Injekt Printers: Epson Inks Leadership Slot

Partners like Epson’s marketing and after sales initiatives and its commercial terms making it their favorite inkjet vendor; HP at #3 needs measures to appease its channel

Epson regained its position as the #1 channel favorite inkjet printer vendor after a one year hiatus. There was a close race with Canon for the top spot, though the surprise was last year’s favorite HP relegated to the third spot by the channel partners. While Epson and Canon led in three and two categories respectively, HP was ahead of its competitors only in the online support category and this impacted its overall ranking.

Partners are highly appreciative of Epson’s marketing and after sales support as well as its commercial terms for the overall channel. Epson has competent account managers who ensure a fast turnaround time, it has service centers in most cities and regions and therefore it is prompt in stock replacement and can provide satisfactory repair and replacement services. The NVision program in more than 25 cities seems to have had a perceptible impact on Epson partners. Epson is also very flexible in commercial terms as per its back-end incentives and credit policies, but it falters in effectively and consistently communicating to channel partners.

Canon has moved to #2 in 2015, one position up from 2014. Most partners like Canon products for their user-friendliness, price vs performance ratio and conformance to specifications. They also rate Canon above Epson and HP in maintaining relationship with the channel. There are adequate training and certification programs for channel partners, ample reward systems dedicated personnel for relation management. As a result, Canon manages disruption due to change in personnel better and more consistently honors commitments made to the partners.

HP’s fall from grace is primarily due to its low scores in marketing, after sales support and commercial terms. Partners feel that HP’s co-op funding has gone down and it is no more very flexible about conducting localized promotions. Even stock replacement does not happen promptly and that affects HP’s repair and replacement services. While partners still swear by the sheer diversity of HP products (multiple launches in an year), its technological leadership and the richness of online resources offered, HP Inc. (the new avatar for selling printers) need to pull up its socks to retain mindshare amongst its channel partners.

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