How to Leverage Your Existing Infrastructure with New Product Categories
Three new product categories office print dealers should add to their arsenal today
(...and one to avoid).
All management teams I have been speaking to are looking to make up the revenue gap in their business with the decline in office printing. Pages have been decreasing substantially, but COVID-19 has likely meant we jumped 2-3 years ahead on the decline curve in the last few months. The magic question is: are there any new product categories I can add to my portfolio that leverage my existing infrastructure? Yes, here are three you can add today.
First, let’s take stock of what your core competencies (pillars) are:
- Hundreds (or thousands) of small business customers that know and trust you
- A field service AND INSTALLATION team
- A deep knowledge in financing technology combined with service contracts
My last blog touched on why I don’t think Managed IT Services (MITS) is a great fit for office print dealers. I don’t see that it leverages any of these pillars. Many (most?) of your small business customers are too small to benefit from MITS, AND you don’t have the in-house expertise or infrastructure. Outsourcing doesn’t solve the customer size issue. So, what products can you add TODAY?
This category has mainstreamed with COVID-19, but it will last much longer than the pandemic (hopefully!). Imagine an automated system that can monitor when employees enter and leave the office. How about recording the times and details of guests coming and going? What about temperature verifications of all entrants? These products need installation, some training and periodic maintenance. Can you think of any business that doesn’t need one?
As I’ve walked down city streets over the past few months, it hit me just how bad of a job small retail businesses are doing with advertising themselves. I was on a patio having lunch and looked out at three retail shops that were papered up/closed because of COVID-19, and all I could think is “why the heck don’t they have a video screen scrolling through adverts of their products and services?” 300 people sit on that patio every day. Huh. It's 2020 for goodness sakes! Get a digital screen. These screens need some software, installation, and upkeep. It is more than a $799 Samsung flat screen you buy at Costco. If that was the solution, everyone would have one. Cleartouch Interactive Screens take it one step beyond. Imagine food and coffee shops processing orders while customers wait—just like McDonald’s does today. Make that accessible to your customers.
Yes, Pitney Bowes mailing systems and Zebra label printers have been around forever, but they’ve been given new life with Home Office Workers (HOW). Shopify has added hundreds of thousands of new e-commerce customers since COVID-19 started. The majority of these small businesses send their products in packages across North America using U.S. Mail. The Home Office Worker revolution is well underway. Do HOW workers need a small MFP? Probably. Maybe. But they need A LOT of stuff. What type of bundles of technology do they need? It’s not the one size fits all sale, but a great place to start is working with your small business customers to build out “stacks” of products tailored for the various classifications of HOWs they have.
Of course, like the Shopify reference above, you will need some digital e-commerce presence to facilitate the new offerings. You may self-identify as an office print dealer, but you can come out of that rather small closet as something much more important to your customers (and yes that is a reference to a historic legal moment in America).