Epson combines print with sprint: partners with Usain Bolt in Europe

Epson is looking to boost its prominence as a brand and build awareness of its cartridge-free EcoTank printers. Usain Bolt will be the face of Epson’s brand campaign in Europe with the slogan of “Just Fill and Chill” for up to three years of cartridge-free “no-hassle printing”


The surge in home printing due to remote working

The surge in home printing as a result of remote working looks set to continue as more companies postpone a full return to the office. Quocirca research carried out in October 2021 across the UK and US shows that 63% of respondents what to continue mixing home and office working. The majority (58%) report that their productivity has increased since working from home with a further 35% saying they are as productive working from home as in the office.

This is creating the need for more cost effective and efficient technology choices in the home and office. Printing is one area where there are opportunities to lower costs, improve productivity and reduce environmental impact.

According to Quocirca’s latest research 35% have purchased a new printer to support home working over the past year. Over the course of the pandemic, home print volumes have risen – Quocirca’s forthcoming Home Printing Study, shows that 63% of remote workers have increased home printing of business documents over the past year. Additionally, 40% are using a subscription ink service – with a further 43% wanting to use one.

For many, the need to continue to print documents relates to a requirement to maintain paper records, finding paper documents easier to work with and having paper documents to work against while having something else on the screen at the same time. Quocirca research has also shown that digital fatigue and a preference for paper documents are some reasons why people print at home – in addition to printing for educational purposes.

At the same time, many buyers are becoming more environmentally conscious of their printing habits and seeking suppliers with evidence of strong sustainability credentials in their corporate values, together with solutions that will help users minimise their personal environmental footprint.

Sustainable printing with EcoTank technology

Seizing this immediate market opportunity for sustainable and cost-effective home printing, Epson is aiming to reinforce its brand message in this space and raise awareness of its EcoTank range.

EcoTank printers use Heat-Free Technology to deliver a range of benefits over laser and thermal inkjet technology. Instead of cartridges, an EcoTank printer features a large ink tank that is filled with ink from the included ink bottles. Printers are supplied with enough ink to print up to 14,000 pages out of the box.. This reduces running costs and time-consuming manual interventions involved in frequently changing cartridges.

In addition, Epson’s Micro Piezo Heat-Free Technology also lowers energy consumption and has less need for replacement parts.  Epson estimates it saves customers, up to 90% on printing costs.

According to Epson, over 60 million EcoTank high-capacity ink tank printers have been sold worldwide since their launch in 2010. The announcement of the brand partnership with Usain Bolt coincides with the launch of Epson’s new EcoTank range, which includes both single and multi-function A4 printers. These are targeted at home and small/home office users.

Ink Subscription with ReadyPrint

As the Quocirca research quoted above shows, ink subscription services are increasing in popularity, offering the convenience of automated ink delivery to customers before supplies run out. Epson ReadyPrint detects when ink begins to run low and replacement ink bottles or cartridges are shipped automatically, so customers never have to worry about running out of ink. Epson claims that ReadyPrint brings customers savings of up to 90% on print costs.

Epson’s ReadyPrint EcoTank offering comprises three different price plans for mono and colour printing, with the price based on monthly print volumes. The plans include the use of an EcoTank printer and range from a set number of pages per month to unlimited printing. They start at around €6.99 per month for 300 monochrome prints and range up to €14.99 for subscribers  wanting unlimited colour printing. Customers can change their plan as needed. Printers are also covered against breakdowns during the period of the contract, providing both convenience and peace of mind.

For customers with Epson WorkForce and Expression Home printers, Epson offers ReadyPrint Flex. There are three price plans to help with a variety of printing needs starting from less than 2 a month. With ReadyPrint Flex, customers choose a set number of printed pages per month (€1.99 for 30 pages, €2.99 for 50 pages or €4.99 for 100 pages) and unused pages can be rolled over for 2 months.

Through subscription-based services like this, Epson believes it can capture the needs of an increasingly diverse market and continue to improve convenience and customer satisfaction.  It also can steer customers away from third-party inks and cartridges, which Epson believes can lead to poor quality output and premature equipment failure in some cases.

Elevating the Epson brand

Riding the wave of the boost in home printing is key for Epson, as they look to elevate their brand in this space and drive increased awareness, consideration and ultimately sales.

In a highly commoditised market, Epson is playing to its strengths – specifically how EcoTank technology can reduce running costs, lower environmental impact and boost productivity and efficiency. With remote working set to stay, this is the ideal time to build awareness of Epson EcoTank printers and may well have an impact on consideration across businesses too, as office workers also become more influential in business technology procurement.

Epson is well positioned to drive further mindshare in the market, particularly due to its mature and ongoing commitment to sustainability across its company. The campaign’s creative leads with messages of cost-saving and ease of use. However, in launch publicity, Bolt points to shared values around building better futures that help communities grow and prosper. As Epson aims to underline its ESG credentials and commitment to future sustainability, aligning with a personality with the recognition and affection with which Bolt is regarded is a bold and positive move that is refreshing in the print industry.

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