The right impression

With so many printer choices available these days, it’s often very difficult to decide which one to purchase that will best suit your business needs.

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By  Jane Plunkett Published  July 31, 2005

|~|Samsungweb.jpg|~|Samsung is aiming its products at every sector, says Stuart Kang, and will cut prices to attract more customers and resellers.|~|With so many printer choices available these days, it’s often very difficult to decide which one to purchase that will best suit your business needs. In addition to desiring a compact unit with the latest fashionable features, the dreaded total cost of ownership (TCO) also comes into play. IT Weekly met Stuart Kang, regional manager of Samsung’s printer division, who discussed the company’s up-coming products and its efforts to grab a larger slice of the market. How long have you been offering printers in the region? We started the Samsung printer business in the UAE three-and-a-half years ago and since then we have seen the company go from strength to strength. What is your current line-up? Our main line-up is geared towards the low-end and middle-end market at this moment. We have printers which offer 16ppm (page per minute), 20ppm and 25ppm. These are the three major laser printer models we are selling at the moment. At Gitex 2005, we will be launching a monochrome laser printer with various options, two colour laser printers, two photo printers and a compact desktop laser printer. Can you talk me through the new product offerings that will be available at Gitex? The ML-3560 is a basic stand-alone model monochrome laser printer, but it is also available as the ML-3561N, which means it can be connected to the network. The other option is the ML-3561ND; this model offers the customer the duplex option — the ability to print on both sides — along with the network option. The new CLP-600 colour laser printer is a fast single-pass colour printer that can print colour documents at the same speed as black and white documents, while the CLP-300 is geared to be the smallest laser colour printer in its class. The ML-2010 desktop laser printer will also be available. What about the forthcoming Samsung SPP-2020/2040 photo printers? In August we plan to launch the two photo printers. The basic engine is the same in both photo printers. However, the SPP-2040 has extra editing features, such as a photo preview display option, and it also accepts up to seven different memory cards. We are very excited about the launch, as we understand the potential that the photo printer has on the market because of the remarkable increase in camera phones. Both camera phones and digital cameras are very popular. In addition, because we also sell mobile phones, we are considering offering a bundled package. We may be offering a Samsung mobile phone with a Samsung photo printer, or alternatively, a Samsung digital camera and a Samsung printer. Which sector will you be primarily targeting your printer products at? Our products will be available to every sector. What we are going to do is to try to reduce the price of our colour laser printers in an effort to attract more customers and resellers. How will you persuade them to change from the printers they presently use? If we focus on the colour laser printer, by dropping the price of the model dramatically, customers will recognise that the price of a colour laser printer is now affordable. So, why should they continue spending money on an old model when for the same budget they can buy the Samsung colour laser printer? What features do customers look for in a printer? Most of the customers are very sensitive to the cost per page (CCP) because they have had some costly lessons from using various printers. Cartridges are expensive, but with our line-up we promise to reduce the CCP. Who are your biggest rivals in the region’s printer market? HP has been the leader in printing industry for many years so a lot of customers have very positive mindset to HP. We have a planned approach to attack HP. What we need to do is change the end users’ mindset from HP to Samsung. To do this we need to increase the exposure of Samsung printers. Everybody knows Samsung, but there is no connection between Samsung Corporate and Samsung printer. This is both a dilemma and headache. So to increase awareness of Samsung printers we are going to have to invest a lot of money in advertising. How will you differentiate your printers from your rivals apart from advertising? What can Samsung offer the market that HP can’t? By promoting unique Samsung features such as the duplex function. HP end users have to buy the duplex motor as an option with an additional cost, but our product has a built-in duplex function so end users don’t need to spend extra money to use that function. Compared with HP, most of our products have better paper-input capacity, which means our office customers don’t need to keep putting new paper in the machine nearly as much as they would with HP products. Also, our printer designs are a lot more stylish in comparison to HP. What aspect of the printer market do you most have your eye on at the moment? The corporate and tendering market is very important. The retail figures are under 10% in that area, and I believe there is a huge hidden market consisting of corporate, government and tender sectors in the Middle East and Africa. So for the short-term, to catch up in the market, we intend to be very aggressive in the tender business. We encourage our partners and distributors to collate information on forthcoming tendering bids. Corporate and tender users tend to be heavy printers, and they don’t worry too much about printing costs because the government or company generally pays for toner costs. They are very heavy printer users compared to other customers and home users.||**||

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