By Mike Garofola, senior marketing manager, channel and education for OKI Data Americas
Dealers understand that the initial hardware purchase is the beginning of a long-term customer relationship and the start of a recurring revenue stream. The post-hardware purchase of consumables provides the real profit and margins for dealers and can generate recurring revenue on a regular basis. Customers will continue to purchase toner, image drums, media — and more — throughout the life of their printers. There are a few tactics for dealers to consider as an opportunity to increasing revenue from consumables.
Establishing A Customer Contract
At the start of any customer relationship, it is recommended that dealers establish a contract with their end users. The contract will ensure that customers are purchasing consumables directly from them over a defined period of time. Sometimes customers will look to purchase remanufactured or “compatible” consumables from third-party organizations because the up-front cost appears to be significantly less. However, these consumables come with a lot of risk. Original equipment manufacturer (OEM) consumables produce greater quality output, ensure optimum product performance, and guarantee warranty coverage. (Many manufacturers cannot guarantee how compatible consumables will perform in their printers.) By explaining the “buyer beware” threat from compatible consumables, customers will be more inclined to sign contracts with dealers and purchase directly from them. According to a recent post by Ken Stewart, director of the Photizio Group managed print service (MPS) advisory service, the number of pages managed under MPS contracts continues to rise. In the end, the contract protects the dealer from losing consumable sales to competitors and builds a stronger, more trusting relationship with the end user.
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