From Copiers to Solutions: Why Your Business Is Shifting from Products to Services


A reminder: Stop Selling Products, Start Providing Solutions: The Mantra for Office Tech Success

Executive Summary:

The traditional focus on selling products like toner and paper has lessened as businesses move towards a paperless, AI-based environment.

  1. The digital age is driving a decline in traditional product-based sales models, particularly in office technology sectors like copier and printer services.
  2. Shifting from a product-centric approach to a service-oriented model can offer businesses sustainable growth, increased efficiency, and a competitive edge.
  3. Businesses can successfully make this transition by rethinking their value proposition, focusing on solving customer problems, and offering bundled service packages.

In the ever-evolving landscape of office technology, the days of merely selling copiers and printers are numbered. The digital transformation has not only changed how we work but also what we expect from our office technology providers. As Alex Cribby from PowerMPS aptly puts it, “It’s no longer about what you can physically sell the customer. Instead, it’s how the things you traditionally sold can be put together to resolve problems your customers are facing.”

Tien Tzuo from Zuora introduces a compelling concept: the “End of Ownership.” He argues that “ownership is in decline, usership is on the rise.” This is not just a catchy phrase, but a reflection of a broader societal shift. People are increasingly valuing experiences over possessions. The idea of owning a product is giving way to the convenience and flexibility of using a service. This shift is evident in various industries, from music subscriptions replacing CD sales to ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft becoming more popular than car ownership.

“ownership is in decline, usership is on the rise.”

Tien Tzuo, Zora

Why should your copier and office tech business make this shift?

First, it’s about sustainable growth. According to Zuora, “…subscription companies that focus on usage-based business models grow 1.5 times faster than those relying on straightforward recurring payments.

Second, a service-oriented model encourages sustainability. When your revenue is tied to usage, you can’t afford any downtime, making your company more efficient. Lastly, this shift allows you to build a more customer-centric approach, focusing on solving real problems rather than pushing products.

Let’s consider an example.

Imagine a commercial HVAC company that traditionally sold heating and cooling units. They notice a decline in sales and decide to pivot. Instead of just selling the units, they offer a comprehensive climate solution service that includes regular maintenance, energy efficiency audits, and even smart control systems for better building management. This solves the immediate needs of the customer and addresses broader issues like energy conservation and operational efficiency.

Do you see a parallel?

Transitioning from products to services is daunting; it’s more about a change in mindset than a complete business overhaul. As StartupGrind suggests, you can start by building a side project or promoting internal tools that solve specific customer problems. The key is to focus on what problems your current clients and target audience have that your business can solve.

Your future lies not in the products you sell but in the impact of what your solutions do.

Stop selling, keep solving.


Greg Walters, Head Writer