IKON – Struggles to flip their Canon customers to Ricoh equipment.

September 1, 2009

As of March 2009, only 20,000 of the Canon’s that IKON had in its MIF (Machines in field) had been replaced by Ricoh product.

IKON still has 300,000 Canon machines in its MIF (a target rich environment for Authorized Canon Dealers)

I think that this illustrates that while it is easy for Ikon to SAY that a Ricoh is just as good as, or better than a Canon, Their customers are not buying it. At least that is what the numbers are saying.

Some will stay with Ikon because they like their Sales Rep, or they like their technician. Or maybe Ikon has spent a lot of money taking that Purchasing Agent to their Luxury Box at a ball game, or on a Golf Trip, and that Purchasing Agent likes the way they are treated. OK, I get that, but what happens when their End Users first see the Ricoh MFDs that they are getting to replace their Canons? We have seen some significant push back from loyal Canon customers. They can make the Purchasing Agents life “hell”! But the initial End User acceptance, or not, of the Ricoh MFDs is only the first hurdle for Ricoh \Ikon. But apparently that is a hurdle that Ikon is struggling with since they have replaced less than 7% of the Canon MIF (as of March 09).

The next big hurdle for Ricoh \ Ikon will be when the first Ricoh equipment lease comes up for renewal. Its easy to flip a lease of a customer that likes you, and likes your product. you can even use the good will that you have built up over the years to get them to trust you when you say “The Ricoh is just as good as the Canon”. But If your Ikon Sales person  is smart they will try to write these leases for 60 or 63 months the first time. Because the further out they go the less the End Users will remember the good old days when they had reliable and easy to use Canon MFDs. That would be good for the Ikon Rep but definitely not for the Purchasing Agent, who will have to live with their hostile end users until the lease is up. When I worked at _BS I was involved in bringing over a couple of good Canon customers to Ricoh. We have recently gotten them back after their first lease expired and they would not even consider renewing with Ricoh equipment. Ricoh was not even invited to bid. That’s how much these customers hated the Ricoh products.

The Authorized Canon Dealers are seeing an influx of loyal Canon customers who previously got their Canon equipment from Ikon. But there have been some (less than 7% according to the numbers above) that have been loyal to Ikon and that’s OK. The Authorized Canon Dealers can afford to be patient, we’ll see you when your first Ricoh \ Ikon lease is over, or has 9 months left. It is amazing the effect a unhappy group of end users can have an a Purchasing Agent. When the End User community “ain’t happy” they tend to make sure that the Purchasing Agent “aint happy either”. We shall see!

That’s my $0.02
Vince McHugh



  1. I am curious what the source is on your statistics? What is the date of the study you are pulling from?

  2. I have tested most canon machines and ricoh machines. I believe your bias towards Canon shines through.
    I have very good experience with Ricoh as a company and its products. You claims of the Ricoh machines being inferior products can not be based on facts. I respect your strong feelings with Canon, but please… Try to be a little more objective. It is with the printer brands the fight will be won or lost. Lets stick together, if we stay together we can win the battle.

    • Jorgen,

      My “bias” towards Canon comes from my experience supporting Canon, & Ricoh products. I have supported both and between the two Canon is a hands down superior product.
      Ricoh has gotten better, and Ricoh is cheaper than Canon. But Ricoh seems to me to have a “good enough” mentality. Where I see Canon strives for excellence. It is simply a different business philosophy that leads to a better product.

  3. Vince,

    You are either trying to be deceptive or you just are not smart. Lets give you the benifit of the doubt and say you are not smart. The Ricoh aquisition and end of IKON selling Canon was approx 9 months ago (there was some overlap time where Ricoh could still sell Canon) IKON renews it customers on average of 43 months. Therefore 16% (the true number from IKON) is not all that bad, figuring 20% or so has come up. Also figuring IKON has done a much better job expanding the business with net new accounts. Ricoh didnt expect 100% of the Canon customers to come over to Ricoh. They expected the majority would and they did.

