Commercial printers know what it takes to reinvent themselves. Although smaller in numbers today, they are a resilient bunch. Twenty years ago digital printing technology revolutionized the printing industry; personalization and print on demand became commonplace and grew at the expense of offset.
Then came the Internet and the economic slowdown in 2007, creating a perfect storm that put pressure on everyone in the industry. But many survived and came out of it knowing what it takes to leverage new technologies into business success.
For packaging, the adoption of digital print will enable many commercial printers to get into a new application space. It won’t be easy, but for the pioneers out there among us there are certainly opportunities, and the rewards that go with early adoption. There are packaging applications that commercial printers can address today…and prepare for the future.
Consider the following applications that have been successfully addressed by commercial printers entering the packaging space:
- Direct Marketing Utilizing Dimensional Mailers. This application combines the concepts of marketing services and direct mail using personalized folding cartons to improve lead generation and conversion rates. Design and 3D visualization software are readily available to begin the work process, digital color presses can accommodate the print; and die-cutting, coating, creasing, folding functions can be done in-house or outsourced. This type of application has the benefit of not taking printers too far out of their comfort zone and is an excellent place to begin to get engaged in packaging.
- Short Run Packaging for New Products. In many communities entrepreneurs are ready to go market, and all they need is an eye-popping package. Existing digital color presses are perfect for many kinds of labeling and short run packaging applications. Combine this with the marketing and promotional savvy many printers posses, and your off and running. Use QR Codes on the package to create a unique online experience for customers and offer promotional coupons to stimulate demand.
- Web-to-Print Packaging. If the opportunity isn’t in your local market, think about adding packaging as a web-to-print application where any brand can use it. For example, coffee producers and microbreweries need packaging and labels. You can meet this need by developing a website with packaging and label templates that allow customers to customize products for their brand, proof online, and place orders.
- Prototyping, Market Testing & Regional Marketing. Large consumer product companies like P&G, Nestle, and Mars, don’t need to exclusively work with large packaging and converting companies. Think about prototyping, test markets and regional market specials. The converters that normally serve large CPC’s struggle with short runs, and this a perfect way to engage with large customers to provide a unique value added service.
- Labels. Labels are another excellent way to enter the packaging space. Digital color presses handle many of the substrates, color fidelity, and volume requirements demanded by brand owners. Where the learning curve gets steeper is in the post processing needed to cut, strip and adhere the label to the container. While this isn’t easy, print vendors that are focused on this space can help you, and outsourcing parts of the work process is always an option.
These are but a few examples of how commercial printers can take advantage of the growing opportunities in packaging and labels. PODi and Caslon are working on case studies to educate the market, so if you know of any that you think might be of interest, or have a success story you’d like to use to promote your business, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s talk.
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