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How HP used shopping community to test printer series directly with users

How HP used shopping community to test printer series directly with users

Best practice from Ciao


HP developed its new energy efficient Officejet pro 8000 and 8500 printer series in response to the need for businesses to reduce their carbon footprints. The eco-friendly printers are particularly notable for their energy consumption, which is around 50% lower than the majority of laser printers on the market.

The multi-function devices also have a variety of features including automatic document introduction, copying, scanning and fax capabilities.

At a cost of around 600 Euros, the Officejet pro provides an efficient and cost-effective solution for both SMEs and larger organisations looking for a good value solution that is also environmentally sound.

Strategy and implementation

The internet has become a trusted tool for shoppers looking for product purchasing advice. HP wanted to find a way to engage directly with its end user and gauge their opinions and perspective on the new product before its formal launch. By doing so, HP aimed both to improve the product and also to increase brand loyalty from its target audience.

With this in mind HP embarked upon an innovative review project with, the German arm of Ciao, Europe’s largest online shopping portal. The objective was to generate user involvement through an exclusive partner integration and call to action giving users the chance to pre-test products.

Ciao community members – from printing enthusiasts to business owners and the man-on-the-street – were invited to put themselves forward for selection as one of ten members who would trial the new 8000 and 8500 series for free ahead of the product launch, creating their own product reviews which would then be made available on the Ciao portal.

Competition to take part was fierce among the Ciao community. Those selected were given the chance to put the new printer series through its paces for two weeks to see whether it lived up to its energy saving and multi-functional claims.


Bringing the Ciao community on board was an inventive way for HP to include everyday life experiences and evaluations from the people who would ultimately form the product’s target market.  The brand engaged with its users at every stage of the campaign, creating a genuine and valuable two-way dialogue to increase interaction and positive perception of the brand.

“Each Ciao member is both a consumer and an independent expert at the same time,” says Ben Rodrian, Head of Sales Advertising at,,

“Our project has been well received by the Ciao community with members becoming really excited about the prospect of taking part in a unique review programme. For us, the feedback has been invaluable in helping gauge consumer reaction to the new product range.”

Key benefits of the campaign for HP included:
• Positive image development among its target audience
• More chances to communicate with the consumer, creating a genuine two-way relationship and increased brand recognition
• Honest, direct-from-user feedback


Research released from analyst houses and third parties in recent months has clearly demonstrated the value that consumers place on peer recommendation over marketing or sales sources.

Learning from this trend and using online communities to engage directly with their audiences gives brands the chance to show that they are open to new ideas and that the views of customers sit at the heart of their product development process.

For HP, the success of the product test and review programme means that non-specialist business and consumer shoppers can now be provided with objective and reliable recommendations from reviewers within a community they trust.

The reviews written by the Ciao members during the trial period are soon to be published in text and video formats on the Ciao portal, alongside the formal empirical tests carried out by the HP team.

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