Epson reaches out to the SOHO market

Following the lead of Epson America, Inc’s. earlier U.S.-launch, Epson Canada Ltd., today releases Epson’s first-ever all-in-one Stylus CX9400Fax inkjet machine with an automatic document feeder (ADF) to Canada, in its effort to reach out to small office and home office (SOHO) users.

Currently, the CX9400Fax machine is only available in Canada through Staples Business Depot retailers; but by the beginning of next year, it may also be carried at other big box retailers and through Epson distribution partners across the country as well.

Brenda Logan, product manager at Epson Canada, says traditionally, Epson has typically been a strong player within the photo printing space. With today’s Canadian release of the CX9400, Logan says Epson is hoping to target a different vertical market this time around, by focusing its efforts particularly on the SOHO space.

“We tend to be the primary choice for people with photos because of [Epson’s] reputation in the photography world,” Logan said. “Staples is the largest (business products) retailer in Canada and it primarily targets SOHO customers. At Epson, we have a good cost of ink and our ink is durable and can last up to 100 years because of all of the R & D [research and development] that’s put into the ink technology. The CX9400Fax is good for the SOHO customer and also for students who are looking to [process] quick black text documents.”

Brad Hughes, a senior research analyst of hardcopy peripherals at IDC Canada, believes Epson is making a wise move to target this market space.

“We’ve seen a large increase with inkjet [multi-function printers] MFPs with fax capabilities,” Hughes said. “In terms of moving units for small businesses, [the CX9400Fax] is a fast machine with a good price point. It should do well here because majority of small businesses and majority of SOHO customers buy their products at Staples.”

The CX9400Fax comes equipped with print, copy, scan, photo and fax capabilities and also comes with an automatic document feeder to enable ease of use. Also featured on the machine is a 2.5-inch LCD tilt screen that allows users to view and edit documents before print jobs. The machine also comes with one-touch colour copying and scanning capabilities along with an intuitive menu and user interface. When speed is of the essence, the CX9400Fax can print up to 32 pages per minute (ppm) for black and colour text and can also print 4 x 6-inch border-free photos in as little as 26 seconds. The CX9400Fax sells at Staples for a MSRP of $179.99.

Logan says Epson has a dedicated sales force in Canada each with their own territories, who train their respective accounts and retail representatives. In addition, Epson also has what it calls its Weekend Warrior Sales Program to help support its retail channel.

“This is a company that Epson hires to go out to big box retailers on high traffic times to act as an Epson representative,” Logan said. “They then help train customers on the Epson products, they show demos and they also give out samples.”

If all goes well with today’s CX9400Fax release, by next year, Epson may also look to its distribution channel to help with deployment.

“Our distribution channel in Canada is made up of partners which include companies such as Ingram Micro and Synnex, as well as some other smaller distribution partners,” Logan said. “There are some newer ones coming on board with us too.”

While Epson Canada hopes to strengthen its presence in the SOHO space with the launch of today’s product, Logan also mentions that Epson has already started looking at wireless printing solutions as well.

“Partners and customers will probably see something in the next year or two with printers that have some sort of wireless or Wi-fi feature capabilities,” Logan said. “Epson is also looking to get into new markets within Canada such as the scrap booking space to also help strengthen our brand.”

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Maxine Cheung
Maxine Cheung
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