Every business student knows about the ‘blade and razor’ model - the idea that when you’re selling razors, you can just about give away the handle because you make your real money on the blades.
Unfortunately, in the world of business technology, it’s not quite that simple.
However, it is true that you can make more money and serve your customers better by focusing on consumables.
We’re talking about printers, and we’re talking about profit. When you sell the label, receipt, barcode, and form printers your clients need, you should also be selling the supplies that make those devices useful.
Finding the right hardware for your customer should be the beginning of an ongoing relationship in which you provide the right support and supplies as needed. In economic terms, you’ll be tying the aftermarket to the platform.
The best example of this high-return strategy is media: the material that printers turn into labels, receipts, forms, and more. Many business-class printers use ink, toner, or ribbon, and they all consume media. What’s more, that media – used for things like barcode labels, wristbands, receipts, and forms – is often specialised.
Over time, media costs can surpass the initial cost of the device. Here are some numbers to think about:
Desktop 4x6 label printer
Initial cost of printer: £290
Lifetime duty cycle: 250,000 labels
Media cost per label: 12 pence
Lifetime media cost: £3,000
Industrial 1x3 label printer
Initial cost of printer: £1900
Lifetime duty cycle: 500,000 labels
Media cost per label: .004
Lifetime media cost: £2000
Mobile receipt printer
Initial cost of printer: £310
Lifetime duty cycle: 200,000 receipts
Media cost per label: .015
Lifetime media cost: £3000
As you can see, the cost of print media is substantial, which means you should position yourself as the expert who makes that media available.
Those figures, multiplied by the install base in your accounts, is revenue for you. If you placed the device with the customer in the first place you’ve got the inside track for selling media over the life of the device; if you didn’t, now is the time to let your clients know that you’re the best source for their media needs.