The printing market is in the throes of a massive market shift towards colour, according to Melbourne-based distributor Alloys International.
The statement comes as Epson launches its latest photo colour inkjet, the Photo 1290 printer, featuring borderless edge-to-edge A3+ printing. Alloys believes the colour printing market offers huge opportunities for the channel, in both the laser and inkjet sectors.
Specialist markets such as colour photo printing or colour lasers hold the most scope for resellers, according to Alloys International sales manager, Phil Gibbs.
"There is a huge shift towards the value product and the opportunities for resellers are enormous - the businesses that understand that are doing enormously well."
Increasingly, the inkjet market will become more focused on issues such as running costs, print quality and speed.
"More than 60 per cent of inkjets sold are in the sub- $200 category. But the guys who are focused on providing the best [inkjet] solutions are the ones who are doing really well, and it is not all that hard to do," Gibbs said.
The key is being able to provide printing solutions, rather than just moving low-end boxes. It is an issue that is also driving the take-up of colour in the laser market. Alloys International is one of the largest distributors of colour laser printers.
Gibbs admits colour lasers are still only a small part of the market, but interest in the product continues to grow. Colour also requires a great knowledge base, since the performance varies greatly between each machine, depending on issues such as printing speed, cost of ownership and quality.
"The [laser] printing solutions market is very lucrative, but also requires a lot of training," Gibbs said.
"In black and white, there is only one way to put a dot on a piece of paper. But when you start talking about the colour market it is no longer an easy sell."
Last year Alloys set up a resource centre - an innovation that has proven popular with the distributor's reseller partners. The centre has proved particularly useful for building sales in the high-speed end of the market.
"We see the smart dealers - the guys at the cutting edge of the market - one to three times a month with potential buyers, and they are not making just a couple of dollars a printer," Gibbs said.