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 user 2005-06-21 at 10:39:00 am Views: 60
  • #11614
    Epson leaps to catch up
    with HP,goes regional distribution way
    June 2005
    Epson has adopted a new distribution strategy for its inkjet printers and inkjet all-in-ones (AIOs). Under the new model, Epson has decided to go through a regional distribution model rather than opt for national distributors. With this, it aims to close its gap with HP, the reigning market leader in the inkjet space.

    Says S M Ramprasad, business manager (consumer products), Epson, “We have done away with our national distributors and have instead appointed EBPs (Epson Business Partners) in different regions across India.

    “In addition to Neoteric, which has a countrywide presence, we have appointed 10 EBPs across India. By the end of 2005, we plan to raise it to 15.”

    Until now, inkjet printers and inkjet AIOs reached the end-users through a chain that involved two national distributors (Tech Pacific and Redington), sub-distributors, authorized dealers and resellers.

    However, the rest of Epson’s products (apart from inkjet printers and inkjet AIOs) will continue to be distributed through the earlier arrangement. Epson, with a market share of 20 percent in inkjet printers and AIOs, wants to catch up with HP that currently enjoys a market share of about 50 percent. The inkjet printer market as a whole is about six lacs in terms of volumes. It is surging at an annual growth of about 15 to 20 percent.

    “As part of the new initiative, we have also appointed more than 1,200 ECPs (Epson Channel Partners) over the last two months. These ECPs would procure products from EBPs and sell them to the end-users. We look forward to add another 1,800 ECPs by the end of 2005. By reducing the number of layers in our distribution model, we will be able to save considerable amount of money that would be spent on focused activities for the partners,” Ramprasad said.

    In its quest to carve out a bigger market share, Epson is striving hard to ensure a uniform pricing of its products across India. Also, it’s ramping up service support infrastructure and streamlining the reward programs.

    “The customer, whether in a B and C class city or a metro, can now get our products at the same price. The level of service support has improved with a 25 to 30 percent increase in our service centers,” said Ramprasad.

    Vikas Bucha from Infotech India, says, ” To become an EBP is in continuation with our three-year-old relationship with Epson. The price stabilization and prompt payment from Epson are big motivating factors for us.”

    Says Sachin K John from CSS Microsys, “Earlier, there were no sales promotion activities from the national distributors’ side. The decision to go for a regional distribution model is therefore a welcome step. On our part, we are pushing Epson aggressively by conducting road shows and media campaigns. Epson is a dominant player in the southern market and this step would further cement its place here.”

    Epson has launched schemes (one such scheme ?Epson Lucky Ho Jao’ is on till July 20) that address both the customer end and the selling end. It has also chalked programs that reward partners for their consistent purchases, however small they may be.