Ricoh is bolstering its laser printer range as it looks to challenge rivals, such as HP, in the business colour market.

A new range of colour capable products has been launched by Ricoh to encourage new resellers to diversify their laser printer portfolios. The new devices offer resellers a deep discount structure and the opportunity to cash-in on new after-sales revenue streams.

Aggressively priced to offer resellers competitive margins compared with both competing colour and mono printers, all of the new products offer cost effective colour output for a small premium on mono prices, enabling IT channel partners to boost their consumables revenue beyond that of mono cartridge sales. Ricoh is hoping to attract new channel partners through offering them more opportunities to sell single vendor solutions to capture and service a greater volume of print output.

"The new additions to Ricoh's colour printer range present resellers with significant opportunities to increase service and support revenues, especially where the machines are sold in to replace mono printers," commented newly appointed senior product manager, Helen Berentzen. "They also enable the dealers to benefit from capturing both the colour and mono output of organisations through the same device, whilst providing the customer with the benefit of a lower TCO."

The CL1000N, CL2000, CL3100DN and CL7100 are launching to compliment Ricoh's CL5000 and CL7000 printers. The new units offer users a variety of solutions ranging from 8 to 35ppm in colour and 16 to 38ppm mono output. Sophisticated standard features are present throughout the range and are further complimented by comprehensive upgrade options.

An additional opportunity for the channel lies in the provision of service and support, an area that Berentzen is keen for Ricoh's new partners to buy into:

"Providing options and features is one thing, but helping customers to maximise the potential benefits that these devices can bring is where resellers can add real value. Our own research has shown that there is a massive requirement for end user education to allow businesses to realise these advantages and we want to work with our channel partners to tackle this issue head on."

"In many cases a large proportion of the functionality of peripherals is not used, particularly where software and finishing options are concerned," Berentzen continued. "For example, the new Ricoh printers include a facility called PDF Direct Print that enables users to print PDF documents without having to re-configure the printer settings. However, unless users are made aware of this facility they are not able to benefit and the device will not help the business to become more efficient."

The devices include desktop and stand alone printers and are the first of a series of new products that will be launched over the next 12 months. Should the company's proposed acquisition of Hitachi Printing Solutions be completed in October, Ricoh will be able to further strengthen it's offerings across the printer range.

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