Pioneers of imaging
Pioneers of imaging

Epson is a well recognised name in the imaging and printing market the world over. One of their top priorities has been to localise to the specific markets that they are present in. S M Ram Prasad, Deputy General Manager, Sales & Marketing, Epson India, provides us the structure to the ever-growing success of the brand worldwide.

S Aadeetya (SA): What is the nSolution programme all about? Who is your target audience with this initiative? Ram Prasad (RP): The nSolution is an enterprise programme that is undertaken annually, where channel partners, distributors and dealers come together for a workshop where the products are displayed and dealings are also entertained. At present, we have 1,400 channel partners in the enterprise segment all over India. Customer/vendor engagement programmes are organised, printing solutions, point of sale solutions are also made available. We primarily cater to the education sector, retail sector and hospitality sector with our products. Last year, the programme covered 10 cities, which we have taken up to 16 this year. We also conduct n-gage programme, which happens on a quarterly basis, where we cover 100 cities.

SA: Is this programme a part of your traditional marketing strategy in order to engage and encourage vendor retention? RP: Well, this programme is more of an engagement strategy from our part. We believe that the sector undergoes tremendous changes every year and someone needs to update the vendors and distributor market about the changes that transpire.

SA: Where are your products manufactured? How much is your production capacity?

RP: Epson products are primarily manufactured in Indonesia and Thailand. We have our R&D set-up in Japan. Our plants are manufacturing around 50,000 printers for the Indian market. SA: Where is this specific segment moving in the country? What are the current trends in this regard? RP: When it comes to having competitors, we have different competitors for different products. This primarily includes the likes of HP and Canon in the printing segment. In dot matrix, we have TVS and Wipro, for scanners we have Canon, Kodak, HP and some 40 other brands for projectors. We earlier had three inch receipt printer, which is concerned with the jewellery stores, retailers or even a kirana shop. However, they have preferred six inch receipt printers. The reason for this is primarily concerned with the mindset of the consumer. For example, if a consumers shops for around Rs 25,000 worth of jewellery and he is given a three inch small receipt, he tends to reject it outrightly. These are some of the factors that have prompted us to bring out higher sized receipt printer for commercial use, which have been received quite positively to our delight.

SA: How has the brand been perceived in the Indian market? What is the scenario of this segment in the country? How is the market spread across brands?

RP: The scope for printers in the household sector is quite feasible even in the present times. The main problem with the numbers justifying the trend is lack of proper after-sales services and availability of accessories. So, if a printer and cartridge initially cost you Rs 2,000, then the cartridge brought after use is priced at par with the printer. HP is the market leader when it comes to digital imaging segment. The enterprise sector contributes 10 per cent to our revenue in the country, whereas the SME sector contributes 20-25 per cent to the total revenue. The end-solution market share for Epson is 30-35 per cent at present, which is growing on a yearly basis. The Tier I cities are clocking a growth of around 10-15 per cent every year, whereas the Tier II cities like Coimbatore, Bhubaneswar and Udaipur are showing a growth of around 100 per cent, which are staggering figures.

SA: How much do you invest on your marketing plans?

RP: Our main marketing initiative constitutes of ATL activities and also some outdoor road shows. Talking about figures, Epson invests around 10-15 per cent of its total revenue on marketing in the country.

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