Samsung's Office Automation division will embark on a journey that it hopes will make it a top-tier competitor in the laser printer market by 2009, and color laser will play a big role.
Jay Shears, Samsung's office automation director, said the company now considers itself a third-tier player, back in the pack with vendors such as Brother, Xerox and Minolta. However, by 2007 Samsung plans to be comparable to Lexmark and Epson and within five years compete against industry leaders Hewlett-Packard and Canon. Along the way, Samsung expects to garner at least a 28 percent share of the laser printer market.
Samsung is in the process of instituting a variety of changes, ranging from a new pricing strategy to a brand awareness campaign for consumers, along with its retail and reseller partners to make this forward movement possible.
Samsung will no longer attempt to use low pricing to attract customers. This is a major departure for the company that has always said its products deliver the same features at the lower prices compared to its competitors.
"It is now a person's initial reaction to think Samsung is price driven. Now it is our compelling value that we want to plug. We will not always be taking a price leadership position with all our future products," Shears said, "Instead we will offer value and benefits, such as cost of ownership."
Where the company will retain its low-cost mentality is with cost of ownership. Shears said, Samsung printers will save a consumer money in the long run, so in a way the company will still be a cost leader.
The second major impetus centers on an increased branding effort and in-store promotional capabilities.
"We need to improve our ability to communicate with consumers at retail. This will include more and better POP on the selling floor centered around flash demos displayed on flat-panel monitors," Shears said.
On the reseller side, Samsung intends to offer more solution-based products along with better support and service that will include one year of free in-office service.
An increased Samsung branding effort will also kick off in May with a large campaign centered on the company's new CLP-550, a $699 color laser printer with built-in wireless networking that will sell through retail. The branding campaign's goal is to make people think of Samsung the company, as opposed to individual products, as the answer to any person's printing need, Shears said.