New printer technologies, inks, substrates, and processes have encouraged many print service providers to tap into potential markets and to increase profits by venturing into the trade show and exhibit market. These advances have also increased the capabilities and profit potential for those that have made a name for themselves in the industry. Our experts weigh in on the advances and technology and offer advice on how a PSP may increase business and profit through the trade show market.
What are the most important recent additions in technologies that help to enhance productivity and quality in creating trade show and exhibit signage? According to Barry Polan, vice president of sales at Coloredge, digital signage gives PSPs a real edge in this market segment. “We recently introduced a line of digital signage and content distribution for retail POP, quick service restaurant, and event signage,” says Polan. “This new technology allows for video and still images to be displayed on very slim screens and/or through projection. With this new technology client’s can customize content and imagery for specific events, campaigns and regions. Real time feedback linking imagery to sales results can be generated from the software.”
For Greg Schopmeyer, vice president at Outdoor America Images (OAI), textile and dye sublimation printers have allowed shops to increase their capabilities and bring in more customers.
“There are a lot more dye sublimation printers have come onto the market,” says Schopmeyer. “A lot of the dye sub printers that are coming out are faster, better quality, tighter DPI. It’s changed a lot within the last three years.”
OAI is currently updating its technology and is in the process of installing a new Mimaki dye sub printer in the shop to complement their current equipment. This addition will assist OAI in increasing their capability to produce quality items faster and more economically.
Competition is fiercer than ever, often forcing PSPs to be more aggressive or focused on specific niches such as trade show and exhibit markets.
“Coloredge’s attention is focused on the future of visual media,” says Polan.” We are committed to offering our clients the most cutting edge solution based on their current needs. We recognize that what we do today will likely change in the near future. It is because of this that we are continually focused on new technology and solutions.”
OAI has begun to offer their customers more services to make their purchases complete. This assists clients in getting all of the right materials in one place rather than going from vendor to vendor.
Schopmeyer says, “We’ve brought on more and more on hardware. We’re not just doing the graphic. We can go in and sell the hardware for your entire booth all the way down to the crates that you’ll need and carry bags. It’s very much a one stop shop.”
OAI also offers more than one type of work to expand their catalog for a wide variety of customers. “We also do some flatbed work for exhibits and trade shows. We’re printing direct and I think that’s a technology that’s still developing and has grown leaps and bounds, the ability to print directly onto rigid substrates.”
Every PSP would do well to tap into previously untouched markets if they want to increase their businesses. When it comes to trade show and exhibit markets, Polan suggests tapping into every available market. Schopmeyer gives specific advice on where a PSP might find potential clients.
“There is a trade show for everything,” says Schopmeyer. “The best thing is to tap into your local convention centers, your local large hotels that put on conventions and try to develop relationships with those parties. There’s a ton of information online about trade shows that are coming up, again you can pull up any convention center and they will give you a whole list of trade shows that are coming up. Perhaps it’s good to join certain organizations even if it doesn’t make sense to you but it can put you in touch with suppliers that will be at that particular trade show that you can offer your services to. Those shows can range from just a handful of vendors and suppliers that are exhibiting way up to 500,000 exhibitors.”