There are a lot of printers going out of business or about to go out of business because they can’t change their business model. Customers no longer walk in and ask for something to be duplicated. The day of commodity printing is over. People no longer need forms to collect information. It is now done on a computer. What print customers now need is help in finding the best way to communicate their message with their customer. The answer isn’t always ink on paper.
A recent report by John Stewart for the NAPL/NAQP found that the average age of a print shop owner was in the mid-50s. They opened their businesses when making a copy required expensive equipment. Today, everyone has a copier attached to their home and business computer. The print services people are buying have changed. Those services aren’t best served by having a walk-in location in a high traffic area.
Printers need to add new services that take advantage of the Internet. One area would be content development for electronic media. Adobe and Quark have released new software will help printers and designers turn their InDesign and Quark files into documents and apps that can be read on iPads, tablets, and smartphones. If the major page layout software developers are taking their businesses into a new electronic direction, printers might want to follow. Adobe has also introduced a line of apps to create content on tablets including a Photoshop type of app. If printers are going to survive and compete they must now learn how to create content that will work in environments other than on paper.
Website development, mobile marketing, QR codes, and other Internet related products can be integrated with print to make a message stronger. Printers will have to learn about and provide these services in some way if they expect to compete in the new electronic communications world.
Printers don’t have to go out of business. They need to evolve their business. That evolution needs to begin today.