Ink Tank printers gained tremendous traction in last few years where we have seen huge demand among all verticals. Epson India has successfully lead the market by introducing excellent & innovation solutions for all set of customers. Mr. Siva Kumar K, Deputy General Manager IJP, Sales & Marketing, Epson India exclusively interacted with DT and shared his opinion about the market trend and his channel plans.Q.
How do you see the growth of Inkjet printer market in India?
Ever since Epson introduced Ink Tank Printers in 2011, the printing industry has witnessed tremendous growth and transformation. In 2012 the Inkjet market size was approximately 1.1 million units and in 2016 it is expected to reach 1.6 million units. The Innovative and revolutionary Ink Tank Printers gave the consumers freedom to print owing to its lowest cost per print and low total cost of ownership. The acceptance and appreciation for Ink Tank printers from SMB and Corporate segment which was predominantly dominated by Laser Printers helped Inkjet market size to grow further. Ink Tank Printers became popular among home users and SMB’s due to its cost effectiveness, quality prints, Low TCO and energy efficient technology.Q.
Which are the major verticals adding to its huge demand in the market?
Earlier Inkjet Printers were used mainly by Home Segment mainly because the cost of the printer is less even though the print cost was high and the yields of the Ink cartridges were low. The penetration of Inkjet Printers was very limited in Office as they preferred laser printers which delivered high yield toner cartridge (roughly 1500 prints to 2000 prints) and it is easier to refill the toner cartridges. By compromising on Print quality, the office segments used Laser printer with refill toners. But after Epson launched the Original InkTank Printers, we noticed an increase in demand from commercial and business segments due to low cost per Print (8 Paise Black and 20 Paise Composite color) and high page yield ( 4000 Pages in Black, 6500 Pages from Color). Over the last 5 years, Epson sold more than 1 Million Ink Tank printers owing to the rise in demand from all verticals (home, SOHO, SMB, IT, ITES, BFSI, manufacturing and educational institutions). And with 17 models currently available from Epson made it easier for each vertical to choose the model most suitable for their printing needs, example – Fax, Network, Wi-Fi, Duplex printing, A4 or A3 Size print needs.Q.
How do you see the positioning of Epson printer in Indian market?
Epson were the pioneer to launch the world’s first Original Ink Tank Printers in India in 2011. With the lowest print cost for both Black and Color they were an instant success. Epson currently offers 17InkTank printers to choose - from Mono to Colour, from A4 to A3, from 4 Color Ink or 6 Color Inks enabling he consumer to choose the appropriate model for depending on their use.
The Micro Piezo Print head known for its reliability and being a fixed print head even in Ink Tank Printers, given higher confident for user to choose Epson Ink tank printers. This approach made Epson India to become No 1 Ink Jet Printer Brand in India within five years. Epson Ink Tank printer with Low cost per print, Low TCO and Low power consumption without compromising on print quality, print speed and reliability made strong positioning in India Market.Q.
What are the current product line on which you are focusing much more?
Home, SOHO, SMB and Corporate are the key focus customer segments for Epson India. There are close to 17 InkTank printer models for each customer segment and Ink Tank Printers will continue to remain a key focus for us. The recent addition to InkTank family is L655, the first ever InkTank duplex printer by Epson.Q.
How do you see the issues related with counterfeit products? What are your plans to overcome this major challenge?
The quality of counterfeit ink will be very poor when compared to the Epson Genuine Ink. The counterfeits will results in print quality issues like smudging, poor color reproduction frequent nozzle blockages and illegible printout image. Due to usage of spurious inks, printer heads get clogged and print inaccurate colors or distorted text. Most counterfeit ink will give lower print yields since ink is wasted in frequent cleaning. The yield is about 70% when compared to genuine ink.
In an effort to curb the sale of counterfeit ink bottles and to protect the rights of our customers, we have recently increased our vigilance with regard to manufacturers and dealers of counterfeit Epson Ink bottles. We are conducting multiple IP raids (along with the police) against the counterfeiters across the country. Large quantities of Ink bottles, Epson holograms, and Epson Stickers & Packaging materials have been seized from the counterfeit manufacturing centers and person found guilty are arrested and legal case registered against them.Q.
How do you distribute your products in Indian market? Please brief us about your distribution model in India.
We have nearly 190 Tier I partners- EAP (Epson Accredited Partner) for distributing Inkjet printer and consumables across the country. And the billing is done directly from Epson India to these EAPs’. To reach out to the customers Epson India focuses and works very closely with Tier II partners - ECC (Epson Certified Channel) across the country. And billing to ECCs is done by EAPs.Q.
What are your plans to boost channel awareness?
We at Epson India, understand the channel requirement and continue to support our partners with regular POP materials, demo units, product training & eDM’s. We also share the product details & hands training on at channel meets conducted on a regular basis. We also float Channel incentive schemes on a regular basis which motivate our partners to drive sales. We also release Advertisement on the channel magazines to reach out to the partners.Q.
How do take care of channel profitability & margin? What are the other sale support you give to your partners?
The scheme incentives are paid to our channel partners based on the schemes participated & sales achieved by the partners. Depending on their sales capabilities, they can go for the incentive scheme / slabs and these are designed to accommodate both big to small retailers. We invest in efficient marketing activities to drive sales and ensure that our EAPs and ECCs earn profits by selling the Epson products.Q.
What are your current online channel plans? How do you make a balance between offline & online channels?
At Epson, we believe that channel plays a huge role in promoting the products and educating the users based on their printing needs. Channel partners play a pivotal role in the distribution ecosystem. We have nearly 3500 channel partners across the country. We continue to focus on channel and would like to have deeper engagement with our channel partners. We have a great customer base who prefer online channel for purchase due to various factors. We take measures to retain and fulfill requirements of our online customers by keeping a balance between online and offline price points. We encourage our customers to check warranty entitlements / authenticity of the products before taking decision to purchase from e-commerce players/websites.
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