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 user 2007-05-14 at 10:42:00 am Views: 37
  • #17910

    Value judgment
    cost, more fully-featured printers should entice people to print more.
    As the industry strives to enhance the importance of printing supplies
    as part of the customers’ printing experience, higher page counts may
    lead to higher profitsThe manufacturers of printers and printing
    supplies, the print cartridges and paper used to print photos and maps,
    invoices and marketing proposals, have long understood that for many
    customers supplies are considered a low involvement purchase – done out
    of habit, without much thought. How little thought? When customers in
    the UK and the US were asked to compare the purchase of ink and toner
    cartridges to other goods they buy, they most frequently compared it to
    buying toilet paper, explaining that: “You don’t really want to think
    about it, and if you run out of it, you’re in trouble.”Because they
    haven’t wanted to think about it, many customers fail to appreciate the
    contributions that printing supplies make to the overall printing
    experience – and that lack of appreciation has led some to wonder why
    printing supplies cost what they do and to question whether they’re
    good value for money. In 2005, industry leader Hewlett-Packard (HP)
    addressed this issue and unveiled ‘The Science of Printing’, a
    marketing campaign intended to decommoditise the printing supply, to
    improve customers’ perceptions of value by pointing out the vast
    amounts of technology contained within print cartridges.The campaign
    was rich in detail. It pointed out that when designing inks, HP
    scientists spend up to four years evaluating as many as 1,000 different
    ink combinations in search of the right formula, that all inks are
    subjected to more than 20 different tests for purity and more than 50
    different tests for attributes such as water resistance, fade
    resistance and colour accuracy. It explained that HP toner particles
    are uniform in size – small and round – which results in more precise
    toner placement for higher resolution, better colour transitions, and
    glossier prints. And it revealed that HP Premium and Premium Plus photo
    papers are made up of six micro-thin layers, each with a critical job
    to do like controlling ink absorption to resist fading or creating a
    moisture barrier to ensure that paper stays flat.The campaign made
    great strides in improving consumers’ appreciation of the technology.
    But to take advantage of a growing market – one which will see 2.7
    trillion pages printed on ink and laser printers in 2010, so many pages
    that if you stacked them one on top of the other, they’d reach
    three-quarters of the way to the moon – the industry has to demonstrate
    additional value in printing supplies by promoting features beyond the
    core technology. So two years after the Science of Printing, HP has
    begun just that, embarking on a simple and straightforward campaign to
    project additional value, packaging the content so that it’s easy to
    explain and easy to understand. As the rising tide lifts all boats, if
    HP and the reseller community succeed in these efforts, customers will
    experience greater satisfaction, increasing the likelihood of them
    returning to buy more – and more.

    Perceptions of value
    common for critics to refer to ink as the most expensive liquid in the
    world, to compare it with luxury items such as champagne or perfume.
    One critic went so far as to compare ink with gasoline, suggesting that
    it would wipe out an entire year’s salary to fill his gas tank with it.
    The comparisons aren’t logical, of course; none of the liquids are
    substitutes for each other. But that doesn’t diminish the comparisons’
    emotional charge because they tap into customers’ pre-conceived notions
    of value.It’s unfortunate, too, because HP has dramatically decreased
    the cost of printing – and even more dramatically increased performance
    – in almost all facets over the past 15 years. Since the early 1990s:

    The cost of printing, when measured as the cost of the printer in
    addition to three years supply of ink or toner, has decreased 52
    percent for black and white LaserJet printers and 68 percent for inkjet
    • Performance, when measured as improvements in speed and
    quality, has increased 463 percent for black and white LaserJet
    printers and 900 percent for inkjet printers
    • The number of pages a
    customer can print per ml of black ink has doubled, while the number of
    pages a customer can print per ml of colour ink has almost tripled.
    the first and most important explanation to offer a customer who
    questions whether printing supplies are good value is to sell the
    system – the printer plus the printing supply – to demonstrate that by
    looking at the bigger picture, customers’ costs have gone down

    Value in choice
    customers, those who print more frequently and many businesses,
    perceive good value as being able to save in the long run, even if that
    means spending more money up front while others, those who print less
    frequently, perceive good value as being able to spend less money out
    of pocket, saving now but spending more in the long run. The insight
    that customers have multiple definitions of value isn’t new; it simply
    hasn’t been applied broadly in the context of print cartridges, until
    now.HP addressed the ‘low cost per page’ customer first, introducing
    higher capacity “X” cartridges for LaserJet printers, and then
    recently, adding toner cartridge dual packs. For customers who own
    inkjet printers, HP has introduced 2-packs, 3-packs, high-capacity
    cartridges, and photo value packs – all solutions that offer customers
    an opportunity to achieve a lower cost per page, an average saving of
    ten to 15 percent. In April 2007, HP introduced a solution for
    customers who prefer to spend less money out-of-pocket by selling
    inkjet cartridges that offer typical HP quality, but for less money
    than before.The key here is making customers aware of the choices
    available to them and helping them choose the type of cartridge that
    best fits their definition of value for the money. HP is making it
    easier for customers to choose the right cartridge by colour coding
    packaging – for example, adding green accent colours to its traditional
    blue packaging to signify ‘value’ cartridges, those designed for higher
    use customers. Additionally in retail and on the web, HP is providing
    prompts to get consumers to think about how they are going to use their
    printer so that they can identify the most suitable cartridge for their
    individual printing needs. Point-of-sale ink selection guides, printer
    packaging, web search results and new displays all help to make the
    process easier.

