If John Lennon was a capitalist (which he wasn’t, was he?), we can almost hear him singing, “Imagine all the profits … .” In the printing business these days, you never know from whence your next dollar may come. As print shops add services and value to buoy profits, sales can be generated...
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There’s also another interesting dynamic to consider: The visual power of print can boost in-store shopper awareness of online offers, driving them to store websites that are rich with promotions. “They’re offering a heck of a lot more online [these days],” pointed out Spieckerman. “There are much broader selections with an ‘endless-aisle’ approach.” But people need to surf the website to see it all, and some shoppers need to be lured online.
Investing in POP
Envisioning the promise of point of purchase (POP), in March of this year $90 million direct mail firm Specialty Print Communications (SPC), Niles, IL, acquired a 49 percent interest in MOTR (Media on the Run) Graphics, a POP and large-format signage business. MOTR now is situated within SPC’s 73,000-square-foot lettershop, which opened three years ago in suburban Chicago.
“It’s a good complement to their business,” said Delia Saboya, who partnered with LeFebvre brothers Adam, Dustin, and Ryan on the venture. “POP ties in with the gift cards and mailings that SPC does. We can wrap the whole project, including signage in stores and [other] retail business,” explained Seboya, a 25-year industry veteran. SPC produced some 100 million pieces of direct mail over the 2011 holiday season, housing a Kodak Prosper S10 inkjet web imprinting press along with a Versamark CS410 as well as half- and full-web presses. The G7-certified shop won a PIA Premier Print Benny award last year for a dimensional business-to-business campaign produced for mobile phone service provider Sprint.
MOTR has decided on a wide-format flatbed printer: HP/Scitex makes the most sense, Seboya explained, because they already have an Indigo press on the production floor.
Last summer, Toronto’s TI Group pursued the POP market by installing a large-format Durst Rho 1000 printer at its SCL facility in Scarborough. “This total investment of $2 million ... solidifies our position as a market leader for POP solutions and positions our company for additional growth in the coming years,” said partner Domenic Rubino.
Peter Spring, TI Group’s sales VP, explained that the Rho 1000 fills a production gap within the firm’s large-format lithography capabilities, which produces up to 73-inch work on a six-color manroland press. (The firm also added a six-color, 40-inch Heidelberg Speedmaster CD 102-6+LX with UV capabilities and Prinect Image Control in late 2008.) The Rho 1000 is a continuous UV-based inkjet system, employing Durst’s Quadro Array printhead technology, with a maximum output of up to 200 4x8-foot boards per hour. “This press also adds significant capacity to our SCL facility, where we have … expanded our scope of services to offer product design, creative support, and kitting,” Spring added.
The stakes are high in the retail space. Retailers and wholesalers such as JCPenney, Lowes, and Walmart are assertive with their price-transparent value propositions, refusing to play high-low pricing games with competitors. The ROI bottom line, said Spieckerman of newmarketbuilders, is that retailers “cannot afford to have customers leave their stores without [making] a purchase.” And that, friends of print, bodes well for presses of all types churning out content in an evolving, ever-changing medium.
Shapely, Dimensional Print
One growing POP trend is cut-out shapes and dimensional printing, said Mike Sherkey, business development director for Cushing, a wide-format printer in Chicago. “We’re getting more cutting requests,” Sherkey noted. The increasing demand made cutting by hand cost-prohibitive, so in February Cushing took delivery of a G3 L2500 cutter from Swiss manufacturer Zund.
Sherkey added that printing on thinner materials also is growing in popularity. Over the holidays, high-impact “.020-inch Styrene is used for POP on racks with Christmas tree clips, for example,” he said. Depending on the application, Cushing’s output comes from one of eight large-format printers it uses. With some 40 full-time employees, the 10,000-square-foot firm houses: two 60-inch Canon imagePROGRAF iPF 9100 12-color inkjets, two 60-inch HP Designjet 5500 models featuring outdoor UV ink, one 98-inch HP Designjet 10000 roll-to-roll banner printer, one 4x8-foot Océ Arizona 550 GT UV flatbed printer, one 42-inch Océ ColorWave 600 plotter (for inexpensive retail, Sherkey pointed out), and one 54-inch Roland DG CammJet for printing and cutting vinyls.