    I go back to one of the points you made about marketshare…You say only the best machines have the greater marketshare. I hate to break it to you but if you take out the Staples type copiers Ricoh has the largest marketshare in the US and the world. If we go by your logic, Ricoh would be the best brand out there.

    Also, Ricoh is much easier to fix from a technician standpoint and more reliable when trying to link scanning/document management with open source vendors. Canon is dying in this market and it is only going to get worse for them. Best of luck.

    Also, how is Chris Foley doing? He must really be killing you now that he is up and running in Boston for real, and Rhode Island. As long as you have reps like Phillips down here I wont be to worried.

  4. Hey Manny,

    Did I hit a nerve? You seem a little sensitive about this. I am simply commenting on the figures that I have read, as well as what I am seeing from personal experience.

    I have personally supported both lines and Canon is hands down the better line. They won the BLI line of the year last year and the two major points that Buyers Lab cited were 1) Reliability and 2) Ease of use. That from an independent viewpoint of BLI.

    You still refuse to address the issue of why you NEVER see a 12 year old Ricoh, unless it is being used as a boat anchor. They are just not as reliable as the Canon product.

    As far as our friends over at _BS Boston, they are a start up, the new kid in town. They currently lack the infrastructure they need. NECS is the largest Canon Dealer in New England. _BS has a lot of catching up to do. Lucky for them, they have a great product to sell.

  5. I’m sorry. We justed switched to a Ricoh and it broke in the first week.

    The sales person was misleading, the products ARE inferior according to my observation, usage, and ease of use.

    Honestly, I’m switching back.

  6. I am a Technician who has worked on both Canon and Ricoh.Canon MFDs are much much superior to Ricoh.
    Canon MFDs are EASY and RELIABLE when utilising scanning and Document Managment,whereas the Ricoh are complicated and certainly not the favourite brand of IT administrators.
    One last thing,in reply to Manufacturers comment,Canon are number one in Europe,USA,Asia,and the Americas,so how can Ricoh be?,dont forget,Ricoh bought Ikon to try to overtake Canon, as natural growth of their MIF was always going to be impossible with inferior products.
    Ricoh have put themselves in a perilous position borrowing so much to buy Ikon in the current climate.Maybe Ricoh should spend more in R&D to bring their products up to Canon standard,rather than buying up dealers.

  7. Paul that whole comment does not even make sense. Ricoh is the #1 manufacturer in the world, US and Asia, Get the facts straight. Ricoh produces more machines and sells more machines than any other vendor.

    As for R&D, we also spend more than any other vendor. The best part is we focus on Copiers and have auxillary product lines. Canon, however, focuses on Cameras and Copiers is their auxillary line. If you are taking about the Ricoh of 10 years ago, I would agree that they were inferior. Today however, have you ever tried to use an eCopy with a Canon? How about get inside a 5185i or service a C-1?

    You may think it is easy because it is what you know, but my technicians as a whole feel a whole lot better servicing a majority of Ricoh equipment compared to the Canon. Best of luck.

    As for the not favorable to IT, Ricoh is much easier. I work on them both on a regular basis. The remote UI on the canon is awful to deal with, cumbersome and messy. The Web Image Monitor is simple to use, simply laid out, and easy and reliable to manage. When it comes to the machine hanging on the network there are less burps from a Ricoh with locking up and backlogged prints. Your comment is outdated at best, or just severely innacurate.

  8. Manny actually said “As for R&D, we also spend more than any other vendor”

    I am assuming that the “we” you joke about is Ricoh, since Ikon has never manufactured anything that they sold.

    Manny, this is a web site, and people can’t see that your tongue is firmly planted in your cheek when you make such silly statements.

  9. Unfortunately, Canon is now allowing Canon Business Systems (Canon Direct) to utilize pricing designed to go after the ‘IKON – CANON’ base for upgrades…to go after Canon DEALER MIF! This must be a concern for Independent Dealers that carry the Canon line.

