers market grew by 8.4 per cent in 2007, but user spending was up just 1 per cent. With figures like that, it's no wonder there's barely any skin in the print hardware sales game. But with slowing growth comes the impetus for resellers to start looking at ways to offer more value-add around printing.

The concept of selling printing and imaging on a cost-per-page model is not a new one in the copier market, but the majority of IT print resellers are still scratching their heads. It's easy to see why: resellers have traditionally aligned the printers pitch with speeds and feeds. But as many industry representatives point out, this commodity-based sales cycle just brings margins down further.

According to some industry pundits ARN spoke to, the best way to figure out how to position a print management solution is to analyse a customer's business objectives and pain points. How does that customer use printers in their workplace? In what way can modifying their printing patterns improve their document management workflow? As IDC has pointed out, over half of Australian businesses only have a partial understanding of their printing and document management costs. Some don't even associate these elements with business productivity roadblocks or costs. By focusing on these issues and the related cost benefits of print management solutions, resellers have a great opportunity to increase margins as well as their profile.

Once resellers manage to cross that line, there's plenty of other technologies which can be employed to round out a comprehensive document management solution. As ASI Solutions' Glen Campbell argues, customer concerns around how to manage documents electronically are opening up broader conversations about records management, storage and data tracking.

As well as analysing the market climate, this guide also features a case study examining how one reseller turned a customer's print problems into an opportunity to sell a print management solution. We've also included the latest printing products offering complementary feature-sets that can contribute to a solutions-oriented sales pitch.

Whatever position you're in right now - whether you're still attaching a basic printer to a desktop PC sale, or selling printing based on usage models - it's obvious the printers market, like many others, will experience a major shake-up over the next few years. Those who can tune their business into a services-based mindset will be much better placed for the future.


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