Canon becomes the first imaging company to have shop-in-shop experiences to promote home MFP sales. India Head, C Sukumaran speaks to IndiaTechOnline
By Vishnu Anand
Bangalore, June 9 2019: Riding the current wave of ink tank technology in printers, Canon is driving in beast mode to acquire new consumers through differentiated experiences. As part of an ambitious plan, the company hopes to tie up with 5000 retailers across tier II and tier III by 2021. The company has also handpicked 19 locations where it plans to introduce its PIXMA stores, which will act as experience centres for prospective buyers.
Online versus offline
C Sukumaran, Director, Consumer Systems Products (CSP), Canon India, said, "While most other gadgets can be experienced in a n offline store, printers and Multi Function Printers (MFPs) have lagged behind. We hope to change this with our experience stores where we will visually and experientially recreate home environments for people to visualize real-world scenarios." When asked about most home automation procurements moving to the online space, he said, "While we have seen a slight increase in our online business, a bulk of our sales still happens through offline stores, especially retail partners. Since this is a competitive market, there are so many options for the consumer, and purchase decisions are made after a lot of deliberation."
According to Canon, one of the biggest reasons why consumers resist owning a printing device at home is simply the long-term maintenance expenditure, which includes cost of a cartridge replacement and refill of papers. Canon, like most other manufacturers, seems to have found solace in the latest ink tank technology that claims to reduce the cost of a black and white print to around 40 paise and a colour print for less than a rupee. Ink tank technology involves having a print head within the cartridge for longer life and lesser ink used per page.
Speaking about changing needs of Indian consumers, Mr. Sukumaran said, "These days the primary education system required children to perform project work at home. A Canon printer dramatically reduces cost of both colour and black and white prints, making it both inevitable and cost effective." He added, "Certain cities in India such as Bangalore and Hyderabad are hubs for start ups and innovators. These small companies have printing needs, but they are extremely value conscious. We are hoping to tap into this market soon."
Retail store strategies
Going back to the discussion on shop-in-shop retail experiences, Mr. Sukumaran mentioned that the company released 6 ink tank printers in 2018 and is constantly increasing its portfolio to cater to different segments. On one hand, store executives need to be adequately trained to understand these differences, and then pass the information on to the customers. For this to happen seamlessly, Canon is banking on creating experience zones where both the retail executives as well as prospective buyers can touch and feel a device that is not usually on the priority list of must-have gadgets in an household.