Summary: Kodak launches four new printers in South Africa, priced between R799 and R1 499. These printers are only available at Incredible Connection stores and Kodak express stores. Cartridges cost R99 for the black refill and R149 for the colour refill.
The company however reckons this is not an attempt to make up for the slow growth in camera sales, which have been hit by camera phones and tablet devices
Bob Ohlweiler, Kodak’s director and vice president of consumer Inkjet Systems in Europe says this new initiative is merely providing consumers with the opportunity to print their photos and documents on their own printers in the comfort of their homes.
He says the company is just adding yet another element to its business strategy by partaking in the US$45bn industry.
“Kodak has had a piece of printing photos since day one, and as photos have gone from print to digital, what has happened is that people are going to retail but more and more are using Inkjet printers to print them [their pictures and photos] at home as well,” said Ohlweiler.
South Africa in particular has been established as a key market for Kodak as, says Ohlweiler, the company has a strong brand presence here. Ohlweiler believes that Kodak’s brand success in the country may be attributed to the “high level of service that customers receive here”.
The company’s performance has continued to thrive on the local front, and this new printer initiative is expected to set the tone for its uptake through the rest of the continent.
“It’s well known amongst the other emerging markets, like Asia and South America, that South Africa has the busiest and most efficient Kodak express stores,” said Ohlweiler.
You wouldn’t be mistaken for thinking that Kodak is willing to capitalise on this as it hopes to establish itself as the country’s second printer of choice, possibly after HP.
Ohlweiler did however remain mum on the financial investments made to bring this product to the country.
He also highlighted that whilst it may not have any particular targets with regards to gaining market share, “actual figures could be discussed at a later stage”.
More on the printers
The printers which come in four different models and retail from R799- R1 499 are only available at Incredible Connection stores and Kodak express stores.
Ohlweiler says the former retail group was selected because of its “large footprint and customer focused strategy”.
Ohlweiler was quick to highlight that these printers’ unique selling points and competitive advantage is its affordable ink.
“Not only are our printers easy to use but there are cost savings as consumers spend a lot less on the ink refills. Consumers would have to pay R99 for the black refill and R149 for the colour,” he said.
Kodak printers use pigment ink, which is similar to that used in house paint, rather than a dye ink which is used for clothing. Ohlweiler says the pigments ink can last for 100 years if documents and pictures are left unexposed.
For those seeking a more realistic impression of their photography, they will be glad to know that the printers also feature the ability to print in 3-D.
The pictures can be viewed using the usual red and blue lensed 3D glasses to view them. Ohlweiler says this is the only home/office printer on the market to produce 3D quality pictures.