Printer arena sees relationships shift

Printer arena sees relationships shift

COMPETITION is hotting up within the printer distribution channel as demand rises and distributors sign new deals with vendors.

Renaissance Brands and Epson are cosying up as the distributor has opted for a closer relationship with the vendor, after parting ways with Fuji Xerox. Fuji Xerox, meanwhile, has awarded exclusive distribution rights to Tech Pacific.

Both Renaissance and Fuji Xerox agree the split was inevitable as the vendor was after a distributor with a greater logistical reach, which did not suit Renaissance’s value-add model.

Meanwhile, Renaissance wanted to strengthen its relationship with Epson, with which it plans to work closely on exclusive marketing initiatives, such as bundling Apple products with printers.

According to Renaissance Brands general manager Mark Dasent, the time had come for the companies to “move on” despite the company’s long relationship with Fuji Xerox — a sentiment reflected by Fuji Xerox country manager Craig Betts.

“Renaissance has done a great job in the past with value-added [offerings], but does not have the focus we want any more.”

Fuji Xerox aims to take advantage of Tech Pacific’s “logistical might”, wide national coverage and bevy of account managers serving a large reseller channel.

“This is a huge opportunity for us to grow,” says Betts, adding that Tech Pacific is also better geared to support the launch of a new range of colour and black and white printers at the end of June.

This includes a new top-end model that Betts says will be the fastest colour printer to date, as well as an entry-level printer aimed at home users, which will be sold though an exclusive retail partner, whose name Betts can not reveal yet.

As the sole print imaging supplier to Renaissance, Epson has gained exclusive access to Renaissance’s Apple resellers, including those focussed on the education sector.

It will market its full range through this channel, but will focus particularly on its new AcuLaser colour printer range, according to Epson’s Peter Melhop, who heads the AcuLaser business unit.

“We have always dealt with Renaissance’s traditional business resellers, but are now expanding to the Apple channel,” he says.

The company has launched a dedicated reseller channel programme around the AcuLaser range, which Melhop says will provide partners with improved margins, rebate structures and marketing support.

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