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Chains & Channels: Supplies Presence in Alternative Channels

Alternative Channels
Today's consumers require access to alternative channels that provide added convenience in their own unique ways. The success of alternative retail channels will be commensurate with the willingness, commitment, and flexibility of vendors and manufacturers. Any manufacturer that is considering alternative channels will need to carefully consider which channels and chains to pursue. Some might do well to consider a local or regional player to test the waters, providing the opportunity to fully evaluate without going nationwide.

The alternative channels that are gaining presence are listed below:

  • Computer superstores
  • Consumer electronics stores 
  • Convenience stores 
  • Drugstores 
  • Mass merchandisers 
  • Warehouse clubs 
  • Craft stores 
  • Grocery stores
  • Mass Merchandisers Gaining Momentum

In the hurried lifestyles of today's consumers, vendors across all industries are striving to make their products available everywhere! Traditional channels continue to be the main push behind supplies moving to end-users' hands, including contract stationers and office supply superstores, but alternative channels are catching the eyes of certain printer manufacturers.

Recent CAP Ventures research indicates that mass merchandisers represent the strongest source for purchasing printing supplies after office superstores, accounting for 35% of all purchases. 

Figure 1: Type of Supplier Where Most is Spent on Paper
and Media for Home Printing

Which of the following types of suppliers do you spend the most on paper and specialty media for your home office?

Mass retailers can drive traffic to their stores by offering discounted consumables. Mass merchant channels require differentiated products and usually provide added value in the box. With different packaging and size requirements, there are also different cost structures for these channels due to different business requirements. In addition, most of the mass merchant channels do not participate in rebates.

The preceding was excerpted from CAP Ventures’ whitepaper entitled Chains and Channels: Supplies Presence in Alternative Channels. The complete document is available immediately. To learn more about the report or to make a purchase, please contact Alison Hipp at , ext. 126 or .


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