Color Printing for Retail Stands Up to E-commerce
If you haven't noticed, retail is undergoing a revolution. E-commerce has quickly stolen the limelight from conventional brick-and-mortar stores by introducing a more convenient and dynamic experience. Add a splash of lower overhead with a sprinkling of automation, and it's plain to see why e-commerce carries an advantage over its earthbound cousin.
How can physical retail compete with its online counterpart? All you need is a little innovation. Specifically, color printing for retail innovation. On second thought, maybe counter innovation is a better description. If e-commerce succeeds because of its cost savings and agility, color printing may be the bridge needed to bring these same qualities to brick-and-mortar retail.
The need for change
We're all acquainted with the idea that attention spans, in general, have decreased — almost like a fast-burning candle wick. Every outlet, from Fast Company to The New York Times, has written about it. Blame television, the internet or the smartphone in your pocket, but the phenomenon is real. This is a big reason why people turn to online shopping. You can check into e-commerce marketplaces every day and enjoy something new. A physical store requires more effort.
In an attempt to compete with audiences craving a new experience every time they visit, brick-and-mortar operations need a better way to keep their look fluid and engaging. Changing signage with the seasons just isn't enough anymore. This is where new color printing technology comes into play.
In an online setting, a few hours with Adobe Photoshop and a couple of clicks on your WordPress page can change the entire look of your business. Using HP's PageWide technology, you could create the same effect in about the same amount of time. Considering that 90% of spur-of-the-moment product decisions are made based on color alone — you'll likely reach for the green salad packaging before picking up the brown one — maintaining the ability to adjust your store's color on a whim is pretty handy.
Color printing and your bottom line
Printing reams of paper to keep your store's image fresh and engaging is great, but taking out a small loan to pay for it isn't. The cost of color ink is why printing by store location or spur of the moment was often cost-prohibitive. As valid as those arguments once were, they’re not anymore.
Traditional printers have proven restrictive due to costs or capabilities to serve in-house retail creative needs successfully. Newer printers, such as the aforementioned PageWide, can churn out accurate color copy faster than a web page refresh — and for 40% less cost than laser technology.
Take, for example, a regional store looking to put its own spin on marketing material. Tackling content in-house not only costs less than hiring an outside firm, but undoubtedly requires less red tape to cut through. In addition, the ability to produce marketing materials in-house, for a fraction of what was once possible, provides new opportunities to engage customers.
After all, personalization is key to stopping power, and dynamic content is one of the best ways to get there. Perhaps you want to promote the local sports team during championship weekend. Maybe you'd like to encourage customer loyalty with personalized in-store offers based on purchasing habits. The idea is to keep your image fresh and engaging at a personal level without breaking the bank. Color printing is an efficient way to do that while maintaining a professional look and feel.
At the end of the day, e-commerce is a great platform to reach a wide audience with little overhead. That said, it doesn't have to be the death knell to your physical business. By using color printing for retail innovation, you can piggyback on the attributes of e-commerce that make it appealing: engaging, dynamic, low-cost content.