HP today launched the HP Print Station, marking a new era in digital printing that is also a first to market in South Africa. HP Print Stations are HP branded stores focusing on service and convenience that will primarily address small and medium enterprise customers and will cater for a wide range of printing applications.
The HP Print Stations will be operated by reseller partners that address a broad range of customer segments in South Africa and will in time be present in cities all over the country.
"In South Africa, HP Print Stations are the next step in our Print 2.0 vision for making printing relevant and empowering as content increasingly moves from the desktop to the web," says Thierry Boulanger, HP IPG country manager.
The Print 2.0 strategy focuses on three areas: delivering a next-generation digital printing platform that increases print speeds and lowers the cost of printing for high-volume commercial markets; making it easier to print from the Web; and extending HP's digital content creation and publishing platforms across all customer segments.
"We have listened to our customers and are extending our scope beyond our market leadership in printing hardware by entering the service industry to address our customers growing demands," he says. "These stores are being implemented to address specific pain points based on customer feedback. These include: making high quality printing accessible and fast for the travelling business person; simplifying and speeding up the process of getting printouts; improving the quality of printouts; and, providing equipment for special printing applications."
HP Print Stations will offer huge benefits for three audiences, namely: individuals who do not have a printer at home and are looking for convenience and quality; professionals who require specific solutions for their specialised applications; and businesses that need high volume print outs and are looking for cost effectiveness and quality.
Coupled with the service, quality and convenience factors, the on-line printing and DIY printing elements make these stores unique and the intention is that in the near future they will offer a complete basket of printing requirements, from photo printing all the way up to poster or outdoor banner printing.
"As HP ventures into the digital publishing ecosystem, Print Stations are the next step in enhancing HP's ability to deliver printing services securely where consumers want them," says Boulanger.
Through its acquisition of LogoWorks, an online service for logo design, HP can now offer SMBs a streamlined way to create and print business cards and other brand-identity materials through the stores. An online photo service, 'Snapfish', affords similar opportunities to create the Web-to-print experiences that are at the heart of Print 2.0. HP DreamColor makes it easy for graphic artists and photographers to match colour to prints or digital sources and deliver predictable colour in a wide variety of applications.