What does the future have in store for printing?

The gang at INKredible sat down recently for a chat about where we think printing is going to go in the years to come. As our lives are always immersed in the wonderful world of printing, ink and toner, we're quite well placed to offer our opinions!

Gone are the days of your standard black-and-white, ugly mono printers – today's machines are little whizz-bang pots of technology - so what trends can we expect to see?

Printers that look like iPads

Have you noticed how many of today's printers look like spaceships? Check out Lexmark's Genesis for a case in point.

Lexmark's Genesis Printer

In one sense, this change to make printers look like modern tech gadgets is a move on the part of printer makers to make their machines more aesthetically-pleasing and compete better with their rivals.

But if we scratch a little deeper below the surface, it's also the case that lots of these new additions offer some really functional value. Take things like central navigation screens - digital menus from where users can control all aspects of their appliance. This removes the needs for fiddly buttons and means everything you need to work your printer is in one consolidated place.

There are also things like USB ports – enabling you to pop a memory stick in your printer, access a document and print it off in a matter of seconds.

This is something we think will really develop, so that in the future printers are not merely functional machines that do a job but a central part of the printing process.



The move to wireless

The Move to Wireless

Wireless printing, while still really in its infancy, is something we think will grow and grow. Thanks to wireless technology, it's no longer necessary to have printers connected up by reams of wires to computers and workstations.

At first glance, this might seem unnecessary – who cares if you have to connect a lead up? But wireless printing offers a host of real benefits for companies and the individual consumer.

Think about it – if you can print wirelessly, you can print from almost anywhere. This allows you to work on the go – sending documents to print from other parts of the office, freeing up more time to concentrate on other tasks.

For home workers, space is often an issue, where wireless again comes in handy.




The rise of 3D

It feels like not a day goes by without 3D printing getting some kind of mention – it can apparently do almost anything, from printing house keys to replicating museum exhibits.

The process uses modelling software to 'build' 3D objects – currently, they are limited in size, but in future could be a lot bigger. While there's undoubtedly an awful lot of fanfare surrounding the technology, we can expect it to have a number of real-world uses – it could enable companies to build product prototypes and it's even been suggested it could build replica body parts.


What do you think?



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Is third-party ink and toner a false economy?

Now hold the front page folks. 

We've just come across something by Brother that claims customers should "beware of the hidden costs" of compatible ink and toner supplies. Now, as suppliers of such products, you won't be surprised to hear that our ears more than pricked up a little.

 

The firm has released a report that claims switching to third-party inkjets could be a false economy. Well they would say that – after all, they want you to buy their original products!

 

In all seriousness though – and we're not really having a dig – we'd just like to defend our corner. Brother says buying third-party products throws up a whole host of problems. 

These include leakages – it claims some compatible cartridges deliver a low percentage of ink – compatibility issues, and problems with yield variation. It also suggested that using compatibles can cause damage to printers, as the ink often dries out, damaging the print head.

 

Now, it's always important to have an open mind – which is why we reckon compatible cartridges are more than capable of being up to the job. A quick look at our customer testimonials confirms this. "The service is Inkredible," reckons Mr David Alfred Smith (thanks David) and while Laura Page admits to having problems with non-original cartridges in the past she writes: "But this is A1 so far. Will definitely be buying from you again, and oh, the price, how could I not mention, is FANTASTIC."

 

If you've questions about compatibility issues or how compatible or remanufactured ink and toner might affect your printers, we're completely open – you can check out our FAQs or contact us

And we've also put together a handy little guide that talks about the difference between remanufactured, compatible and refilled cartridges. You can read it here

What do you think about the debate? We'd love to hear from you.

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Our plans for the future

We're not just stopping with the recent changes we've made to our website folks – no, this is part of a wider effort to completely transform everything we offer.

That's right – we've lots more planned for the months to come. Here's an idea of what you can look forward to in the future:

A reward scheme

Loyalty schemes are all the rage! And why not – in these straightened economic times, shoppers are increasingly looking for a bit of added value when they buy their bits and bobs.

Our reward scheme will earn you reward points when you shop, by referring your friends and family to us and by sending back empty inks for recycling.

You can use the reward points to put toward future payment for orders – sounds good, huh?

Support section

Printer playing up? Have a question about compatible ink cartridges?

We're going to launch a dedicated, in-depth support section that will be packed full of tutorials, guidance features, hints and tips and how to's.

Whatever it is you're wondering about – a query about a warranty, what to think about when buying a printer – we'll be adding a variety of useful pieces in there as we go on – a one-stop-shop for all your queries!

Forum

The INKredible gang is really excited about this -  a community hub for our customers to come together and chat!

It'll be a place you can share knowledge with one another, passing tips and best practice. We've designed it primarily to act as an information portal when our support team isn't available, but we also hope it'll encourage plenty of interesting chat between our customers too!

Speak soon

The INKredible team

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What to think about when buying a printer

Changes to the printer market over the last few years mean the market is now filled with a heady variety of sophisticated printers.

One good thing about this is that the cost of printers has come down significantly – it's now possible to get hold of a capable multi-function machine for as little as £50.

But the sheer range of appliances available can make it difficult to make an informed choice when it comes to choosing the printer that really suits your needs.

One of the most important things anyone thinking about buying a printer should do is consider the 'total cost of ownership' – i.e. how much it will really cost you to buy a printer – so not just the one-off purchase but over the long term.

After your initial outlay, you'll also have consumables – like ink and toner cartridges and photo paper – that you'll need to buy (dependent on how regular a printer user you are).

