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Making micro maxi

01 Apr 10

A significant number of New Zealand businesses have fewer than five employees and work in a small office or home office environment. This sector of the SME category accounts for almost 80% of the market, and represents great potential for IT vendors and resellers who can identify and effectively target this segment. Vendors developing and promoting products that perfectly match the requirements of the large number of small businesses, become clear
leaders in the market, offering resellers and distributors a range of print solutions that meet consumer demands.

Research shows that small/micro businesses are flexible and quick in adopting new technologies, but often don’t have the IT knowledge or expertise to select a printer that would meet their requirements. Therefore they often rely on advice from resellers.

In order to provide a valuable service and the best solution to your customers’ printing requirements, it is essential to really understand their business and identify their printing needs. Considering that most micro businesses have small budgets, they will likely first look for an affordable and flexible solution that is efficient and reliable.

Colour printing is a lot more affordable these days, both in terms of the hardware acquisition and the running costs. This has created a shift in perception and a trend away from choosing ‘cheap’ mono printers, and towards buying affordable, productive and versatile colour printers. Added to this, most micro businesses use one printer for all their printing demands, increasing the adoption rate of multifunction devices.

The most cost-effective solution for micro businesses will depend on their print volumes and print sizes. Whether the printer will be used to print only 150 A4 pages per month or 1000 prints with the need for A3 charts or printed graphs, resellers should be able to offer an all-in-one solution that will effectively meet these needs.

Recent trends in the print industry show further improvements in inkjet technology. Not only is the initial cost of hardware lower than laser printing, but also the improved ink technology has enabled a significant reduction in running costs, offering an affordable, fast and efficient alternative for small businesses, delivering value and quality with a range of productivity-focused feature options.

The mix of features required also depends on how many people in the office will use the printer. Features like integrated Ethernet/wireless connections for shared printing, or an automatic document feeder and inbuilt black/colour fax that lead to increased office productivity, are the most popular features in the small/micro office space.

The opportunity to understand and educate your customer, as well as offer post-sale service and assistance (provided by either the vendor or reseller), will build customer loyalty and result in future revenue streams.

For resellers the small/micro business sector is an area of opportunity, not only at the initial point of sale, but also for ongoing sales of consumables based on their print volumes, which can vary greatly from low to extra-high capacity. The advantage is that once they have found the right cost-effective solution that includes the hardware and an ongoing consumables supply, they will become one of your long-term, most loyal customers.

Added to this, satisfied customers generally pass on information to three other people (known in the business as ‘word of mouth marketing’), so this gives you a great chance of reaching a traditionally fragmented market at virtually no cost. This is the best sort of marketing you can ask for.

The small/micro business and home office segment is a significant market opportunity. Product knowledge, and the ability to narrow down your customers’ choices to the most cost-effective, reliable and dependable solution on the market, as well as provide valuable after-sale services, will contribute to the overall success of your printer sales and maintain your ongoing business.