Epson announced Wednesday the addition of its new WorkForce Pro C series of business-class printers to its ImageWay Partner Program, enabling solution providers to add the printers to their list of Epson offerings for small-to-medium-sized businesses.
The new WorkForce Pro C series is comprised of six models: the single function WP-4010, WP-4023 and WP-4090 and the multifunction WP-4520, WP-4533 and WP-4590. All models are said by Epson to consume only 70 percent of the power used by competing laser printers, and to reduce total printing costs by up to 50 percent with features such as automatic double-sided printing and extra-large cartridge capacity.
As products offered through the company’s ImageWay Partner Program, the WorkForce Pro C series will be sold exclusively through the channel. Kathleen Nguyen, Senior Product Manager for Business Imaging at Epson, told CRN that resellers’ reach within the commercial channel bodes well for such a business-centric product.
"These are not available in your regional stores like Best Buy, Office Max and alike, because we find business customers buy mostly from value added resellers," Nguyen said.
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And to arm solution providers with the knowledge they need before approaching potential users, Epson said it’s offering all qualified “Business Printer” partners a new WorkForce Pro C Series printer to use in their own offices. This way, partners not only have a demo machine to show prospective buyers but, perhaps more importantly, will feel as familiar as possible with the product they’re selling.
"We want them to be able to use the printer, be able to love it, and be able to believe in it to sell it," Nguyen said.
Before this week’s launch of the WorkForce Pro C series of printers, Epson’s ImageWay Partner Program included two product categories: projectors and document scanners. Now, with business printers being added to the mix, Epson is hoping to both expand its current partners’ offerings and to on-board new partners to support the newly added devices.
"Epson in the U.S. already has the ImageWay Partner Program for projectors and document scanners, so we have a lot of resellers that are selling those products for us," Nguyen said. "Now, these partners can qualify for the new Business Printer line and can sell those products. We also have new partners that we are recruiting that can sell all three types of products and they can get access to our ImageWay Partner Program portal for promotions, for marketing collateral and training material. So basically what we are doing is adding the Business Printer to our program."
Nguyen told CRN that Epson is looking to recruit "several hundred" new partners over the next six to eight months. Both existing and prospective partners can apply to sell the new printers via the ImageWay Partner Portal.
Epson is adamant about supporting its partners from both a product and support standpoint, Nyugen said. On the product side, all participating partners will receive demo units, product training, marketing collateral and annual roadmap updates to stay up-to-speed on the company’s newest offerings. On the support side, partners receive maximum benefits with no minimum purchase and a dedicated technical support line to field any service-related questions.
Nyugen could not comment on exact margins for Epson Business Printer partners, but said they were "very attractive."
Epson has plans to bulk up its channel presence in the printer space even more extensively this fall, with the launch of a new Managed Print Services program, Nyugen said. The company will offer partners remote management services on Epson printers, tracking cartridge levels and offering technical support as-needed. "We will basically manage the entire operation for them [partners]," she said.