Tying in with this, another important consideration is what you will actually need to use your printer for. If you're a student, for example, it's likely you'll be best off with a pretty basic mono machine – for your black-and-white print jobs.

A small business might want something with Wi-Fi capabilities and the like for remote working and a professional photographer will require a printer that's specifically tailored to prints.

Working this out will influence how much you decide to spend on your printer. The more jobs you'll be doing, the more consumables you'll need to buy.

It's all about working out what is best for you. The main thing is not to spend a fortune on a printer only to find that it's packed full of features that you won't actually use.

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Budget 2012: Our new pricing structure explained

....Not that the old one was bad necessarily, but, well, just needed a bit of a spring clean.

We know that when it comes to buying ink, toner and paper, cost is a really important factor, especially in today's – how do we say – rather difficult economic times.

So that's one of the reasons why we decided to review our pricing structure. It's one of the biggest changes as part of our switch to our new website (we haven't been banging on about that too much, have we?)

In keeping with the other changes we've made to the INKredible website, we've moved to make our pricing easier to understand and, overall, cheaper.

How it used to work

Let's say you're after six full sets of compatible ink cartridges for Brother's DCP 110C machine. On our old site, you couldn't just buy six full sets. Well you could, but you'd have to do it by buying 1 x 4 sets at £19.99 (£4.99 a set) and then 1 x 2 sets at £14.99 (7.50 a set) – that's £35 for six sets.

This was OK, but perhaps a little limited, because you could only buy via our set offers.

How it works now

Those six sets of ink have run out and you need some more - pronto. No problem. Thanks to our new tiered pricing, you don't have to stick to the offers in order to get what you need – you can order whatever quantity you like and still see a cost saving.

For example: Now you can simply order 6 x 1 sets – and that's where the tiered pricing kicks in, reducing the price per set down to a best price of £4.99 a set – so £29.99 in total.

That's a saving of £5. Every little helps.

Savvy? Hey – let us know what you think – we'd love to hear from you.

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Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes

Phew! It's been a wild few months for the gang here at INKredible. What with being all caught up in the fun and games that come with rolling out a shiny new website, we've been at it nearly 24/7! And of course, still scurrying around like mad men to ensure we get all our ink and toner orders shipped out on time!

In short, we've been running our merry selves into the ground – but we've loved every ruddy minute of it!

What with it being just over a week since we officially launched, we thought we deserved to kick back with a few beers to celebrate – everyone deserves a pat on the back from time to time, don't they?

Anyway – enough of the INKredible team's drinking habits...suffice to say our trip to the pub got us talking about how now would be a great time for a nice little blog update to introduce you to our new website and tell you about some of the changes we've made – changes we think will make it even easier for you to shop for your ink and toner cartridges and consumables with us.

So what have we done? Well, think of our website as your one-stop-shop for compatible and remanufactured cartridges for a raft of top-quality printer brands – like HP, Canon, Kodak and Samsung.

It's a more interactive, usable and intuitive service that enables you to find exactly what you need with just a few clicks of your mouse.

We don't want to overload you with information, so here's a few bullet points just to keep you on the down-low – look out for more blogs in the coming days in which we'll look at this in more detail.

  • Easier to search – search our entire shop

  • We've rolled out a tiered pricing structure which means you have more options to buy products and can still benefit from price reductions (we've a blog on the way talking about this further)

  • Permanent shopping basket – if you add something to your basket and leave the site, it'll be there waiting for you when you return

  • One-page checkout – none of that annoying redirecting to other pages, enjoy hassle-free purchases

  • Recently viewed products –  if you look at an ink cartridge and need to get back to it, this feature allows you to see what you've looked at previously.

There's lots more to tell you about. Lots, lots more. Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes are afoot folks, Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes....

Speak soon

The INKredible team

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New Look Website - BETA testing


 
Welcome to our 'New Look' website and to the first post of our new blog section.

Regular customers will know that over the years INKredible.co.uk hasn't changed much. With the exception of our new logo introduced a year or so ago things have pretty much been the same since we opened our doors back in 1998. Now, in our defence this was through design, customers always commented how simple and easy to use our website was and we are very much from the "If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it" school of thought. Over the years we have done a lot of work 'behind the scenes' to speed up order processing and the efficiency of our customer service guys, however the 'Front End' has always been strictly 'off limits'.

Now in this day and age of High Speed Internet, Mobile Computing and Social Media things are changing and consumers have come to expect a lot more from their online retailers. Not ones to leave our customers wanting more we felt the time was right to bring INKredible.co.uk right up to date. Over the last month we have been working day and night to bring you all the features you have come to expect when shopping online, as well as a few 'new ideas' to make your INKredible.co.uk experience that little bit more INKredible!

INKredible.co.uk has been completely redesigned and rebuilt from the ground up, taking advantage of the newest web technologies and the experience of trading online for over a decade. However, we need your help to make sure we are continuing to provide the best service and are sticking with our simple and easy to use policy.

We are hoping to switch over fully to our new site early in 2012, In the meantime we need your feedback on the look, feel and more importantly the usability of this new version. We are inviting any customers who wish to try this 'new and improved' INKredible.co.uk to give it a go. Place your orders, try our contact section, read our blog and generally give the site a good test drive.


Don't forget to let us know what you think, how you get on and of course any problems or bugs you experience when shopping. This way we can ensure any teething problems are fully worked out before our big launch early in the new year.

Happy Shopping,

Tom Coley - General Manager 

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