Lexmark Offered the Apple Store Value Beyond Printing

By Vincent Young

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At first glimpse, it may appear to be an odd marriage. On the one hand, there’s the Apple Store – Apple’s creative, stylish, and nouveau-tech personality brought to life in the form of a chain of over 200 retail locations.  A place so hip that a greeter is referred to as a “concierge” and a repair technician works in an area called a “Genius Bar.”

On the other hand, there’s Lexmark – the printer manufacturer that built its consumer reputation as a poor man’s “Hewlett Packard” by fulfilling the lower-quality, “you-get-what-you-pay-for” opening price-point position at mass merchandisers or as the “free” printer given away in net-to-free PC-bundles.

Despite its apparent misfit with the Apple Store panache, Lexmark announced last month that it successfully secured distribution of a new Lexmark-branded All-in-One Printer called “Interact” in Apple Stores and at store.apple.com. So how did Lexmark accomplish the seemingly impossible?

By enacting a  retail leverage strategy that aligned the Lexmark brand and product offering with the needs, wants, and expectations of the interconnected, tech & fashion-forward, high performance Apple-nation.

Priced at $199, Lexmark’s Interact Printer is a wireless, 3-in-1 web-connected machine featuring new touch-screen technology.

CUSTOMIZED & INTEGRATED THE PRODUCT WITH APPLE

In order to increase its leverage with the retail merchandise buyers at the Apple Store, however, Lexmark’s new printer showcases three unique attributes that are really less about Lexmark, and more about driving incremental demand/usage of the key products that are important Apple:

  • iPhone/iPod touch photo printing – The LexPrint App is available from the App Store featuring wireless printing from an iPhone or iPod touch directly to the Lexmark Interact.
  • MobileMe SmartSolution – Interact’s compatibility with Apple’s MobileMe will allow users to access their stored photos directly from their Interact touch screen.
  • Apple News RSS feeds – Stay up-to-date with the latest news from Apple Hot News directly on your Interact touch screen

The Lexmark Interact / Apple Store marriage is a wonderful example of how challenger brands can gain retail leverage by engineering value propositions that help the retailer’s financial performance by driving the attach rates of high-value, complimentary items (see my previous article  “Financial Growth” is a Challenger Brand’s Best Friend). Whether through the marketing of product features/attributes, promotional programs, or service offerings, challenger brands should design value propositions for their products that can drive a total market basket for the retailer – even if the complimentary add-on is from another category.

Well done Lexmark!

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