HP Pilots Instant Ink Program

Cathy Martin and John Shane
Nov 29, 2011

In October, HP announced a new ink delivery pilot service, Instant Ink, and a pilot with Condé Nast for digital content distribution for some of their magazines.  Instant Ink will automatically deliver replacement original HP ink to customers at home or work when needed for HP’s newest announced ePrinters. HP estimates that users can receive up to 50% annual savings on ink cartridge purchases for one monthly fee.

The voluntary subscription program for HP Instant Ink will be available from $5.99 to $10.99 per month depending on the printer model. The fee covers the cost of the cartridge and the shipping to the customer. During the pilot, Instant Ink will be available for HP’s newest Photosmart and Officejet Pro product line including the HP Photosmart 5510, 6510, and 7510 e-All-in-One and the new HP Officejet Pro 8600 e-All-in-One series. The fee for Instant Ink for the Photosmart printers will be $5.99 and $10.99 for the Officejet Pro line.  Annual costs for the Instant Ink program are $71.88 for Photosmart and $131.88 for Officejet. One set of XL cartridges (BCYM) for the Photosmart printer is $76.96 and $120.96 for the Officejet 8600 series. Customers that use at least one set of ink cartridges will save money using the Instant Ink program. It is difficult to predict exactly since the program is based on individual printer use.

Table: Instant Ink Cartridge Details

Ink Cartridge

Yield HP Web Price Compatibility
564 XL Color Cartridge (CMY) 750 pages $17.99 Photosmart 5510, 6510, 7510
564 XL Black Cartridge 550 pages $22.99 Photosmart 5510, 6510, 7510
564 Color Cartridge (CMY) 300 pages $9.99 Photosmart 5510, 6510, 7510
564 Black Cartridge 250 pages $11.99 Photosmart 5510, 6510, 7510
951 XL Color Cartridge (CMY) 1,500 pages $27.99 Officejet Pro 8600 series
950 XL Black Cartridge 2,300 pages $36.99 Officejet Pro 8600 series
951 Color Cartridge (CMY) 700 pages $19.99 Officejet Pro 8600 series
950 Black Cartridge 1,000 pages $26.99 Officejet Pro 8600 series

Source: HP

HP will be working with select retail locations in the northeastern United States to offer the initial pilot program for Instant Ink. At this time, HP is not disclosing fulfillment partners or the specific dates for the pilot launch. The target for Instant Ink is for a range of HP customers including casual at-home users to micro- and small-business owners. The HP Instant Ink  and Condé Nast On-Demand Content pilot programs are both planned to be rolled out on a trial basis later this fall. The Condé Nast pilot is not restricted regionally and will be open to any consumer with an HP web-connected printer or users who download the free widget from participating Condé Nast websites.

To participate in Instant Ink, customers will receive a subscription card at time of printer purchase at participating retail outlets. During printer set-up, these customers will create an ePrintCenter account to register their printer and sign up for Instant Ink. Once HP receives customer registration, the Welcome Kit (which includes 4 standard cartridges and HP Instant Ink return mailers) is shipped to the customer. Once customers deplete their cartridges, they will use the return mailer to return their empty cartridges and will be sent a replacement cartridge. At this time, participants will receive standard cartridges with the Welcome Kit (upon registration), then XL cartridges upon reorder. Details of the program will be refined throughout the pilot program.

All used cartridges will be recycled via HP Planet Partners closed loop ink cartridge recycling process. Cartridges will be delivered in approximately one week from order initiation. The plan includes an annual limit of $144 worth of ink cartridges for HP Photosmart products, or an annual limit of $264 worth of cartridges for HP Officejet and HP Officejet Pro products. Subscribers can order additional cartridges beyond the annual plan at 50% off the retail price.

The Condé Nast pilot program will include optional print-to-home services for subscribers to schedule the delivery of free content from their magazine brands including Allure, Details, Epicurious, Glamour, Golf Digest, Self, and Wired to personal printers. The scheduled delivery to HP web-connected printers uses HP print tools and allows publishers to reach readers more frequently than with print magazines and more directly than via email. Users can also get the free content by downloading the widget from participating Condé Nast websites. Users of any device brand can download the free widget, which is based on HP technology. Content can be delivered either on a daily or weekly basis depending on the topic and customer’s preference. There is no subscription cost at this time for this unique content that is not available in the relevant magazines or from its other online resources. The content for scheduled delivery is not the whole monthly magazine but is targeted content of one to a few pages combined with appropriate ads. Participation in the Condé Nast program is not dependent on participating in the Instant Ink program or vice versa and is optional.

Industry Impact:

Instant Ink is reminiscent of the program that Dell used to fulfill supplies orders with their customers before they had any retail partners but did not have the monthly fee. For HP, engaging customers in this way secures revenue for HP OEM supplies while offering a different value proposition to customers to reduce the likelihood that they would want to use aftermarket supplies due to lower prices. However, the supplies that are part of the program right now are not readily available in the aftermarket since they are very new supplies. Customers have often complained about the cost of ink and we think HP is offering this to appease some of these complaints by offering the opportunity for significant supplies savings. By joining forces with Condé Nast and other scheduled delivery partners, HP is finding unique and creative ways for customers to print more which is the ultimate goal. This is just a test. We look forward to seeing if this resonates with businesses or home users.

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