While digital retail signs are an up and coming trend—market research firm iSuppi Corp., in its report "Economic Downturn Impacts Growth of Signage and Professional Market", projects global shipments of retail digital signs are set to rise to 2.5 million units by 2013, a 26.8 percent CAGR from...
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"Digital large-format printing is providing retailers with new ways to build store/brand awareness through new applications or cost effective short runs of conventional applications," says Randy Paar, Display Graphics Marketing Manager, Océ North America, a Canon Group Company. "Shops can now cost effectively 'localize' graphics to promote what drives sales in that region or to a particular demographic."
Elmhurst, IL-based Tree Towns Reprographics installed an Océ ColorWave 600 printer to tap into the retail business. Focusing on small businesses in the local area that required up-to-the-minute pricing, special promotions and limited-time offers to drive customer sales, Tree Towns was able to significantly increase its business. The ColorWave 600 is an integral part of the sell to retailers making it easy for the print provider to produce appealing, customized short-term signage, while minimizing turnaround time.
"Digital print is a big thing in retail signage," acknowledges Bill Schober, editorial director, Path to Purchase Institute, formerly the In-Store Marketing Institute. "Now, whether you're a three-store chain or a retail chain with 5,000 stores, you can target your signage hyper-locally. At the mega-store level, brands like Nestlés can do things they would only dream of 10 years ago. Before, you could do change-outs on a high-volume run, but it would add a lot of cost. Now, because of digital, Nestlé can customize its signage campaigns for Pure Life water and print 25 different runs of 1,000, changing out a t-shirt on a hiker, for example, depending on which college is located nearby or which vacation spot is near. These are ideas that have been percolating in the industry for awhile, but now POP printers have the equipment to do it in an efficient way.
Of course, the quality of the output available from digital wide-format printers has also contributed to their popularity "The wide-format POP display graphic market is moving from screen and offset to high speed inkjet due to demand for shorter runs, faster turnaround and lower cost," says Terry Mitchell, Director of Marketing, Fujifilm Sericol. "Inkjet quality has also improved with the advent of more accurate drop placement, nozzle mapping software, full width array printing and choice of finish from satin to gloss."
At UniGraphic, the Inca Onset S40, distributed exclusively by Fujifilm, will print large format point of purchase displays that could easily have required 40 hours of offset press time, tying up production time for a week and causing the shop to turn away other work. The S40 has the ability to run six colors (four plus light magenta and light cyan), allowing UniGraphic to match PMS and brand colors.
"The increasingly better image quality available with large-format inkjet plus the ability to print with white ink is broadening the range of retail POP applications for which inkjet is suited," says Océ North America's Parr. "For example, backlit images were always done photographically but now can be produced on a large-format inkjet just as well and at less cost than before."
Dallas-based Superior Graphics, an all-digital provider of retail POP graphics for local and national customers, installed Agfa's :Jeti 3020 Titan, a high-speed UV flatbed inkjet, in November. Superior works with companies of all sizes; some are local convenience chains with 20-80 stores in their operations, while some are large brands that place displays in 200 different locations.
The Titan joins a wide-format arsenal that includes Espon and Océ printers. In addition to using the Titan for its oversized graphics, Superior received an extra benefit from the printer.