Packaging Opens Up to New Possibilities
In today’s changing landscape for digital printing, the word “packaging” brings an immediate reaction: “upside potential.” Why?
Digital is the perfect solution to packaging trends: limited quantities, frequent promotions, shorter product cycles, increased personalization, versatility in substrates.
There are two more happy associations between packaging and digital printing that sometimes get overlooked. First, unlike some types of printed material, packaging is not being displaced by digital documents…and it’s not going to be. Second, packaging is becoming a critical component of multi-channel communication programs that take advantage of variable data printing, PURLs and security enhancements.
Defining the opportunities
The first thing that comes into most folks’ minds when they hear the word packaging is product. And product is certainly a key driver for digital printing in several areas, whether the output is a box, wrap or label. “Packaging is essential to capturing that first moment of truth—the three seconds or so it takes a consumer to notice a product on the shelf,” says Sam Wilson, Associate Publisher of BrandPackaging.com. “That instant presents an incredible marketing opportunity.”
What’s it mean for digital printers? The obvious application is boxes…and more boxes…all sizes and shapes…for retail display, mailing, wrapping a product. Wraps in particular offer a huge opportunity right now for efficiently personalizing and customizing packaging.
Then there’s direct mail. Within this category alone, there are dimensional mailings, flat mailings, boxes, wraps, and custom containers…the more personalized, the better.
In direct mail, a key industry to look at is the financial market. Direct mail marketing of annuities has skyrocketed. Direct mail for IRAs rose robustly in early 2012. Why? It’s all about the baby boomers. Focus on financial needs—especially retirement—and offer your customers new packaging and direct mail solutions.
Some additional market segments showing big potential for packaging:
- Private label food/product samples
- Personal care products
- Pharmaceutical boxes
“We do several different-sized boxes, box wraps, and custom wallets for product display,” says Christine Alexander from Metropolitan Printing Service. “Our clients include bath and body suppliers as well as medical devices. The bath and body industry is brand new business to us this year, and we have seen a steady growth in boxes for the medical device companies we work with.”
The 5 things that differentiate you from others hot on the trend
1. Quality/range of digital substrates. Think boxes and short-run packaging forms from Mohawk Dimensional products: gift boxes, wine bottle boxes, even golf ball sleeves…all ready to run, pop, fold, and go. The printed templates are easy to store flat, so your customer can use them one at a time.
Synthetic materials are great any time you need something that’s tear and water resistant…look to these for wraps and flexible packaging.
2. Your ability to manage variable data. Showcase personalization, multiple languages, targeted markets. Demonstrate your expertise in incorporating packaging components in a wider marketing campaign to clients: VDP, DM, PURLs…all paired with packaging.
3. Brand protection strategies. Clear and UV fluorescent toners and inks/security features are easily added through in-line or near-line digital solutions. And many digital presses can match corporate spot colors to further ensure brand consistency.
4. Time and quantity solutions. “Timing and quantity are what drove us to use the digital press” says Metropolitan Printing’s Alexander. “One healthcare client needed some product wraps in a five-day turn time, and they only needed about 500 total for the initial run. The client was so pleased with the quality, timeliness, and price point that we have produced several runs of this particular piece.”
5. Samples that show what digital can do. When you’re doing a job for a client, ask if you can print a few extras to use as examples with prospects. Digital makes it easy to accumulate a library of samples. “We really were able to grow our digital and packaging work with existing relationships just because we were there when the opportunity arose,” says Christine.
Tips for Successful Selling to Packaging Prospects
- Emphasize the advantages of digital front and center. Every emerging demand in packaging, from increased personalization to shorter product cycles, brings up a digital advantage. What advantages does digital offer your clients?
- Packaging customers often need specialty substrates. Today, virtually all of them can be cost-effectively printed on a digital press.
- Don’t forget the basics: Packaging means boxes, and Mohawk offers an array of easy-to-assemble options.
- Print extra samples of each job and keep them handy for cross-selling opportunities.
Whether you're new to the world of digital print or are looking to brush up on your knowledge, having a basic understanding of how to design for digital is critical.