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A couple of incredible offers – and more – Lexmark and Xerox!

Issue #1104 – When two new products are placed under offers that reduce their price by as much as 66%, one has to sit up and take notice. Lexmark’s brand new Genesis S815 inkjet AiO and Xerox’s re-branded ColorQube 8570 (formerly Phaser) solid ink desktop printer are both being offered in the UK with £200 cash back! Note: Lexmark is offering cash back of up to £2,000 on some models.

As is often the case, offer availability varies considerably by country and these offers are certainly not available globally. However, in the UK, they are widespread and represent a fantastic opportunity to acquire a heavily discounted inkjet All-in-One or colour page printer at a heavily discounted price. The real value of the two offers are rather different, however.

Lexmark Genesis S815

Lexmark announced the Genesis in October 2010, with availability beginning in January 2011 (in fact, global availability may still be rolling out). This is what makes a cash back offer of this magnitude highly unusual.

Lexmark Genesis cash back offerLexmark Genesis cash back offer

To obtain £200 off a printer costing between £304 and £411 (excluding tax) is just extraordinary. This places the effective discount ranging between 48.6% and 65.8% – incredible. The median price on this device in the UK is currently around £346.

This should perhaps be tempered with the fact that (in my opinion!) the Genesis is grossly overpriced. I would expect prices to fall to the levels we see here after the £200 cash back has been claimed over the course of the next 12 months, perhaps. In other words, at launch, this machine is at least 100% overpriced – and probably more-so.

There is absolutely no justification for these prices in the specification or capabilities of the device – it is priced purely for the novelty factor and the fact that it is a unique product with a unique (for a desktop AiO) scan technology.

Lexmark Genesis rebateLexmark Genesis rebate

In the US, discounts/rebates in the order of $50 to $80 (12% – 21%) are available from a variety of sources but there does not seem to be as organised, concerted and intensive a campaign as there is in the UK.

However, across the Euro zone, Lexmark does not appear to have any offers in place at all. This emphasises the extent to which UK customers have revolted against Lexmark inkjet products because of the poor build quality and high running costs experienced in the past. Lexmark is going to have to work very, very hard to overcome this perception – perhaps these offers are an indication that it is prepared to put some effort (and money) into achieving the goal.

This is not the place for a full review or cost comparison of the Genesis, so a further article will provide a full run-down in due course.

Lexmark’s cash back offer is scheduled to end on March 31st.

Xerox ColorQube 8570N, DN & DT

“For one week only”, Xerox’s newly branded ColorQube 8570 is also offered in the UK with a £200 cash back – an effective discount of up to 60% (8570N – lowest price found).

Xerox ColorQube cash back offerXerox ColorQube cash back offer

ColorQube started life a couple of years ago as the corporate A3 multifunction device for large departments or print rooms. It is built on Xerox’s proprietary solid ink technology – and a brilliant technology it is too, acquired on its purchase of printer manufacturer Tektronix – and was the first implementation of that technology in anything other than an A4 desktop device.

Replacing the use of ‘Phaser’ for the branding of the solid ink devices, ColorQube is now the generic branding for solid ink while Phaser remains the branding for laser devices.

UK (all prices exclude tax) Price range Median Price
ColorQube 8570N £333 – £480 ~£389
ColorQube 8570DN £419 – £591 ~£492
ColorQube 8570DT £572 – £812 ~£647

This offer appears to be available through selected resellers only and is probably not universal. In the US, Xerox Direct is offering the range with $200 cash back and other resellers are selling the models at about the same price without involving a specific cash back offer.

US (all prices exclude tax) Price range Median Price
ColorQube 8570N $484 – $864 ~$680
ColorQube 8570DN $512 – $979 ~$780
ColorQube 8570DT $717 – $1,333 ~$1,057

Meanwhile, by complete contrast (to the US anyway), in the Euro zone prices appear to be very tightly spread – with models (at the lower end of the range in particular) priced rather higher in comparison to the UK than one would expect. Or, actually, to put it the other way around, the pricing in the UK would appear to be lower than would normally be expected in comparison to both the Euro zone and the US.

UK (all prices exclude tax) Price range Median Price
ColorQube 8570N €578 – €629 ~€598
ColorQube 8570DN €679 – €780 ~€743
ColorQube 8570DT €899 – €1,085 ~€992

And, in the Euro zone there does not appear to be any cash back offer availability. However, there is a Trade-In offer of €200 off the price of the new printer when an old printing device is surrendered – through selected resellers only though.

As with the Lexmark Genesis, a full comparison of the Xerox ColorQube desktop A4 printer is planned for the near future.

Reaction/assessment
My first reaction to the discovery that Lexmark is offering a cash back that represents an effective discount as high as 66% (lowest price found) off a brand new concept product was “Wow, Lexmark must really be in trouble with its inkjet business!”.

I would tend to stick with that assessment too – where the UK is concerned at a very minimum. Lexmark has been struggling for years now with revenues falling off at a rate faster than the financial downturn has affected other companies. Its inkjet business appears to have been particularly hard hit. As suggested above, Lexmark in the UK has suffered badly from gaining a very poor reputation over many years. Although product quality has recently improved, and there are signs that Lexmark is reducing its typically high Total Cost of Printing for at least some of its business-oriented inkjet products, any recovery is sure to be a long-term project.

However, this raises the question of Xerox and its offer representing an effective discount of 60% (N version, lowest price found). Does the same logic apply here?

Quite clearly, the answer has to be an emphatic “No, it does not”!

Xerox is a totally different prospect to Lexmark, with a totally different reputation and, in this instance, operating in a totally different market.

And, most importantly, the product in question is a re-brand – Phaser to ColorQube, differentiating between Laser and Solid Ink for the first time.

This means that Xerox needs to give some thought to the acceptance of the new brand and a heavy cash back offer is certainly an effective way of achieving this particular goal.

So, no comparison. One would not suspect Xerox of entering into this offer as a matter of desperation, merely to make a splash with a product that essentially has not changed apart from its name.

Lexmark cartridge return programme

In addition, emphasising the extent to which Lexmark is suffering at the hands of the third party supplies industry, the company has introduced a promotional returns scheme for used ink cartridges. Customers will receive one new cartridge free of charge for every 10 used cartridges that they return to Lexmark.

Lexmark 1 for 10 cartridge returns programmeLexmark 1 for 10
cartridge returns programme

Hopefully, business users will be seeing a free cartridge every 3 or 4 months but, for home users, this is likely to be a three to four-year project! Not a great prospect.

Bizarrely though, this programme works by customers requesting a returns envelope from Lexmark, which can take up to two weeks to arrive. To make the programme most effective, Lexmark should be including the envelope, or a label, inside the packaging of every new cartridge – after all, what the customer wants is an ‘EASY’ route to do the ‘right thing’. Having to wait two weeks for an envelope to even arrive, every time a cartridge is finished with, will very probably result in many cartridges finding their way into an alternative disposal point rather sooner! Also, try as I might, I have so far failed even to locate the registration point for the scheme.

For laser printer users, the system is a little easier, faster and more logical. Customers can either: mail single cartridges back to Lexmark using a label found either inside the packaging of new cartridges or printed from the Lexmark web site; or request a collection carton from Lexmark that will be collected/replaced once it is full. Much better.

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