Dare to be different

Mark Ash, head of print at Samsung UK & Ireland, discusses how dealers can gain the advantage in a competitive and crowded market through the products they sell
Product makes a difference when it comes to standing out from competitors – and I speak from experience when I say that.
It’s no secret that Samsung was late to the table in this crowded market, so we quickly had to play catch-up. For example, we are, therefore, the only vendor to bring an entirely new A3 line-up to market in 30 years, in comparison to the other well-known print manufacturers who have had three to four decades – maybe more in some cases – to develop their offering. If you look at the platform Samsung has developed in the last five years, we’ve not only caught up but, I would argue, we’ve overtaken our counterparts. Independent industry analysis shows that our flagship MX7 device offers the industry’s fastest scanner and passed the million-scan test with flying colours.
How is this relevant to dealers? Well, if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got. So, we thought differently. We innovated to stand out and open doors. By taking the industry’s fastest scanner, and putting it on an MFP, our channel partners could attack the scan market – where previously people would spend £5k on separate solutions, and then be trained on it – which leads me on to my second point.
Having the best product doesn’t mean people will use it. Often, throughout life, the more advanced a product is the harder it is to use. If you jump into a Lamborghini or a Ferrari and switch off all of the electronic driver aids you’ll be spinning round in circles. They’re great cars, but they’re only made usable – for the majority of people – by technology. Where Samsung is very different is that we use our experience in ‘phones, tablets, domestic appliances and televisions – where billions of dollars are spent – and bring the usability into MFPs. We’re always thinking, ‘What’s next? What does the future hold? How can our functionality be developed further?’
The app advantage
Was what does the future hold? Everyone is talking about how they have a tablet-style interface. They’re also talking about apps that disrupt the market.They’re also talking around how dealers can profit from it. But, if you look at the mobile and tablet market globally, as well as in the UK, Samsung leads the market. We’re the only vendor that offers a full Android CTS certified tablet interface for A3 devices and, very shortly, for our new A4 ranges as well.
So why is that important?Android is the most widely used operating system for the internet, with a 64%* share globally. So, if you have an Android-developed app it will work on our devices. You might have to add to the lines of code in if that app is not designed to print, but it will work – and this is where dealers can benefit.
It’s becoming incredibly hard, in a cutthroat economy, for dealers to retain the profit levels they’re used to from selling hardware, supplies or a managed service. However, when a dealer adds true business value via an app – and business is inherently becoming run via apps – it’s incredibly hard to be displaced.
If a dealer wants a talking point that differentiates them from the competition, they’ve absolutely got it. If they want to add some value to the customer and give a personalised experience, they’ve got it. If a dealer wants to develop their own app, which can be commercialised to create a new annuity, it can be done relatively simply.
The correct mindset
We’ve previously talked a lot about mindset and how, in a business that has existed for 40 years or more, it’s difficult to do something different. However, one thing dealers are familiar with is reducing their cost-to-serve. If we take that one point, and put it in today’s language of what the customer wants, it becomes all about enhancing and/or simplifying the customer experience. It’s a well-quoted statistic that 40-to-60% of IT helpdesk calls are print-related. If our partners can minimise the downtime associated with their print fleet, and the additional burden on the customer’s IT department, what that generates is an enhanced service. And you can measure that with tangible figures such as net promoter scores or reduced incidents into the IT help desk.
The tools we’ve built are based on the principles of diagnostics over internet protocol, so they’re simple to build and deploy. Apps such as RemoteCall, which allow our channel partners to remotely troubleshoot, monitor and fix print devices, negate the need and the cost and resource associated with sending engineers to customer sites. That means dealers can do more with less, so they make more profit, which can either be banked or used to reduce the cost-per-page to make them more competitive. The end-user gets an enhanced experience that is traditional, in that it’s IT-based, but far from traditional when it comes to the approach. Everyone’s a winner!
This isn’t a new concept for Samsung. We took it to market a number of years ago and the last time I checked we had 15,000 registered users on the printing app centre and over 200,000 individual downloads of an app or a widget. This is a proven model in the marketplace and one that customers are already benefiting from. It’s also one that’s not the preserve of the great and the good – SME-focused dealers and their customers can benefit from it as well – and it’s a notable example of how products and solutions can help dealers stand out from the crowd.

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