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Industry Insight

FedEx Office Print & Go

Did you see last week'

By Cary Sherburne
Published: January 27, 2011

Did you see last week's announcement about the new Print & Go offering from FedEx Office?  There have been several attempts to make printing easier for mobile workers; this one is likely to have serious legs.  It leverages an important tool for many corporate workers--the BlackBerry that has become a permanent appendage to many--and the 1,800 FedEx Office locations in the U.S. to make it fast and easy to print on the go.  This initiative comes out of the FedEx/Canon/HP alliance announced in April of 2010, leveraging HP's ePrint mobile printing application.

Randy Scarborough, VP of Marketing for FedEx Office, explained that this initiative was born out of customer feedback indicating a desire for more self-service printing. The solution was tested in selected locations for several months before launch. Scarborough says, "If I could summarize this in one word, it would be 'convenience.' BlackBerry is almost a mandatory tool for mobile professionals, telecommuters and business travelers.  Imagine a scenario where someone is on the road and their presentation has been changed by headquarters.  They can receive it on their BlackBerry; automatically find the closest FedEx Office location or search by state, city or zip; and send the file.  They receive a retrieval code via email that is valid for up to 10 days.  At the FedEx Office location, they walk up to the Print & Go device which is clearly marked, enter the code and a payment method, and get their copies.  Our professional staff is available to help with jobs that are more complicated or need finishing.  Perhaps they print one copy right away, and when they reach their destination city, they might print the 20 copies they need for the meeting."

Scarborough outlined a similar process for USB devices, saying, "It is incredibly straightforward." When asked whether there were plans to support other smart phones or tablets, Scarborough said, "This is based on the HP ePrint app, and as they add new platforms that can be supported by that app, we will be ready to serve those customers.  HP has expressed an intent to go beyond the BlackBerry platform."

As of today, Print & Go is available in more than 1,600 retail locations, with a plan to equip remaining locations by the end of the calendar year.

Scarborough also indicated that FedEx Office is very pleased with the deployment of Canon devices throughout its network, with a plan to have the majority of the fleet upgraded by the end of this calendar year.  As to the future, he says, "We have an unending appetite to understand what our customer needs are.  We know they are changing and that we need to change to serve them.  Innovation is core for FedEx and FedEx Office.  Partners like HP are critical to our success.  We have a number of opportunities we are evaluating, and when they are at a point at which we can talk about them, we will be sure to let you know!"

Cary Sherburne is a well-known author, journalist and marketing consultant whose practice is focused on marketing communications strategies for the printing and publishing industries.

Cary Sherburne is available for speaking engagements and consulting projects. To get more information contact us.

Please offer your feedback to Cary. She can be reached at cary@whattheythink.com.

 

Discussion

By Bob Raus on Jan 29, 2011

We in the printing industry must passionately avoid the common belief that we can be “print-centric” by reminding ourselves two things: 1) print is one form of communication medium and 2) the printer (device) is a peripheral to the computer and other networked devices. Print & Go is an exciting application that delivers value by connecting mobile workers to print - and a great example of how the printing industry can adapt in order to stay relevant and instantly accessible.

 

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