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Should Print Providers Worry About FedEx Office Becoming a Larger Player in the Wide-Format Market?

(October 2012) posted on Mon Oct 15, 2012

Day 9 of our Industry Roundtable Q&A -- our panel weighs in.


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Marco Boer, I.T. Strategies: And, don’t forget, this is not FedEx Office’s first attempt. Under its previous Kinko’s brand, a similar attempt was made – at that time to better amortize the hardware investment and provide a more consistent level of quality. But Kinko’s never put in the investment to drive print volume demand to its central print locations. Today, however, Web-to-print has become a commonly accepted means – and in some cases, corporate-dictated means – to purchase print. Big corporations tend to prefer to deal with big suppliers (for consistency, geographic reach, and volume discount reasons). Time will tell if FedEx Office will be more successful this time around.

BPIC: Another interesting topic making the social-media rounds this summer: Toshiba’s announcement of a National No Print Day, and the Printing Industries of America’s call for its retraction. In the space of just a few days, Toshiba ended up cancelling the day in question. Comments?

Greene: I think more was made of it than should have been, it was probably kind of a silly idea in the first place and of course cancelled as it should have been. Don’t get me wrong, I think Toshiba’s intentions were good. But there are a lot of very positive “green” messages coming from the printing market, so I think the idea of a “no-print day” as a way to celebrate sustainability is misplaced.

Mayhew: To quote the well-known fictional character Homer Simpson, “D’oh!”

Boer: Toshiba America set itself up as a lightning rod for the angst that is pervading the established print industry about its future. What Toshiba should have done is take the opportunity to take it one step further and continue the dialogue. By the way, it’s noteworthy that Toshiba America is the only Japanese copier/printer manufacturer based in California, a state perhaps more aware about environmental issues than most due to its air-pollution problems.

Marx: I think the biggest question for “print” – and in this case I mean the commercial printers of the world – is, what is their plan? What will they become as the Internet and social-media market explode? How do they stay relevant? One fascinating figure that came out of a recent SGIA survey was that zero percent of our respondents now use direct mail to attract new customers. This is a true paradigm shift in the industry.

This is Day 9 of our Industry Roundtable Q&A. For Day 8, click here.


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