For a market long predicted to be doomed, printing is looking remarkably good – albeit it’s a considerably different market place now.
Heather Wright takes a look at the new(er) face of printing in a four-part feature.
Matthew Stroud, Brother International (NZ) chief operating officer, notes that pricing other than rock bottom, is returning to the retail market, as consumers become more savvy about buying the right printer, rather than just the cheapest.
“Only a year ago there was a race to zero, with printers dropping to $39, $29, but that absolute entry level race is over and we’re seeing much smarter consumers who are looking for the right product, as opposed to just the cheapest.
"They’re much more savvy about running costs and have realised that sometimes the running costs can be more than the printer itself.”
Stroud says close to 75% of total turnover is now in two distinct retail categories – the $99 to $199 models and the $199-$299 models. “From a channel point of view, that’s good news that the price is coming up.”
But with that change in consumer attitude, comes a change for resellers. Stroud says it’s crucial that resellers ask the right questions to ascertain exactly what a customer needs from their printer.
“More often than not you can upsell if you ask the right, simple, questions such as how much are they going to print and do they only need black and white?”
Stroud says Brother is increasingly seeing colour lasers moving into the small office, home office space with the cost of special photo printing paper in order to get high-quality colour print, putting some users off inkjet.
“Resellers really need to understand the different technologies so they can ensure customers get the best product for their needs.
"If they walk out with the cheapest, they may well end up unhappy and not come back.”