To know more about its partners’ resellers and make them more visible Konica Minolta is coming out with a program named the ‘Inner Circle Program’
When Konica Minolta set-up its India business in 2010 it supposedly stimulated the production printing market, which last year grew by 5%. Today, the Japanese firm leads the professional production printing market in the country with 51% share. With even less than two percent market share three years back, today Konica Minolta has garnered a market share of 20% in Office segment out of which color commands 29% and monochrome 19%. The Vendor’s business portfolio consists of production printers, A3 printers and A4 printers.
Konica Minolta’s A3 printers go mostly into SMBs rather than enterprise — it does approximately 30% of its business with SMEs. With 110 partners the Japanese firm is in the process of strengthening its partners’ capability to offer higher value rather than just promoting a box, and is helping them transition towards solutions and services — the firm started working on this area last year.
“We have many solutions which can be deployed by our partners directly and are supported by us. This is an area where we are trying to work on,” says V. Balakrishnan, EGM Marketing, Konica Minolta Business Solutions India.
When it comes to A4 printers apart from introducing more products in this category Konica Minolta plans to launch products for the enterprise segment too.
“In A4 we will continue to strengthen our enterprise models. We see that a combo of A3 and A4 are very crucial for meeting SME and enterprise requirements. There are lot of SMEs who may not need certain capabilities of A3 devices, and this we have made sure to keep in mind and offer them the products accordingly in enterprise model. And as space is an issue for many SMEs, strengthening A4 is very important,” explains Balakrishnan.
Today, Konica Minolta does sales through its channel partners who further push the products into the market through their own resellers. But the drawback here, Balakrishnan informs, is the invisibility of these resellers to Konica Minolta. The vendor wants to work on these resellers and make them more visible and give more value to them.
This, Konica Minolta wants to do through a program named the ‘Inner Circle’. Through this the vendor hopes to rope-in resellers into the program which is expected to open more opportunities for these resellers.
“At the end of the day they are promoting my brand,” explains Balakrishnan, “but today they don’t get the benefits of promoting my brand. Once we create this ‘Inner Circle program’ in A4 we will extend it to our partners’ resellers, and retail shops. We do bit of retailing branding (in 1300 shops in India who are our partners’ resellers).”
Covering 140 cities, the channel partners number just 30 due to its small volumes of business. The Company’s focus is more on building a strong network of people who see value in promoting Konica Minolta brand.
Growing 25% in revenues last year, Balakrishnan informs they continue to remain #1 in office Color A3, #3 in monochrome and has increased its market share in monochrome. He feels there are gaps where they need to fill in, and expand into more areas for coverage, which it will do thorough its partners. Hence is trying to develop its second-tier system and is looping in their resellers too.
The popular belief is that people are migrating fromA3 to A4. Balakrishnan says otherwise. He explains that as more people move towards work group they will migrate to A3 because of its capabilities, this is why enterprises are migrating towards it. “The low-end A3 devices are far more economical to operate than an A4 device. People with decent volume of 2000-3000 a month go for an A3 inkjet rather than an A4 inkjet. Today, thanks to convergence of technologies certain capabilities you require are available in alternate forms,” he adds.
He further adds that inkjet is growing thanks to tanks, lower cost etc. and people are adopting it. But laser is still an issue, but A4MFP part is growing. “You would continue to see MFP increasing its share because of its ability to multitask,” he says.
Verticals targeted by Konica Minolta include SMBs, government, Jobbers and education. Though it’s present in enterprise it’s not a focus segment at the moment.