UV Wide-Format Printing: How quality, turnaround time and versatility create uniquely profitable opportunities White Paper Series Table of Contents Digital wide-format graphics printing–inkjet imaging on When companies become more proactive about expanding printers above 24 inches wide–is not a new development their offerings, they often find the value wide-format printing in the graphic arts industry, and printing companies should can bring. Industry organizations such as InfoTrends cite the not overlook the opportunity. According to a 2013 study from strong and continued growth opportunity, with wide-format InfoTrends, 39.4% of wide-format print buyers get their work printing having an estimated retail value of $18.7 billion in from general commercial printing firms ."1 North America in 2013 and a 7.9% compound annual growth rate through 2016.
"Wide Format Printing: A Critical Element in the Communica- tions Mix, InfoTrends, July 2013 North American Digital Wide Format:
Retail Value of Print
Source: InfoTrends In a recent article2, industry analyst Marco Boer of I.T. Printing companies doing direct mail, brochures and other Strategies points out that wide-format printing can be an marketing collateral have an opportunity to expand into retail especially attractive opportunity for commercial printing point-of-purchase (P-O-P) signage and become more of a firms looking to add a popular niche. "Retail pricing for wide one-stop resource for business marketers and advertising format graphics output remains quite high for small volumes agencies.
of output," he states, noting that average retail selling prices In a market where mobile media are an ever-growing are around $6.00 per square foot.
presence, signage is ideal for introducing businesses to "Statistically," Boer says, "well under 10% of commercial consumers in highly visible placements while driving those printers offer wide format graphics printing services today." consumers to online marketing experiences with QR Codes Boer states it is key to get into a given local market before and augmented reality applications.
competing commercial printers do. For those that do, he Implementing a successful wide-format strategy is simpler notes, "expanding services to include wide format graphics than many would expect. It might start with a printing printing is among the lowest-risk and highest incremental company working to expand its existing customers' profit opportunities accessible." marketing into signage applications. Then there are also opportunities to bring in new customers, using relatively Boer, Marco. Wide Format Graphics Printing: The Numbers turnkey UV printing systems that offer high quality and fast Speak Loud and Clear for those with the First Mover Advantage, ebruary 6, 2013.
turnaround times.
2 Who are my customers, and how does my business meet their needs? Many printing companies choose to add wide-format printing 312-square-foot per hour speed as opposed to a four-pass, because it is an adjacent need for their current customer 547-square-foot per hour speed—agencies, in particular, base. These print businesses may have customers who buy appreciate the imaging quality.
signage and other large-format graphics from someone else. "Quality is pretty important to us, so we run everything at For one printing company, Indianapolis-based Allegra highest settings," explains CC West Vice President James Castleton, adding wide-format signage with an EFI digital Diorio. "That results in slower speeds on turnaround, but inkjet printer was an important, consultative extension customers are pickier than ever. Unlike billboard printing, of services. "Our clients are looking to us for new ideas," where it is 200 feet away, this is up-close viewing work explains the business's co-owner, John Long. "Maybe we're doing, and the higher quality has to be there." they've bought a new building and want new signage to Quality demands aside, in some cases, agencies will promote themselves, or even need new graphics for the purchase wide-format output without having an extensive interior. They come to us because of the reputation we have background in wide-format graphics. Those situations already established with them providing print and mailing, present an ideal opportunity for a printing company to be but they want a one-stop solution." more of a consultative partner to the customer.
In those cases, winning new work becomes easier. "Agency people are as varied as you can imagine," notes one "Customers have told us they don't have time to get bids printing company owner, Greg Smith of Vector Printing in from everybody," Long explains. "If you can understand the Chattanooga, Tenn. "There are people who probably know process and understand their pains and offer them solutions, as much about out-of-home as you do. But sometimes you it puts you at the top of the list." have someone who knows how to buy a print ad but has Ad agencies, particularly those that regularly handle no clue about P-O-P, and if you can help that agency person out-of-home billboard and signage media purchasing, navigate and look intelligent in front of his or her client, then may represent a new niche of customers. Those types of you have hit a home run." customers are likely to be very concerned with print quality, While the opportunity to teach customers works in printing and the newer UV inkjet wide-format printers are more than companies' favor, sometimes it is the printing company, and up to the task. They offer the high-productivity throughput not the customer, that needs to learn about a new market. and image durability needed to handle distance-viewing Allegra Castleton's John Long found this to be true soon outdoor media applications while also offering higher- after installing a wide-format printer. resolution indoor-viewing options for close-viewing work.
"The biggest thing for us was that we had to learn how to Much of the agency work that CC West Printing in look to other markets, such as retail," says Long. "We were Austin, Texas, produces is indoor retail signage. Although so used to talking about brochures and direct mail pieces, this work requires a compromise in speed–running an and we had to coach ourselves on talking point of purchase." EFI wide-format rol -to-roll UV printer at an eight-pass, Looking for opportunities? You'll find them everywhere.