    • Mr. Anonymous,

      Not to worry, Canon is not giving CBS anything that the Dealers do not also have access to. I know CBS likes to position themselves as if they are “Canon”, but they are not. They are owned by Canon but handled as a separate channel, just like the Canon Dealers are.

      We have no fear of competing with CBS head to head. Some of the things that I am hearing make it sound like there is some turmoil over there. I guess you can’t keep loosing 42 million dollars a year (like CBS did last year) and not have the company that owns you get upset. But they opened up some new locations, and they changed their top management, now they just have to turn a profit. I am very interested to see if they can do that this year.

  10. Interesting my friend you say IKON is having issues converting Canon to Ricoh. For New Englad IKON has lost 4,900 machines. You may think that is a lot. However 3,200 came from 14 accounts. Given the fact that every month new england puts out a little over 4500 machines through the IKON channel, it isnt a big a hit as you may think.

    Also, out of that 4,900, we have began to realize that the economy and CBS/NECS/mom and pop shop dealers are giving 6 months free service to get the customers, it will be interesting when the 6 months come up and they decide the grass isnt greener on the other side and come back to IKON figuring they are the ones who hold the lease with IFS and we are better at servicing the Canon equipment.

    Be interesting to see where Canon stacks up over the next 18 months…I am almost willing to bet that Canon will focus on their profitable business which is the cameras and stick to what they know.

  11. My Friend,

    I’m sure that it is Ikon’s greatest wish that Canon would focus on something other than the launch of their new ImageRUNNER-Advance line, but I think that is a “pipe dream”.

    Ikon has some very loyal customers that will indeed follow them to Rioch, at least for the first purchase. But the true test will be whether they will love their Ricoh MFDs from Ricoh\Ikon as much as they loved their Canon MFDs from Ikon.

    I have seen a number of customers (when I worked for the direct branch \ _BS) come over to Ricoh only to return to the Canon fold as soon as they could vowing never to stray again. They absolutely hated their Ricoh MFDs.

    The other interesting variable is that now that Canon has released their new imageRUNNER-Advanced line of MFDs and since we all know that Ikon can not sell them, will their loyal Canon Customers want to see them somewhere else (IMHO, They are REALLY worth taking a look at).

    The final issues that Ikon’s loyal customer’s will need to deal with is the Ricoh \ Ikon merger. If it goes as “smoothly” as the Ricoh \ Lanier merger God help you all! Ricoh has oft been described as “a company that hates itself”. So you should do OK coming in from the Ikon side. By then Rioch should be figuring out that the Lanier people who talked their way into top positions during the last merger really aren’t as good as the Ricoh people they seemed to easily replace (remember Lanier was a failed company). So that’s good for the Ikon folks, you should find a number of positions that need to be filled. But as with any merger there will be more people than positions to fill, so there will still be some talented people back on the market looking for a soft place to land. I wish them well!

  12. Interesting you skirted the factual numbers. It has always been Canon’s idea that people bought Canon machines from IKON not People bought machines from IKON.

    From what I see in the day to day life is that people bought machines from IKON and the value of the sales and service. The individuals that took advantage of the “free” service from NECS and Canon are counting the days until that is over and will come back to IKON even if they are not the “authorized dealer” because we have the most experience and reliability when it comes to servicing the Canon equipment. We know the work arounds and that is why Canon is trying to come out with a total new line to sell so they can try and block out IKON from taking over service when the clients are displeased with the service from the independent dealers or CBS.

    I would be willing to bet IKON will still take away those service contracts and be more successful servicing Canon equipment even with the Canon powerplay.

    Nice try deflecting the conversation to a merger that for the most part has gone smoothly. Keep in mind we are not two distributors merging, we are a manufacturing company and sales company coming together. They know what they do well, and they know what IKON does well. They make the equipment, and we bring it to market and keep it running well for the customers, linking it with our OPEN PLATFORM. Not locking out and cornering the customers in proprietary software (like Canon)

    • Hey Manny,

      Are these numbers published anywhere? Or does the reader simply take the word of someone posting anonymously?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: