Hewlett Packard has embarked on a printer training campaign forve. retailers due to consumers suffering poor information on the shop floor, but the manufacturer has ignored independents.
The initiative represents HP's largest marketing spend in the UK and will include training retail staff and poster campaigns. Staff in more than 3,000 retail outlets will receive training in response to the vendor's concerns about poor customer information, coupled with worries about incentive selling.
Jon Van Duyne, general manager of consumer products group at HP, said: 'Too often the consumer has been blinded by technobabble. They find it hard to see past print quality to other considerations such as print speed and reliability.'
HP claimed it had received support from leading retail partners, including John Lewis and Dixons. The scheme could lead to a trade-in option for old HP printers.
Van Duyne said the pressures on retailers had snowballed: 'There have been cataclysmic changes in the market. To make a profit, a product must be out of the channel in less than six weeks.'
But Clive Bishop, general secretary of the National Association of Specialist Computer Retailers, claimed: 'I have not heard from HP. We have more than 250 members and yet independents seem to be regularly ignored by vendors.'
One industry watcher suggested the consumer hand-holding exercise was an effort to push sales. But Van Duyne denied this: 'The best printer for a particular consumer may not be an HP product - there is not an HP guaranteed sale.'
Representatives for John Lewis and Dixons were unavailable for comment.
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