In addition to the traditional out-of-home advertising billboard the opportunity can be lucrative, with a large amount of market, there are many target markets to consider for repeat business.
wide-format printing, including event marketers, trade In a chain fast-food restaurant, for example, start with the show organizers, malls and retail businesses—as well as fact that each restaurant may have 15 printed pieces on a other businesses and organizations that often need exterior menu board. "Each one is probably a piece of styrene that's signage and indoor décor, such as banks, colleges and printed with high-resolution UV inks and costs $5 to $10 churches. Plus, in some parts of the country, real estate each," explains Smith. "They're changing that signage out is beginning to come back as a market for wide-format once a month or once every three months.
"Then you go through the drive-through, and you might have In each of these markets, it comes down to seeing 15 or 20 pieces, and in the window you might have five or opportunities and then grooming prospects to win the job. six pieces," Smith adds. "The good thing is that these will But with wide format, many people don't see the myriad change six or eight times a year." opportunities right in front of their faces.
There is also a great deal of work with transit agencies. "There's just a ton of this type of work out there, and if Vector Printing, for example, serves brokers who sell transit you start looking for it, you'll see it everywhere," explains work in Miami, Minneapolis and New York, and the work Vector Printing's Greg Smith. "Go to the mall or drive by any ranges from subway posters on self-adhesive media to restaurant, and you'll see that P-O-P is huge." signage for buses, transit shelters and telephone kiosks.
A large portion of Vector Printing's business is P-O-P Bus signage is some of the most enduring transit work signage for fast-food/quick service restaurant chains. Those available. The 30x144-inch bus "king," 30x88-inch "queen" businesses often pool a portion of their revenues in a and 30x42-inch "tail" ads Vector prints on adhesive vinyl particular region to create marketing co-ops responsible for rotate every 30 days for a lot of repeat business. rolling out new menus and signage designs.
"It is all very common advertising. You see it every day but There is great variety in the type of work Vector produces for just don't think about it," says Smith. "But there are transit these firms, including window clings, magnetic for window agencies and businesses such as Clear Channel that are boards, posters, banners and floor graphics. Although getting buying that advertising every day, and buying lots of it." in with this type of customer requires effort and dedication, 3 Build a base of work, and then jump in.
Ideally, a printing company will take the time to learn the flatbed/roll format for greater flexibility. "Board printers and lingo of signage and P-O-P sales before installing the printer. UV printers can print on nearly everything, so it gives you Print professionals can build their expertise in the subject— lots of flexibility," explains Diorio. "We've especially fallen and improve the ROI of their print device—by securing a in love with UV because it allows you to print on so many steady, initial stream of large-format work and brokering it things. Solvent printers are great, but you need specialty out at first.
media. With UV, you can print on expensive or lower-cost "When we started with wide format, we brokered work out until we had some volume," says CC West's Diorio. In addition to the versatility UV inkjet offers in terms of "That way, there was work on our printer as soon as it was substrate compatibility, having a well-designed hybrid roll/ flatbed format printer was perhaps the most important factor When it becomes time to purchase a printer, printing in Allegra Castleton's return on investment.
companies can realistically expect to pay off a production Says Allegra's Long about his company's move into wide- device in about 18 months. According to Diorio, having a format printing, "We found we had to make adjustments to base of work established before the printer is installed can projects on labor. That's what got us into the EFI wide-format help shorten that time to as little as 12 months. UV hybrid printer. It took a tremendous amount of labor cost Another big tip for printing companies getting started in out of the equation." wide format: Consider starting with UV printing in a hybrid 4 Wide format has a small learning curve.
One of the biggest advantages of wide-format printing is Some printing companies find the switch to digital inkjet to its relatively short learning curve. Although it is important be quite easy. "If you buy the right equipment and acquire to network and find experienced contract installers for the the expertise, it is a piece of cake," exclaims Vector Printing's different types of jobs produced (e.g., billboards, point-of- purchase, and building and vehicle wraps), when it comes Another advantage: Customers who are experienced in to in-house production, most printing companies already buying wide-format printing will send good files that require have expertise in managing digital files for offset or digital little re-work in pre-press. Vector Printing, for example, has press work. Handling files for wide-format printing does been successful as a dedicated wide-format shop without not require a whole new set of skills, and operating the having dedicated design staff in its prep department. equipment does not have to be as complex a task as running "Everything we get comes in ready to print," Smith explains. analog equipment, such as screen printers or offset presses.
"Sometimes have to tweak files, but in general we don't have to do design work." Survey data highlight signage's appeal.
When it comes to attracting customers, good signage is the The "What's Your Sign?" survey of American consumers way to go for small businesses, according to a 2012 survey measured the attraction power of signage and its impact on commissioned and released by FedEx Office. shoppers' intent to visit a store, make a purchase and more.
• Nearly 8 in 10 (76%) consumers say they have entered • More than two-thirds (68%) of consumers believe a store they have never visited based on its signs.
that a store's signage is reflective of the quality of its • Almost 7 in 10 (68%) consumers surveyed say they products or services.
have purchased a product or service because a sign • Poor signage can deter consumers from entering a caught their eye.
store. Over half (52%) of respondents say they are • Three out of four consumers say they have told less wil ing to enter a store if they spot misspel ings or someone about a store simply based on its signage.
poorly made signs.
