Barcodes, printing and cards: The opportunities for resellers

MFP printing

The economic recovery is now officially underway and it seems 2010 has the potential to bring strong results to the reseller community. We have noticed a marked change in prospects for our array of resellers in the mobility, barcoding, autoID, printing and card markets.

On the face of it, the prospects for a rapid expansion in business look good, but this also poses corresponding problems within our VAR community. One of the biggest challenges many of them face is pressure on lines of credit. So, as their order books are potentially filling up again, many resellers face the tricky issue of actually being able to fund this upturn.

To help ease the challenges that come with quickly ramping up activity to meet increased demand, Zebra is sticking to its long standing strategy of using a strong, financially stable distribution model, enabling resellers to make the most of the various different credit terms and packages that are available.


We have also noticed our traditional VAR base moving further into software and service offerings, which in turn has meant that some of the corporate IT resellers are now providing our hardware in a space they don’t usually operate in. This poses its own challenges for a channel-only manufacturer like Zebra, both in terms of having to establish meaningful relationships with these new resellers quickly and efficiently, as well as having to ensure that these new partners can access the knowledge they need in order to understand products and propositions that are effectively new to them.

Prospects for the barcode and card sectors look particularly strong this year. Prior to 2009 these sectors worked separately as the card market was less developed and was tolerant to hybrids. To ensure the card sector works similarly to the barcodes sector, Zebra has made several line-up changes to its distribution partners so that the reseller community reaps the rewards of pure trade-only distribution selling at “value for money” prices.

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The company and its resellers have also noticed strong opportunities in new market areas, with emergency services, education and hospitality looking particularly promising. The time looks to be right for resellers to expand their horizons by either prospecting into new markets, or identifying new opportunities and applications within existing markets.

An example of the former is the ‘blue light’ emergency services arena, and in particular, police forces. Mobile printing devices are being increasingly employed by local police forces to increase their productivity and drive policing efficiencies. These lightweight, compact mobile printers are now enabling officers to issue printed police notifications such as offence tickets immediately, eliminating mistakes and reducing time spent on follow up paperwork back at the office.

An example of the latter is the increasing adoption of mobile printers for patient sample labelling at the bedside in hospitals. The healthcare sector has been a longstanding key market for Zebra and its reseller community, but this new desire for printing at the bedside represents an exciting and lucrative new opportunity in a relatively well known marketplace.

As the economy picks up, the channel community should look forward to a strong 2010. However, it is important that we do not be complacent and continue to be on our toes by responding to, and ideally pre-empting, the changing dynamics and requirements in the industry. By having our finger on the pulse, we will be able to adapt to constantly stay relevant and current in the industry.


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