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The Benefits of Selling Compatibles

11 Jun, 2008 By: Editorial Staff imageSource

The Benefits of Selling Compatibles

While it's easy to rely on OEM replacement cartridges for your clients,
the other option is offering OEM compatible products. As an office products
dealer, the service you provide to your customers is crucial to your livelihood.
Competition is stiff and dealers must be able to stand behind the products they

In the early 1980s, when the compatibles market was just emerging, quality
was a significant differentiator between compatibles suppliers. Today, with more
than two decades of market maturity, the compatibles industry has seen quality
become a fundamental baseline from which to do business. With quality on par
with many OEM products and the importance of parts and supplies increasing
within the typical dealer's overall business, price and cost savings plays a
significant role.

Compatible parts and supplies tend to be priced less than their OEM
equivalents, representing a typical savings of about 20%. With compatibles now
firmly established as a credible, profitable alternative to OEM supplies, they
continue to create new opportunities for office equipment dealers. And,
understanding these advantages can often pencil out to better margins, higher
profits and sustained customer satisfaction for dealers in the long term.


Independent dealers should consider a number of different reasons on why
compatibles are a good choice to consider:

A. Increase in Profits. Simply put, high-quality compatibles
often cost less while delivering OEM-quality performance. By using reliable
compatibles, dealers may realize greater profit and/or extend lower prices to
customers for a competitive advantage.

B. Value-Added Services. Suppliers of high-quality compatibles
realize that dealers make buying decisions based on more than cost alone. As
they compete for dealer business, best offer value- added services to help
differentiate their offerings and to stay competitive. In the end, it' s overall
value that drives a purchasing decision.

C. Wider Selection. As most major compatibles suppliers aren't
tied to products from a single OEM, they can offer a wide array of parts and
supplies across a broad range of machines. For dealers, this can mean simpler
"onestop" ordering and more efficient transactions at lower cost. Also, with a
variety of compatibles available crossing different product lines, dealers can
seek supplies revenue opportunities with customer machines they may not even be
servicing, or offer bids for supplies contracts in which they may not have been
able to participate before.

D. Robust Competition. Purchasing high-quality compatibles
helps to ensure that the competitive landscape stays robust. As is the case in
many industries, the mere presence of high-quality, OEM alternative products
encourages competition in the business equipment marketplace and helps keep
pricing competitive. It also means that there are more purchasing options and
ensured sources of supply. Moreover, as sales channels expand and OEMs look to
sell directly to consumers, compatible supplies provide dealers with another
tool for retaining sales to their own customers and for staying competitive.

E. Performance Consistency. By partnering with the right
supplier, dealers can be assured that high-quality compatibles will deliver the
performance they require again & again.


Dealers should carefully evaluate their options for selecting a compatibles
partner. Here are a few of the important vendor attributes to look for. Although
the overall quality of compatibles has risen over the years, there are still
varying levels of quality in the marketplace and there are many options from
which to choose.

A. Sharing Expertise. A compatibles supplier must employ people with
deep knowledge of the industry, who are proficient technically, who are willing
and able to provide advance information on new products, in order to partner.

B. Competitive Pricing. Naturally, compatibles pricing should be
consistently less expensive than OEM equivalents, and logical and easy to
understand. The best compatibles suppliers also offer meaningful product
warranties, first- class customer service, and other advantages.

C. Quality Assurance. Be sure suppliers can document the technical
tests and the quality assurance processes they use to ensure that they deliver
OEM- equivalent quality. It's a good idea to ask prospective suppliers about
their manufacturing partners, the development resources to which they are tied,
and the degree to which they reinvest in research and development for future

D. Wide Range of  Products. Compatibles suppliers should offer a broad
line of quality products and be reasonably speedy with their new product
time-to-market to be convenient. The availability of legacy parts and supplies
is also important.

Today, as acceptance of compatible products continues to grow with dealers
and users, the opportunities they represent become more and more apparent. By
learning about compatibles, asking tough questions of their prospective
suppliers, and gaining reassurances, they can pass the benefits on to their

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