Power-saving technology ignites interest across a variety of verticals.
Epson Sales is finding growing interest for its inkjet MFPs in Japan thanks in part to a sales model designed to increase interest.
“Smart Charge” is Epson Sales’ method for selling high-speed inkjet MFPs and printers in the Japanese market. Epson Sales is Seiko Epson’s subsidiary responsible for selling to the Japanese market.
According to Yoshiyuki Koda, general manager of Smart Charge MD department, sales promotion division of Epson Sales, there are two main customer benefits of Epson Smart Charge. One is the monetary merit—that is, the cost—and the other is the non-monetary merit, usability.
“In terms of cost, customers have appreciated that it has a great effect on reducing not only the initial cost and printing cost, but also on cost for power,” explained Koda. “In terms of non-monetary merit, the large capacity ink is useful for customers because it requires less replacement and no management effort due to automatic delivery of replacement ink.”
He added that these benefits are based on the strength of Epson’s inkjet technology. The company has independently developed “Heat-Free Technology,” which does not use heat for ink ejection, especially among power-saving piezo-type inkjets.
“We are pursuing the environmentally-friendly printers, highlighting Heat-Free Technology,” said Koda. “We want to inform our customers about ink quality and the quality of PrecisionCore technology.”
Koda revealed three price plans for Smart Charge, comprising an “All-In-One Plan, a basic monthly flat-rate system that includes the device; an “Ink Standard Plan,” where the customer purchases the device and the ink; and a “Counter Charge Plan,” where the customer purchases the device and pays a monthly fee based upon the number of prints.
Since last year, about 20% of users have selected the All-In-One plan, while 40% have selected the Ink Standard Plan, and 40% the Counter Charge Plan.
The sales volume of Smart Charge has not doubled or tripled from the previous year as in fiscal year 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the slowdown, 2020 sales are not expected to fall below the previous year, according to Koda.
“We have received lots of inquiries from customers about the education market which Epson Sales is targeting with the launch of the ‘Academic Plan’ for schools in November 2020,” said Koda.
New products have been added to the Smart Charge sales method this year, including the high-speed LX Series (LX-10050MF/7550MF/6050MF) with copy speeds of 60 to 100 pages per minute (ppm) when printed at A4 horizontal. Smart Charge is also used to sell Epson’s PX series, A3 MFPs with color output speeds of 21 to 25 ppm when printed at A4 horizontal.
The best-selling product is the PX-7000 Series A3 multifunction device. In the LX Series, the 100-ppm high-speed machine is selling well, reported Koda. The newly introduced 60-ppm is also doing well. Industry, education, retail, and health care represent key vertical markets, with education more than doubling in fiscal year 2019.
During the pandemic, Koda revealed that demand for business continuity plan (BCP) measures has increased.
“Awareness of reducing power consumption is increasing, and there is a growing tendency to choose inkjet as a BCP measure for the entire business operation,” he said. “For departments that require printing in the event of a disaster such as a typhoon, we are seeing demand for inkjet MFPs and printers that operate with a UPS [uninterruptible power supply] in the event of power outages.”
Because of the growing demand for BCP measures, the 100-ppm high-speed machine LX-10050MF sold via Smart Charge can operate with a UPS.
Caption: The Epson LX-10050MF
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