As the country tries to emerge from one of the worst economic downturns in history, retailers are still feeling the effects. Consumers are being careful with their money and the retailers themselves have to be wise in their investments. They need to draw in customers and get them to spend once inside. One of the most effective—and relatively inexpensive—ways to do this is by using Point-of-Purchase (POP) signage.
Wide-Format Imaging recently spoke with representatives from POP manufacturers to find out how they are helping retailers in these tough times. New innovations, reduced costs, and quicker turnaround times are all hot topics. Digital printing, sustainable products, and new substrates are also key issues.
The experts interviewed for this story are: Jim Moore, The Special Projects Group, a Division of Art Laminating, LLC, Atlanta, GA; George Kern, Grafix Solutions Inc., Sayreville, NJ; Erik Landrowski, NGS Printing, Elgin, IL; Dan Kimmerly and Maureen Gumbert, KDM P.O.P. Solutions Group, Cincinnati, OH; Doug Mier, FastSigns, Louisville, KY; and Herm Kauls and Cathy Campbell, Graphic Systems, Minneapolis, MN.
How has the POP signage business changed in the last 12 months?
Kauls/Campbell: You could say that the print industry was a commodity, where people were just taking quotes. But that type of business doesn’t exist much anymore. You have to be more upstream working with a customer before it gets to the print buyer, and actually be working with a marketing team in providing solutions along the way. It’s all about being a solutions provider.
Kern: The POP displays/signage itself has grown tremendously over the past 12 months mainly because of the economic situation that the retail market has suffered through. The advertisers know that their clients brands need to be pushed hard during these times and they are looking for every creative outlet available to them. POP signage is one of the best mediums they have at their disposal.
Kimmerly/Gumbert: Obviously, the recession has been a large factor. While we have had an increase in the number of quote requests, the size of the average quote is down. The trend also continues to be shorter lead times. Thus, the amount of our digital printing has increased. That has allowed us to move forward with purchases such as our new digital flatbed HP Scitex FB7500, increasing our productivity and our customers’ speed to market.
Landrowski: We are seeing a much higher volume of short-run projects, an increased amount of customization in larger projects and a demand for litho-quality work, no matter what substrate was chosen. To meet this demand we recently purchased the Inca Onset. It is already changing the way our clients look at flatbed digital printing.
Mier: We’re doing a lot of digital printing. We’re working with a national grocery chain that has these metal deli cases, so we’re printing on magnetic media. We print the Boar’s Head logo and Boar’s Head type face onto a mag and it’s a perfect fit. The cool part about this is they don’t have to worry about blank shelf danglers or paper inserts. It’s an absolute full-color image that lays perfectly flat, and if they want to move the Boar’s Head to the other side of the deli case, the sign comes up and goes back down cleanly.
Moore: The type of quotes we are receiving has changed. We are getting quotes for much smaller quantities and quicker turnaround times. With the shift in the economy, customers are much more price conscience and are looking for more economical ways to produce jobs quickly.
What are the hot new trends regarding methods and materials available for POPs?
Kauls/Campbell: We’re doing a lot more floor and window graphics. Floor graphics are tending to be a little bit more of a trend that we’re seeing. Magnetic walls are something that we have been working on for a couple of years. Retailers can put their background environments in the back, and then three to five layers of magnets on top. It’s very inexpensive.