by Courtney Saba
Part one of two
A colorful palette or vivid imagery catches the eye when opening the mailbox. Among a sea of B&W envelopes, colors and graphics grab the attention of a consumer.
Print providers in both commercial and in-plant environments benefit from digital envelope printing systems, which bring the advantages of digital—including cost effective short runs, quick turnaround times, and variable capabilities—to the outside of envelopes, often in full color.
Jim Fuchs, product marketing manager, OKI Data Americas, believes it is evident that individuals’ attention increases with the use of color and graphics, especially when the content resonates with the target audience.
The ability to enhance envelopes makes mail more inviting suggests Grant Miller, global VP operations and product management, Pitney Bowes. He adds that when graphics and color are added to the outside of an envelope, consumers are more likely to open it versus a plain, B&W piece.
With the ability to potentially increase mail open and response rates for customers by adding color and variable data to direct mail, print providers may consider an investment in a digital envelope press. In part one of this two part series, we look at the advantages of digital envelope presses, target volume ranges, and demands driving the use of envelope printing technology within commercial and in-plant printing environments. We follow up in part two with a round up highlighting specific solutions on the market.
The Digital Advantage
Commercial printers, direct mail houses, and in-house print providers—including college and university offices, stationary companies, financial services, and insurers—are primary adopters of digital envelope printing technology.
As these businesses seek the most cost-effective method of delivering high-quality products with rapid turnaround times, envelope printing solutions offered by companies such as Neopost, OKI Data, Pitney Bowes, Printware, PSI Engineering, RISO, and Xanté, fit the bill. With the exception of OKI Data’s toner-based solutions, these offerings take advantage of the low costs associated with inkjet.
Traditionally, print providers utilized one- or four-color offset presses to produce high volumes of single and multiple color envelopes. However, Frank P. Bonsu, regional sales manager, PSI Engineering, points out that when these companies convert to digital full-color envelope printing, new opportunities in content, color, and speed emerge. Additionally, the quick turnaround times offered by digital are attractive. “A print job of 500 full-color envelopes, letterhead, and business cards is produced from file to customer in less than 25 minutes. This is equal to just the makeready time on an offset press,” he explains.
Depending on the print environment and the customers it targets, digital envelope printing solutions target a range of volumes, from entry to production level.
On the lower end of the scale, RISO Inc. and PSI Engineering offer solutions targeting entry to mid-range print environments. Entry-level volumes are around 50 to 100 envelopes per job or 1,500 to 2,000 per month.
PSI’s print volume ranges between 50 envelopes and 5,000 per job, while RISO’s Print to Mail Solution targets volumes between 200 and 50,000 per month.
Both Neopost and OKI Data offer digital envelope printing solutions that target mid-volume environments.
William J. Longua, senior director, digital print group, Neopost USA, states that the company serves customers across every range category, but their solutions are ideally suited for mid-range shops producing 500 to 5,000 envelopes per job.
Xanté and Pitney Bowes provide solutions targeting higher volume shops. Miller sees a lot of adoption occurring among mid-high volume mailers. However, as solutions become more cost effective, smaller mailers are stepping up as well.
Arthur Verway, VP of worldwide sales and marketing, Xanté, says its products appeal to businesses in all volume ranges. “Virtually no setup time allows for quick and easy printing of personalized low-volume work, while fast print speeds and high resolution are ideal for high-volume production,” he explains.
The ability to produce high-quality, full-color text and images on envelopes on demand is enticing to many print providers and marketers.
Longua says color on envelopes or direct mail pieces can potentially increase response rates by 45 percent, while in general, color materials can increase learning and retention by nearly 80 percent. “These statistics drive demand for envelope printing equipment when considering open and response rates are increasing by pieces of mail with color or graphics being 80 percent more likely to be read than B&W,” says Longua.
The key to effective advertising is breaking through the noise, says Verway. “Color envelopes stand out above B&W and variable data further enhances the call to action by singling out individuals within a target audience. These methods have become invaluable in an age in which customers are bombarded with advertising from not only their mailbox, but from their internet browsers, email, applications, and social media platforms,” he explains.
Jesse Heindl, marketing communication specialist, RISO, Inc., says demand for color and variable data printing on envelopes is increasing as marketers realize that colorful envelopes—especially when variable data adds personalization—have a noticeably higher open rate than mail pieces missing these elements.
Utilizing Printing Solutions
Both commercial and in-house printing departments benefit from color and variable data capabilities offered by digital envelope presses. Further, the ability to quickly churn short runs of 50 to 5,000 envelopes is an attractive service offering.
In part two of this two-part series we highlight digital color envelope printing solutions. dps
Apr2016, DPS Magazine