Printers, storage, readers and a stylus in our Back to School feature

Christmas is an incredibly hectic period for all retailers. Long opening hours, armies of casuals to manage, wrapping stations and, hopefully, plenty of sales. Then comes the Boxing Day sales; where shopping centres are transformed into furious zoos of human traffic and nothing can stand between a crusading consumer and a half-price sign.

Then January rolls around and an eerie silence descends as Australians prefer to spend their days at the beach or watching the cricket rather than trawling the aisles for a technology product.

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When it comes to attracting discretionary spending, history shows the Australian consumer loves an event that it can use as a reason. Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas, World Cups and the Olympics all provide motivation for a new appliance or gadget.

To keep the sales ticking over after the Christmas rush, retailers have been proactive, celebrating the start of the academic year with Back to School Sales. Clothing and shoe stores have been particularly successful at this, and the likes of Harvey Norman and Officeworks have also played this card.

Consumers, however, need a product and a sales pitch to go with the full page ads in the Sunday tabloids.

Printers

Canon’s Pixma MG7160 is great for producing high quality prints, scans and copies (RRP $249).

Canon’s Pixma MG7160 is great for producing high quality prints, scans and copies (RRP $249).

Fuji Xerox DocuPrint is compatible with Apple and Android devices (CP215w, RRP $185).

Fuji Xerox DocuPrint is compatible with Apple and Android devices (CP215w, RRP $185).

 

Considering how important ink and toner is in the life cycle of a printer, it is unsurprising that Thomas Dickson from Fuji Xerox encourages retailers to include consumables in the original printer sale.

“Ensure you have a good range of products in-store,” he said. “This will allow you to target a variety of customers and to upsell easily if the opportunity arises.

“Remember to add consumables to a customer’s printer purchase — always have consumables in stock — whether it is toner or paper. Adding these to hardware sales represents real value add and additional margin opportunities for retailers.”

James Carrick, product manager for consumer printing at Canon Australia, said it was important retailers recommended the right printers to students and their parents. He said because youngsters are always connected, seemingly stitched to their smartphone and tablet, their printing solution should complement this.

For students, more sophisticated mobile devices such as tablets and notebooks are being introduced into the classroom as schools begin to digitise education processes,” Carrick said. “The home printer market has responded to consumers’ appetite for mobile and tablet printing with the advent of Apple AirPrint and Google Cloud Print technology.”

AirPrint and Google Cloud Print are similar technologies that operate on iPhones and iPads in the first case and Android smartphones and tablets in the second. Both allow users to send documents and images to a compatible printer seamlessly and without drivers, making it much easier to instantly and wirelessly print a short story or a great photo.

Carrick said Canon will be launching an awareness campaign for its printers’ wireless functionality early in the New Year.

Stylus

The Intuos Creative Stylus from Wacom is compatible with third generation iPads, the new iPad Air and iPad minis.

The Intuos Creative Stylus from Wacom is compatible with third generation iPads, the new iPad Air and iPad minis.

It was the finicky accessory we thought had been consigned to history. Made famous as data input devices on the very first batch of handheld computers — enormous tablets and personal organisers— and then revived in the 1990s by Palm, the stylus went out of fashion due to it being imprecise, easily lost and altogether frustrating.

That’s why there was plenty of scepticism when Samsung unveiled the S-Pen stylus to go with its Note range of supersized smartphones. This wariness proved misplaced, however, as Samsung has sold millions of Notes and people have fallen in love with the stylus, prompting other manufacturers to join in this craze.

Japanese brand Wacom is looking to harness the stylus potential of iPads, which don’t have an official stylus accessory, but are extremely with creative people.

Its new Intuos Creative Stylus (RRP $119) is ideal for high school and university art students looking to transform their iPad into a blank canvas for drawing, sketching and virtual painting.

“As iPads are used more and more for developing ideas and experimenting with concepts, the new stylus fills a gap in the marketplace,” said marketing executive Simon Marshall. “It works seamlessly with the iPad and a series of creative apps, providing an authentic experience for whenever inspiration strikes.”

Storage

WD’s My Passport Slim comes in 1TB and 2TB models (RRP $139 and $229).

WD’s My Passport Slim comes in 1TB and 2TB models (RRP $139 and $229).

Nothing is more important to the digitally connected academic aspirant than easily accessible and secure storage for their documents, images and media.

Using the new WD My Passport Slim portable hard drives (RRP from $139), students are able to take their work with them to school or university, whilst also backing them up to the cloud via Dropbox.

“My Passport Slim drives set a new industry standard for portability, capacity, and file protection,” said WD general manager Scott Steffens.

“Its beautiful metal exterior, combined with up to 2TB of storage, hardware encryption, and WD SmartWare Pro backup protection make it the only storage device today’s students will ever need to take with them.”

E-Reader

Kobo Arc 7HD is a great option for tech-savvy bookworms (RRP $249 for 16GB).

Kobo Arc 7HD is a great option for tech-savvy bookworms (RRP $249 for 16GB).

‘Back in my day, I completed the course reading the old-fashioned way’ — not anymore! Youngsters these days are much more likely to swipe through Catcher in the Rye and To Kill a Mockingbird rather than turn the pages.

The new Kobo Arc 7HD tablets (RRP from $249) is designed specifically for reading, as opposed to say, an iPad, which is a tablet that happens to feature a reading platform.

“Kobo remains focused on reading — a time-honoured passion that keeps people informed, lets them escape, learn about new cultures, see things from a new perspective, travel back in time, and imagine new worlds,” said CEO Michael Serbinis.

The Arc 7HD has a 1,920 x 1,200 display for multimedia playback and 8 hours of battery life. New Kobos are also available in 6-inch and 10-inch varieties.

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