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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I’ll take Manhattan! - Shaun Visits The Big Apple, Gauges The Future

By Shaun Meany
President, The PEiR Group

Last week I traveled to the Big Apple to meet with some of our members and attend Canon’s ImagePROGRAF Reseller Roundtable. I took some time to walk this great city and see for myself if "the city that never sleeps" was awake or not in terms of new construction around town.

I was surprised to see so many open lots with nothing being built on them. Reprographers in Gotham tell me that many projects had been put on hold for a variety of reasons - the biggest and most obvious one being a lack of funding.

It floored me. Here I was in the financial center of America and things were basically standing still. An exaggeration, maybe, but it was a matter of perception - the financial capital of the world finally appeared to be asleep.

The Canon Roundtable was interesting, an event Canon hosts in conjunction with the US Open Tennis Championships in Queens, NY. It was great to meet with some of Canon’s top resellers and learn what they are doing to be successful in their respective markets during these challenging economic times. Canon let us in on some of their new market share statistics and they confirmed that Canon is serious about large format.

They are, it seems, quickly taking market share from HP and Epson in the aqueous inkjet large format market space.

Back out on the town, I had to resist the urge to hold a finger in the air to see which way the financial winds were going to blow. We're in a waiting game, I think, but there is an underlying sense of optimism that things will pick up once money starts flowing again.

PEiR members are struggling with the reality that they can't be focused solely on AEC - still. This confuses me. You don't have to look far to see that the people who are doing the best in these stagnant times are the ones who are out there hustling new business, owners networking and mining every last dime out of connections made at social networking functions and pre-established business contacts.

Others are streamlining their pricing model, removing every last barrier that would make a customer say "Hmm, I dunno..." and offering "Read the Meter" solutions charting a company's use of services at the beginning of the month and end of the month and billing them once for everything in between.

It's clean and it's working, particularly as businesses are watching every penny and can't afford to spend more time than they have to accounting for them.

There are some other trends developing in the market... we'll talk about them in the days to come.

In the meantime, stay in touch and let us know how you're doing.



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