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  • Wide-Format Printing Opportunities Continue to Expand for Commercial Printers

    Posted on Piworld.com by Denise M. Gustavson

    Interior décor printing — like on the coffee table in this photo
    Interior décor printing — like on the coffee table in this photo

    "While Idealliance’s senior VP and chief economist Andrew Paparozzi says the market is poised for growth in 2017, commercial printers need to be smart, savvy and strategic when looking to expand their service offerings. The landscape of the printing industry has changed. It’s no longer segmented. Signage is no longer the purview only of sign shops any more than direct marketing programs are only for commercial printers. Differentiation is key to growth.

    “The commercial printing market has become very competitive with pricing, and margins are on the decline. Commercial printers are looking for ways to expand their business and improve both their top and bottom lines in the process,” says Tom Wittenberg, marketing manager, the Americas - Sign & Display, Graphic Solutions Business, HP Inc. “Wide-format printing is a prime opportunity to do exactly that.”

    But what makes digital wide-format inkjet printing such a lucrative opportunity? The numbers don’t lie. According to industry reports, while the growth rates within the wide-format market vary widely, the market, on average, is growing at approximately 10% to 12%.

    “Wide-format continues to be a profitable segment with margins that are typically unheard of in the commercial printing space,” comments Randy Paar, manager, marketing - Display Graphics, Large Format Solutions (LFS), at Canon Solutions America. “Adding wide-format to their current offerings allows commercial printers to quickly and easily leverage their existing customer base and fulfill existing outsourced volumes for cost savings and improvement in turnaround times,” he notes.

    “Many commercials printers have enjoyed the steady growth rate [the wide-format industry] garners as opposed to what has been a fairly flat offset printing [market],” comments Heather Roden, product marketing manager, Acuity Series, Fujifilm North America, Graphic Systems Div. Roden adds that commercial printers find the transition fairly easy as they are able to supplement or up-sell the offerings they have to their existing customer bases.

    “We have found that, in most cases, current customers of commercial printers are also buying wide-format printing along with offset,” agrees Christopher Guyett, sales and marketing coordinator, Large Format & Label Printing Business, at Durst Image Technology U.S. “Wide-format printing allows commercial printers to capture this business with their current clients without having to hire a new sales force to gain this additional revenue. This business is smaller, generally lower in revenue, but higher in profit than offset printing.

    According to Guyett, many times these jobs are add-ons to larger offset projects; because of this they are less subject to bidding and multiple quotes. This capability also makes commercial printers more valuable to their clients, he adds.

    As technology becomes more accessible, many PSPs have expanded their offerings to include services that would otherwise traditionally be outsourced, says Michael Maxwell, senior manager, Sign Graphics Business Development & Marketing, Mimaki USA. “Commercial printers seem to be experiencing this trend more quickly due to the advances not only in engineering and chemistry, but also the ability of more media to support inkjet printing methods. Image quality, media compatibility and ink chemistry combinations have improved color gamut and repeatability, enabling digital printers to offer digitally-produced, short-run items such as business cards, point-of-purchase/point-of-sale (POP/POS) or posters at competitive prices.

    “The ability to turn these short-run jobs out — along with other offerings such as vehicle graphics, exterior signage or decals with the same look and feel — has increased their popularity amongst digital PSPs and their customers.”

    For those shops still on the proverbial fence about investing in an entirely new business — along with new competitors and processes — there are ways to ease into the wide-format printing market. POP/POS has proven to be one of the best application sets for commercial printers. This includes posters, banners, backlit signage, window graphics, as well as wall and floor graphics"... [Read more at Piworld.com]