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Canon announces New Innovative Channel Initiatives
April 2009 Edition
  Canon has come up with a number of new innovative channel initiatives. The company is, thus, redefining its strategy for channel partners, overcoming the challenges of the current economic recession. For 2009, Canon wants to bank on their edge. Canon is ensuring that the company and their channel partners can lead the printing industry to profitability. The company is, therefore, planning on introduction of special schemes to enhance the productivity of the company’s partners. V. P. Sajeevan, Assistant Director, CSP (Consumer System Products) division, Canon India, shares the company’s channel plans with VARIndia.
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  By VARIndia Correspondent
  Canon announces New Innovative Channel Initiatives 

What are your major plans for the AMJ quarter? How will you achieve the same?
We will be focussing on consumer market during this quarter. There have been some key growth drivers that have helped us achieve a formidable position in the digital imaging industry in India. The home printing segment is growing at a faster rate today. There is huge market potential in this segment. Some of the other key growth drivers are Canon Premium Partner engagement programmes, increased thrust on corporate business, engagement with Canon-empowered partners, improved and increased level of service support, customer engagement through experiential marketing and increased and consistent brand visibility through various advertising and marketing initiatives.

We are looking at the consumers who require printers for school projects, home printing. Printers would be an integral part of the family and brand choices would be made with more emotional attachment to the product segment and aesthetics would play an important consideration. Canon’s PIXMA range of single-function and multifunctional devices would be a fit for this segment with functionalities like picolitre advantage, FINE printing, Chromalife 100 ink, auto image-fix, etc. During this quarter, we will also look at laser printers for home usage. With the election coming closer, we do see a vast market for printers during this time.

Do you have any new plans for the channel partners?
At Canon, we partner with the best people and believe in overall partner excellence. We have a number of plans for this year, which include quarterly schemes wherein we offer huge differential in our margins for partners to keep them motivated. Canon plans to aggressively link all secondary channel partners through Partner Excellence Programme – Secondary (PEP-SY). This programme will help incentivize partners and be connected directly.

Given the recession, are you planning to redefine your strategy for channel partners to overcome these challenging times?
Canon is pumping a good amount of money despite recession. An initiative to give cautious customers the opportunity to experience products before making purchase decisions is BIBLE (Before I Buy Live Experience) for customers, wherein Canon is investing heavily into BTL (demos, display, POS) and ATL for specific activities. Retail initiatives to include D&D (Demo & Display) programme to generate greater visibility for the Canon brand – this increasingly benefits the retailer – Canon comes out with quarterly schemes. For 2009, our focus is Canon GMOL (Gain More out of Left) where “We Dare” and we want to bank on our edge.

How are you going to tap the Indian printing market in 2009?
Canon will primarily drive on laser printer category for this year 2009. Under laser printer category, today Canon is the only company in the industry offering an entry-level printer with full toner capacity which truly gives value for money. The focus is on villages seeing the education and health segment growing in these areas. We have an entry-level A4 scanner specially designed for villages. These can even scan A3 size papers. However, this does not take us away from the premium market as Canon has unique hi-end products with high toner capacity.

What is your market share?
Canon currently holds 20-per cent market share in the inkjet printer segment and 18-per cent in laser printer segment. The year 2008 witnessed the Consumer System Products division of Canon achieving phenomenal success and growth. With a strong presence across all product categories in this segment, i.e. printers, projectors, scanners and AIOs, the CSP division was the second-largest contributor to Canon India’s revenues. Our goal this year is to grow at 30 per cent over last year.

How will you achieve the desired market share?
Canon has a complete range of hi-tech products to cater to the market. Every year, Canon spends a huge amount on R&D activities to improve their products further and to cater the growing demands of the customers.

We will invest in training and educating the channel partners. Several schemes would be rolled out to boost sales and also keep the motivation level high. We also intend to increase participation in exhibition to showcase our range of products to the audience at large. We also have the DND (Display and Demo) scheme wherein our experts at various image lounges assist in selecting the right product, the POS at these image lounges help enhance the overall consumer experience. The Canon Image Lounges are a touch and try zone with no pressure to buy.

Canon is not planning to reduce on its A&P activities; it will plan and roll out unique ATL and BTL plans.

How many channel partners are you currently working with? Do you have any plans to increase the channel base?
Canon has 101 city distributors, 3,000 resellers and 2,500 retailers. Canon products are available in over 300 towns in India. Around 85 per cent of the Canon’s channel partners sell all these products. They have an integrated product offering. The offerings range from cameras to printers. In fact, Canon is positioned better vis-à-vis the competitors as we have both the cameras and the photo printers. And not only this, in both the categories we are one of the leaders.

Our focus this year would be on non-metro market. We would aim at developing a channel base out there. Along with that, we also plan to replicate the “Print City” campaign which was successfully carried out in cities like Guwahati, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Indore and Kochi. This time, we plan to execute this campaign in the upcoming cities like Pune, Ahmedabad, etc. This would reinforce our focus on regional markets.

How important are Tier II & III markets for you?
Canon had launched its regional outreach programmes across the country – Amchi Mumbai, Humari Delhi, Namma Bengaluru and Namma Chennai. The projects were launched to create better connect with the customers in these regions. This year, we are focussing on non-metro markets and we will be executing our “Print City campaign in Pune, Ahmedabad, etc.

What are the growth opportunities for you?
Our goal this year is to achieve 30-per cent growth over the last year. Canon sees a great opportunity in the domestic market because of infrastructural development and health. Demand for peripherals is increasing day by day and the industry has witnessed huge growth during 2008. There is a lot of potential and latent demand in the PC peripheral market in India, which will steadily rise after the demand from tier-III and tier-IV cities also picks up. Therefore, we aim to explore these markets and increase our market share. Canon is highly optimistic of exploring these markets.

What is your USP?
Canon’s technological excellence differentiates it from the rest of the players. Technologies include revolutionary PGR (Pigment Reaction technology), Colour Optimization and many more. Canon has introduced technologies which will focus on minimizing wastage, thus catering to the cautious mindset of the consumers. Full toner capacity in Canon’s LBP printers & PGR technology provide greater output with lesser costs. Therefore, greater focus is being laid on the laser printer segment which adopts these technologies, thus making it our USP. We do believe that the channel partners should accelerate the process of growth. Therefore, our approach towards the channel partners becomes our USP. At the same time, we aim to keep the partners happy and incentivize each of their activity to maintain a long-term relationship and thereby increase channel profitability.

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