The fifth “P” in marketing consumables

By : |December 30, 2005 0

BANGALORE: That consumables bring in higher margins to vendors and channels is a given fact. To make sure that consumable vendors get a higher return on their products, a large number of these companies are banking on the fifth P- Packaging.

Besides the usual 4 Ps – price, product, promotion and place, packaging is used not just to distinguish the consumable product in the market more effectively but also in fighting counterfeit products.

The total computer consumables market in India that includes printing supplies like cartridges, inks, paper, memory cards, tapes, CDs, DVDs and storage devices is estimated at around Rs 3000 crore today. To put some perspective on the value of the consumable segment, take a look at HP’s printing supplies business. In 2004, HP’s printing supplies revenues alone contributed approximately $12.1 billion to the company’s overall global revenues.

With the IT retail industry heading for a boom, consumable vendors are realizing the need of good packaging to make their products stand out against competition.

Reinforcing brand identity

“Packaging plays a crucial role in giving an identity to our brand on a cluttered retail shelf. It is more important more in international markets than in India, but is likely to grow as more and more organized retailing comes to India,” said Moser Baer’s Vivek Chaturvedi —VP, International Marketing.

The company has streamlined both its branding as well as its entire packaging to communicate the same message of the quality of the discs. Chaturvedi reckons however, that packaging would play a more crucial role when the product moves to organized retailing.

A company like Wipro ePeripherals, which recently went in for a brand rehaul is also banking on its packaging to reflect the company’s new “Bloom” brand identity. Raghavendra Prakash, the company’s chief marketing officer said, “ Packaging is the first customer touch point and it is important to ensure that the packaging has distinguishing colors. It should also communicate the product advantages, usage and price. The disclosures on the package are very important. Product specifications and warranty is another important disclosure we have on our consumables packaging,” he said.

Printing major Canon’s national sales manager, VP Sajeevan, said that the company sold consumables as per the pack size. “With the help of proper packing, we ensure that goods are delivered to our channel partners in an intact form since they are very small commodities.”

Fighting piracy

Besides helping companies cut through the clutter in the market, packaging is a powerful weapon to fight the grey market and the menace of counterfeit products.

Using non-genuine cartridges is a big loss to organizations like ours and to the government as well. In this market of approximately Rs 3000 crore, the Government loses Rs 500 crore to the ex-chequer,” said Sajeevan.

Moser Baer has gone in for content changes in design on paper parts and the disc label. Apart from this, the company has also moved to moved to international standards by adopting aspects like color OPS/OPP which is very difficult for other local or international cheap/smaller manufacturers to copy.

The most common method used by consumable companies to fight piracy is by the use of holograms, 3D stickers and color shifting logos on cartridge. These help customers in making sure that the product he or she is purchasing is a genuine product.

In a unique initiative to fight the problem, printing majors in Europe have come together to form an alliance called Imaging Consumables Coalition of Europe (ICCE). This association has also put in place a program for partners, that include providing a ICCE logo to all certified resellers and distributors for use in marketing material, packaging and also use of holograms.

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