Big Picture - March 2017 - 21
It's no revelation that this phenomenon has reached the
graphics business, particularly in the retail and P-O-P
verticals. Print buyers are being squeezed by their own
customers - millennials who are perfectly happy to shop
online, for instance - so they're squeezing you. They want
more for their money - a lot more.
"They need to find that extra bit of engagement from what
they're spending," says Ryan Bishop, director of Boom Studios
(boomstudios.com.au). "They're trying to get more disturbance."
You can't afford to be commoditized, which means you
can't afford to offer a product that's second-best. You can't
afford not to diversify, not to go above and beyond, not to dive
in and find out what your customers want.
CLOSE TO HOME
A 2014 Seattle Times survey found that the majority of
consumers prefer to shop within 10 miles of their home, and
knowing that a store has local ties can often be the differentiator when deciding where to buy.
"We are doing more and more digital, and a lot of that has
come to be because there's much more local marketing going
on at the retail level," says Maureen Gumbert, marketing and
creative team manager at KDM P.O.P. Solutions Group
(kdmpop.com). The Cincinnati-based company has served the
retail market exclusively since its inception in 1970 when they
opened up shop as screen printers. Since then, they've expanded into practically every technology that puts ink onto substrate, from litho to small- and wide-format digital. They've also
put down roots in Cleveland, Atlanta, and Nashville, Tennessee.
But their emphasis on digital is growing; why? Because retailers
want customized messages to target their audience by age,
ethnicity, gender, location, and more. "They're trying to speak
to the people that they're actually selling to ... and digital
printing makes that happen," Gumbert adds.
The localization trend has reached Melbourne, Australia,
too. "I've got 80 stores around Australia, but each one is
different," Bishop says. Print is getting more personalized and,
of course, runs are getting shorter. In the past, he says, "the
store would be built around the print. Now, every store can be
different because your prints can be different."
KDM P.O.P. printed
on corrugated flute
material with an HP
Scitex FB7600 to
create a lifesize
chair for a grocery
'I'D WRAP THAT'
to finish; Robinson says prepress alone takes about 10 days.
KDM Atlanta uses an HP Latex 3000 printer for the window
graphics in both locations; this year's Orlando job called for
3M Scotchcal IJ40 while the double-sided images in New York
were printed on DuraPrint Matte Lightblock Duo.
Another campaign earlier last year featured M&M'S dressed
as "Star Wars" characters; only a graphics installer would stop
and shudder at the dozens of rivets that line the surface
beneath, or the duct onto which the image extends. KDM used
3M Controltac IJ180 and a lot of heat for the textured areas.
Installing graphics in unique areas is a claim to fame for
Eminent Custom Graphics (inkyourride.com) in Ontario,
Canada, too. About 20 percent of the shop's business comes
from providing table wraps, textured wall murals, and more
So, the customer wants different, but how can you offer it
without blowing their budget? One great way to switch it up is
to offer printed graphics on unconventional items, and KDM
Atlanta's Mike Robinson says clients love it. One annual
customer, Mars Brands, is particularly enthusiastic about using
different areas of the store. "They'll wrap anything," says
Robinson, "from air-conditioning ducts to bathrooms doors."
KDM does a massive holiday takeover for M&M'S stores
in Orlando, Florida, and New York every year. The Orlando
storefront is sizeable, with roughly 20 window panels, each
measuring 48 x 96 inches. But to call the shop on New York's
Times Square "large" is like saying chocolate is "satisfying" -
it just doesn't do it justice. Each of the building's three sides
extend about 100 feet wide and four stories tall. Covering the
façade with two-sided window graphics is an enormous
undertaking that takes almost four weeks to plan, from start