    Value and hassle
    is simply one dimension of value, so focusing the conversation on the
    amount of currency exchanging hands is inadequate. Customers obviously
    perceive value in quality and reliability, two of HP’s trademarks,
    covered thoroughly in the Science of Printing. But more and more, as
    people are getting busier and busier, they are also placing a lot of
    value in convenience.The worst time to run out of ink or toner is in
    the middle of a long print job when you’re past deadline, or when your
    kids are working on a school project late at night when all of the
    stores are closed. For most people, keeping an inventory of extra
    cartridges on hand isn’t desirable – either the initial investment is
    too large or the storage needs can be too great, a particular issue for
    businesses that have many printers or many models of printers. The
    solution, therefore, is a system that automates, or at least
    simplifies, supplies ordering and ensures that new cartridges are
    available as soon as they’re needed.HP offers software management tools
    for individual consumers to large enterprises that allow customers to
    monitor supplies levels, receive alerts on supplies status, and
    pre-populate supplies order forms for easy reordering from their
    preferred supplier. Depending upon the number and type of printers
    involved, HP customers may utilise the following:
    • For inkjet
    printer users, HP offers the HP Solution Center, software that allows
    customers to view supplies levels, view alternative cartridges that can
    be used with their printer and print a personalised shopping list

    For home and home office customers, HP offers SureSupply, a program
    that helps them explore the range of cartridge options for supplies
    repurchase and then select the right SKU. This information can be used
    as a reference source for ordering or can be linked online to find a
    local reseller, to discover a local telephone number for ordering, or
    to place an order online with HP or a preferred online channel partner

    For micro and small businesses, HP offers SureSupply and Easy Printer
    Care, which lets office managers or administrative staff customise
    alerts and consolidate supplies ordering information for up to 15 HP
    LaserJet printers
    • And then for larger businesses and enterprises,
    HP offers Web JetAdmin, which provides supplies management capabilities
    to IT managers with networked printer fleets.
    The tools are
    available but customers aren’t necessarily aware of them. Raising
    awareness, and then helping with set up and use, is another simple way
    to demonstrate added value in printing supply.

    Value and the environment
    responsibility is a growing trend. Issues related to climate change are
    getting a high level of media coverage and are becoming relevant in the
    printing supplies market – and for some customers, gaining relevance as
    a purchasing criteria. These customers would like to recycle their used
    print cartridges as long as the process is easy and as long as they’re
    certain the cartridges are being recycled responsibly.For the channel,
    many of whom collect empty cartridges from customers, the strongest
    environmental solution is to take advantage of HP’s Planet Partners
    recycling programme, which is easy to use and free. HP includes
    pre-addressed, postage paid recycling envelopes and labels with many
    original HP print cartridges. Or, if customers have many print
    cartridges to return, they can request a free bulk collection box from
    HP at In the more than 40 countries the Planet
    Partners recycling programme exists, HP accepts returns of virtually
    every original HP print cartridge sold; and importantly, HP guarantees
    that no original HP cartridges returned through the programme are sent
    to landfill.Research indicates there’s growing confusion, and some
    cynicism, regarding what happens to HP print cartridges when they are
    returned through Planet Partners or any other recycling programmes.
    It’s important to tell customers that HP offers a genuine recycling
    programme, that it does not refill and resell any print cartridges it
    collects, that all print cartridges returned to HP through Planet
    Partners go through a multi-phase recycling process where they are
    reduced to raw materials, which can then be used to make new metal and
    plastic products.

    some customers, uncertainty about the value they’re getting from OEM
    printing supplies has led them to consider generic or private-label
    print cartridges, which seem less expensive because they typically sell
    for less. The risk these customers take, and the risk resellers take by
    suggesting alternative cartridges, is customer dissatisfaction. It
    turns out that compared to aftermarket alternatives, original HP
    supplies might be more expensive to buy, but they can be less expensive
    to use, not just in money spent, but in time, aggravation and wasted
    paper. So, remind customers that with original HP supplies, they not
    only get reliable, trouble-free printing, but the ease-of-use and the
    great, consistent print quality that HP is known for.And now, HP has
    unveiled a number of new programmes to give customers a better sense of
    getting real value from their purchase – programmes that are easy to
    explain and easy to understand. By focusing on the system, by pointing
    out the variety of available purchasing options, by streamlining the
    supplies management and ordering process, and by directing customers
    who want to recycle their used print cartridges through a genuine
    recycling programme to HP Planet Partners, the industry can improve the
    chances that customers’ experiences meet their definition of good value.