Source: FedEx Office Survey Finds Effective Signage Critical to Store Sales, Printing Impressions, May 14, 2012. 5 Quality is table stakes, turnaround drives sales.
Although agencies may be adept at providing clean, well- "It is amazing how fast this has become," says Smith. With designed files, they definitely expect quality print results. large customers such as fast food franchises, "You used In fact, high quality is often the first thing a printer must be to have 12-15 days do all the signs for a particular market. able to offer.
Now people ask for next-day turnaround on a job that takes "Quality is the most important factor because I work with at least four hours just to print. FTP sites are critical in this so many agencies that would push back if we weren't giving environment. Everything is going online. We see it every top-of-the-line prints," explains CC West's Diorio. day, and it really impacts our business." Fortunately, the quality he gets with his wide-format Likewise, at CC West Printing, "Clients are looking for equipment also gives him a competitive advantage. "Our turnaround times," according to Diorio. "It is what we customers look at other providers, particularly online are most known for. We get lots of next-day/same-day providers, and think they can try to get things faster and cheaper," he says, "but we're trying to emphasize the best Turnaround time is a competitive differentiator for some quality, and I think we can sell on that quality." customers at Allegra Castleton. "When we work with event While quality is the first thing Smith says his customers marketers, turnaround time is very critical," says Long. "It are looking for at Vector Printing, it is followed closely by might be a situation where a customer tells us, ‘There's a turnaround time.
race coming up this weekend, and we need new sponsor signs and new banners as soon as possible.'" Purchasing Goals
For the company that you prefer for wide format prints, why did you choose this provider? Best prices
Fastest turnaround time
Good/efficient customer service
Best quality of products
Knowledgeable staff
Convenient store locations
Wide range of products/services
Expert design help available
Can integrate signage with digital media channels
Three Responses Permitted N = 536 Wide Format Buyers Source: Wide Format Printing: A Critical Element in the Communications Mix, InfoTrends 2013 6 Real-world results.
Although wide format is thought to complement commercial For many companies, the fact that wide-format work is not print and direct mail, it is priced very differently. For many as price sensitive as other printing makes all the difference. printing companies, wide format can be an escape route "It is really about more than price in this market," explains from commoditized, low-margin work.
Smith. "Most of the people we work for know that if we Given that turnaround time is often the most important aren't making decent money, we won't stay in business, and concern, meeting tight deadlines at CC West means that they are fair about it. I hear some people in the sheet-fed "you can price your work to make it worthwhile to you," says offset market talk about beating each other up over price. Diorio.
But with wide format, there is some margin still in our The margin available with work printed on unusual, rigid substrates is part of the reason his company likes having "Wide format complements our existing work, but it has flatbed UV printing capabilities.
also become the growing part of our business," says Allegra While some of the more common wide-format substrates, Castleton's Long. "Commercial print has been flat. Although such as Sintra PVC foam board, do not carry as much pricing wide format is still competitive, it is not as price sensitive, flexibility, "We print on materials like metals and woods," and it offers some tremendous margin possibilities." says Diorio. "And when you are the only person in town who can print on wood, you can charge more." 303 Velocity Way Auto-Count, BioVu, BioWare, ColorWise, Command WorkStation, Digital StoreFront, DocBuilder, DocBuilder Pro, DocStream, EDOX, the EFI logo, Electronics For Imaging, Fabrivu, Fiery, Foster City, CA 94404 the Fiery logo, Inkware, Jetrion, MicroPress, OneFlow, PressVu, Printellect, PrinterSite, PrintFlow, PrintMe, PrintSmith Site, Prograph, RIP-While-Print, UltraVu and VUTEk are registered trademarks of Electronics for Imaging, Inc. in the U.S. and/or certain other countries. BESTColor is a registered trademark of Electronics for Imaging GmbH in the U.S. The APPS logo, AutoCal, Balance, ColorPASS, Dynamic Wedge, EFI, Estimate, Fast-4, Fiery Driven, the Fiery Driven logo, Fiery Link, Fiery Prints, Fiery Spark, the Fiery Prints logo, FreeForm, Hagen, the Jetrion logo, Logic, Pace, Printcafe, the PrintMe logo, PrintSmith, Print to Win, PSI, PSI Flexo, Rastek, the Rastek logo, RIPChips, SendMe, Splash, Spot-On, UltraPress, UltraTex, UV Series 50, VisualCal, the VUTEk logo and WebTools are trademarks of Electronics for Imaging, Inc. in the U.S. and/or certain other countries. Best, the Best logo, Colorproof, PhotoXposure, Remoteproof, and Screenproof are trademarks of Electronics for Imaging GmbH in the U.S. and/or certain other countries. All other terms and product names may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners, and are hereby acknowledged 2013 Electronics For Imaging


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