By Matthew Henry

SYDNEY: Hewlett Packard will rollout a new packaging and merchandising initiative for its printer ink cartridge through retailers in the coming months, dividing its range into three colour-coded ranges tailored for different quality and cost scenarios.

With over 40 per cent market share and a 452 million unit install base in the global printer market, HP owns a significant share of the $15 billion printer supplies business.

Consumers shopping for HP printer cartridges will soon be confronted with more options to choose from when the brand introduces three colour-coded ranges: a standard range with blue packaging, a value-priced range in green packaging and a specialty photo printing range in red packaging.

Designed for users with high volume printing needs, the green range includes twin packs, photo value packs and new XL cartridges, which the brand claims offer up to 40 per cent printing cost reduction per page.

The red range uses HP’s Vivera inks for high-quality photo prints which last up to 108 years.

According to HP, consumer research formed the basis for the change, indicating that different consumers had differing expectations about cost and quality.

“For more than 25 years our customers only had the option of one cartridge for their HP printer. Now customers can pick a cartridge which has been designed with their specific needs, expectations and usage in mind,” said HP Imaging & Printing Group, South Pacific supplies business manager, Leo Lynch.

HP will be actively training retail staff in the coming months to become familiar with the range.

The company has already conducted a trial of the new merchandising initiative in seven Harvey Norman locations and worked with the stores to tailor stock SKUs to match their customers’ buying habits.

HP will soon equip another 30 Harvey Norman stores with the new stock and point of sale materials, and will gradually roll out the program to its other retailers including JB Hi-Fi, Officeworks, Dick Smith Electronics, Big W and Australia Post.

The program will require HP to become more involved with retailers at a store level as the company endeavors to train floor staff how to sell its within its new stratified range, which although offering more choice for consumers also significantly increases the brand’s SKUs.

HP is also looking to position itself as a category coordinator for retailers, helping them to develop a plan for which SKUs from the various brands to range based on the demographics of their area and their sales history.

“We don’t compete directly with Epson or Canon and the other brands in the supplies business because consumers can’t switch cartridge brands once they have bought a printer. We want to take category leadership,” HP Asia Pacific vice president – supplies, John Solomon, told