Mr. Yunyong Muneemongkoltorn, Managing Director of Epson (Thailand) Company Limited, reveals that, "In 2020, Thailand's gross domestic product contracted by 6.1% because of severe impacts from COVID-19. As a result, consumption and investments in the private sector shrank with many shops and companies going out of business. Supply chains of import-dependent firms came to a halt. However, in the face of COVID-19 impacts, the shift towards digital economy has accelerated giving positive factors and new opportunities to Epson. Our cost has reduced thanks to increased use of online selling platforms. We have seen the manufacturing sector investing more in AI technology and automation system, the business sector leaning towards local manufacturers and supply chains more, and state as well as private hospitals increasingly integrating digital devices to their service process such as printing color labels for medicines. In addition, we have seen the massive emergence of one-person businesses and freelancers, including those providing photo-printing services. So, Epson sales were affected far less than expected".
"During the past year, Epson's robotic arms, label printers, T-series multipurpose enterprise-level printers, inkjet photocopiers, and printers for minilab business have been doing well. On the other hand, receipt printers, projectors and dot matrix printers, which mainly target business organizations, educational institutes, hotels, and retailers, saw lower sales as their customers had to suspend operations or services in 2020. Regarding ink tank printers, Epson has stayed on as the market leader with 43% market share. Its online sales soared in 2020 from the previous year. In projector market that shrank by 22% in 2020, Epson has also remained the market leader with 33% market share".
"Although 2020 was by no means a comfortable year, Epson had conducted marketing activities throughout the year to stimulate sales and maintain brand recognition. In all, more than 200 activities were conducted. Among them were online seminars, promotions on Epson website and social media as well as leading online marketplaces, CSR events, road shows, sponsorships for partner events, free one-month trials with Epson products, and advertisements and promotional materials via partners' online channels," Mr. Yunyong continues.
On business directions for 2021, Mr. Yunyong says, "Key factors that will affect Epson businesses are politics and COVID-19 outbreak. If the situation improves with Thais' comprehensive access to COVID-19 vaccine, the country's GDP will likely rebound to a positive zone with government investments bouncing back in the latter half of this year, tourism recovering, and educational institutes resuming their on-site activities. Epson is now making preparations for the situation by actively implementing strategies to tap further into B2B market. Our firm has already undergone organizational restructuring and overhauled work process, enhanced the potential of our distributor network, and expanded value proposition on various aspects so as to improve customer satisfaction and experiences. We expect our growth rate to return to 10%-plus zone this year".
"Regarding revamped organizational structure and work process, we have expanded our B2B sale teams both in Bangkok and provinces. We have even set up a special team for Japanese corporate clients. Likewise, we have boosted our B2B service team for distributor development. Not only that we have raised the number of distributors specializing in B2B market, but we have also trained existing distributors to ensure they can tap into B2B market. On Value Proposition, we have continued launching new products to the market in order for organizations of all sizes to get the solution that best suits their needs. Moreover, we have conducted both online and offline marketing activities to better reach new customers and new markets. Importantly, we will go ahead with our efforts to disrupt our business model for inkjet printers so as to answer to corporate clients' needs more accurately," he adds.
Mr. Yungyong continues that, "A decade ago, Epson disrupted its own inkjet printer technology with the launch of ink tank. The disruptive technology penetrates every product line of Epson from small printers, to enterprise-level printers, and to professional printers that serve several industries. Thanks to the move, our customers' printing cost reduces. They can also save on electricity and become friendlier to the environment. That technological disruption by Epson has set new standard for the printing industry across the world and triggered a new S-Curve for its business. Today, Epson has the biggest range of ink tank printers in the market. They deliver both black-and-white and color prints with quality and speed that rival laser printers. This year, Epson is going to disrupt printer business again by switching the business model from sale-oriented to the provision of comprehensive printing services".
"Last year, we launched 'Epson EasyCare 360' to present device-lease service packages to Epson WorkForce customers who need to handle a large volume of printing jobs all the time. Epson EasyCare 360' is designed to compete against photocopiers, offering customers opportunities to control their printing cost and avoid the hassle of keeping an ink stock. Subscribers to Epson EasyCare 360 get ink deliveries from Epson, which calculates timely replacements based on the number of printed pages, as well as on-site repair service. In addition, we introduced Epson EasyCare Mono to provide device-lease service plus free ink at a flat monthly fee to Epson EcoTank M-series customers. We install printers at the offices of Epson EasyCare Mono subscribers, provide them with device-usage training, and deliver basic help over an online system. Both Epson EasyCare 360 and Epson EasyCare Mono have won warm response. So, Epson has decided to further disrupt its business model for all printer categories. Instead of focusing on selling the devices, we now place an emphasis on providing printing services,"
"Our survey among corporate clients show that most companies are most worried about the cost per page of color printing, print quality and maintenance services respectively. Recognizing their concerns, we have now launched 'Epson EasyCare 360 Mao Mao' to let subscribers print up to 120,000 color or black-and-white pages or for up to 24 months, with on-site maintenance services and a direct help line that responds within two hours. Subscription fees start from just Bt790 a month. At the end of the subscription, they also get the printers used during the package for free".
"On top of embracing a disruptive business model so as to constantly keep pace with customers' needs and behaviors, we have been developing Epson Virtual Solutions Center for B2B customers not just in Thailand but also in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Pakistan that are under Epson Thailand's supervision. This center aims to familiarize users with Epson's technologies and B2B solutions online. There are various technologies or solutions for specific industry or business, for example sustainable technologies, digital printing, retailing, education, manufacturing, public health and office. In the next phase, the center will also create a special zone for home users so that they can explore products, talk to salespersons online and real-time, and receive all services they would usually get from in-store experiences. The first phase of Epson Virtual Solutions Center will be launched in this April," Mr. Yunyong concludes.