HP’s new program will work like a phone contract, whereby users pay a fixed monthly plan to be sent cartridges for printing.
QZ.com reported on the recently-introduced program, Instant Ink, which forms part of the HP’s effort "to get people to subscribe to printer ink" and in turn locking them into "making a purchase every month by default".
CEO Meg Whitman is said to have "enthusiasm" for the program, with printing still forming 22% of HP’s revenue, but QZ.com pointed out that the program "requires that users invest a lot of trust in HP", as it works by the user’s internet-connected printer telling HP "how many pages they’re printing every month", with them
sending HP inkjet cartridges "as needed".
HP’s site for Instant Ink in turn notes that "ink, shipping and cartridge recycling are included in plans", with the pricing based on "pages printed, not cartridges used", with no annual fees and the ability to "change or cancel plans anytime". The Instant Ink cartridges are also said by the OEM to have "more ink than standard HP ink cartridges, so you’ll replace them less often".
In financial terms, three plans demonstrate the program’s scale. The first, occasional printing, is $2.99 a month or $36 a year for 50 pages, which HP states saves $84 over a year in comparison to spending $120 a year on standard cartridges (based on printing 600 ISO pages in one year). The second, moderate printing, comes in at $4.99 a month, $60 a year for 100 pages a month (or 1,200 a year), and offers a supposed saving of $180 a year in comparison to spending $240 on standard cartridges. The final model, frequent printing, comes in at $9.99 a month and $120 a year, for 300 pages a month or 3,600 pages a year. This comes in at a saving of $600 a year, compared to the standard cartridges purchases adding up to $720 a year. All of the models are based on the "estimated street price" of $35 for a set of cartridges.
Likening this approach to the "telecoms’ model of pricing", the website notes that "additional pages" would cost more for users, so if 'user behavior for printing follows that of telecom customers, HP Instant Ink customers could end up overpaying", by either going for a small plan they overspend on, or a large plan they don’t fully utilize.
The site noted that the "added convenience" to be found in the program may "be enough to lure customers who care less about price" into joining the program, and if HP can convince users that the program "is worth" the convenience, "it might make a difference to the company’s bottom line", but the growth of the paperless office, and the increase in tablet use might mean Instant Ink "may merely allow HP to decline a little more slowly".
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Source: HP launches new Instant Ink programme
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