Canon India Pvt Ltd, a 100% subsidiary of Canon Singapore Pvt. Ltd., is a leader in imaging technologies. Canon markets over 200 comprehensive range of sophisticated contemporary digital imaging products and solutions in India. The company today has offices and warehouses in 14 cities across India and employs over 1000 people and over 850 channel partners. Canon India till date has opened over 250 retailer stores accredited as “Image Square” across 100+ cities in the country. In sync with its corporate tagline- ‘Delighting You Always’, reinforced by World class technology, Canon offers an extended product portfolio, including copier MFDs, Managed Document Services, Printers, Document and Cheque Scanners, Digital Cameras, DSLRs, Cinematic Imaging Products catering to the multiple market segments of consumer, SME, B2B, Commercial, Government & PSUs. In an interaction with NCN, Mr. C Sukumaran, Director- Consumer Systems Products and Imaging Communication Products, shares their company’s plans and vision.
What is the current scope of printers in India and what new solutions does Canon plan to provide in this context?
The pandemic has laid the foundation for an entirely new normal that has changed the way people operate; making Work From Home an imperative for several industries. With the entire nation struggling to adapt to this new normal of Work From Home (WFH) and Studying From Home (SFH), the need to have an infrastructure to support this hybrid working environment has propelled the demand for home printers. These changing scenarios have created a need to have high-speed cloud-enabled network printers and Wi-Fi enabled inktank printers that give users the ease to initiate printouts directly from their smartphones and laptops. Additionally, with customers investing more time and effort in capturing photographs and creating memories, we are witnessing a rising interest in home photo-printing. With inkjet printers, studios have also been offering quick photo printing services to customers. We are expecting to see a rise in demand for photo-printers this year. Catering to such needs, our PIXMA G Series has been gaining good response in the market and is widely accepted at home as well as office segments because of its lower running cost and higher return on investment. Canon PIXMA G series printer are the ideal choice for every printing need from business proposals, projects, homework, photographs or recipes. These printers come packed with a wide range of advanced features & functions that aim to boost productivity and help users work more efficiently.
How does the paperless office concept affect the printer business in India in general?
The pandemic has caused serious disruptions across the globe and printing industry is no different. However, we have taken this crisis as an opportunity to innovate our existing business models by digitizing our service mechanisms and thereby offering products and services that are relevant to the current scenario to ensure business continuity in today’s turbulent times. Paperless concept is mainly to do with becoming more responsible towards environment and sustainability. While it is considered cost- effective, it can also make the organization more susceptible to hacking. Moreover, building robust infrastructure that allows consumers to save their data on cloud is in itself very expensive. However, we at Canon India have embraced the changes in printing habits and are thriving as a result. We have ensured that our customers’ needs are being met by engineering devices that are capable of connecting directly to the cloud. We are offering customers with printers that are cost-effective, secured, smart and eco-friendly. The demand for printing is certainly not declining for us as we have embraced the evolving needs of our customers. It is simply a case of seeing it as printing smarter, rather than printing less.
How Canon plans to maintain its position in the market in India amid competition?
Driven by innovation and in sync with our corporate tagline – ‘Delighting You Always’, we, at Canon India, aim to introduce products with superior technological advancements and innovation in all three domains- cost-effectiveness, speed, and ease-of-use. With a strong customer base in India, for both our inkjet and laser businesses, it will be our constant endeavor to boost our presence and enhance top of the mind recall among consumers. In line with the evolving requirements of our customers, we will continue to bring forth products backed by innovation with a ‘full lineup strategy,’ consisting of a range of printers varying from INR 2,525 to –INR 261,279 in the desktop printer category. This is to cater to the diverse needs and different buying capacities of consumers and enterprises. Along with our best-in-class product portfolio, we believe that a strong consumer connect also plays a key role in expanding the business. Through both offline and online outreach campaigns, we aim to reach out to consumers across the country and tap potential markets.
Could you throw some light on the latest Canon printer (inkjet and laser) offerings in India? What are the best performing printers from Canon in India?
In current scenario, consumers are looking for products that are not just affordable but are value-for-money for their printing requirements. It is our consistent effort to design and bring forth products that enable users to get the best quality output and at the same time be economical as well. For instance, our PIXMA G Series has been gaining good response in the market and it is widely accepted at home office because of its lower running cost and higher return on investment. Also, the fact that it is super-efficient as it allows one to print from the ease of their smartphones, mobile tablets and laptops which helps saves time and energy. There has also been a rise in the demand for laser printers in the commercial sector. Aided by the latest technological advancements, we aim to maintain market share in the laser segment with a strategic shift towards high value customers.
After being elevated to the level of Director, what changes and new initiatives have you initiated after taking over as Director and what are in the offing?
We have been able to drive strategic channel expansion with micro distribution model into Tier 2/3 with retail expansion through our experiential PIXMA Zones. Additionally, we have also set out a strong footprint in commercial space with penetration in new verticals along with setting up Mid High channel. From a consumer point of view, we have transformed our communication strategy with thrust on digital, vernacular and genre-specific content to drive amplified user engagement.
What is your retail and channel strategy for the printer portfolio for 2020-21? How do you plan to expand it further?
India is a dynamic market and has an untapped customer base across platforms. For us to continue reaching out to these untapped customers, it is imperative that we leverage every possible medium to market ourselves. Thus, following our belief of delighting our customers, we have invested significantly in developing a sound partner ecosystem that is spread across geographies. We are highly focused to elevate our customer experiences by improving the quality of our products followed by after-sales services. The whole idea is not just to sell printers that are reliable but also to complement that with a healthy and competent after-sales-service. Thus, we are constantly working towards building a strong base in Tier 3/4 markets by expanding and strengthening our channel partner ecosystem to ensure hassle-free availability of our products and services for our customers. For our B2B channel partners who are catering to SOHO/SME/Govt customers, we are helping partners build both scale and competencies in new technologies. At the same time, we are expanding our B2B footprint in this market very rapidly. We are working very closely with SIs and VARs on large projects both in SME and government space. From a retail strategy PoV, we currently have 352 OIC stores and aim to close the year with 520 stores across India along with 144 PIXMA ZONE stores, which we intend to increase to 150 stores end of December 2020.
What initiatives and programs do you plan to update Canon’s channel ecosystem?
Our topmost priority as a brand is to ensure the safety and well-being of our employees, partners, customers, and the community where we live and work. In these unprecedented times, we are taking every possible step to fight this pandemic and help our partners during these tough times. We have organized training sessions for partners and their sales teams to help them better understand the changing trends and how to adjust and cope with the new normal. We are also mindful of our channel partners’ profitability and long-term sustenance. We have been continuously reviewing the distribution and retail structure and actively exploring new business opportunities that will help our channel partners expand their product portfolio. Regional penetration is one of our core focus areas as we want to make our products and services available to the farthest geographies in the country. With a strong network of 100+ distributors and 3000+ channel partners across the length and breadth of the country, we aim to further consolidate our regional presence.