By Melissa Donovan
Part 1 of 2
When the term point of purchase (POP) is mentioned, the idea of wide format signs, banners, and other larger graphics comes to mind. With advancements in today’s narrow format digital presses, however, POP is also produced on a smaller scale. Products like shelf talkers, static cling, counter mats, and table cards are all used at the point of sale (POS) to motivate consumer purchases.
Digital commercial devices offer unique capabilities like gloss, varnish, and white ink and run a wide range of paper stocks and other substrates. Small format POP applications are ideal add-on services for most print providers already utilizing these types of presses. Final output offers eye-catching results sure to captivate the print buyer and the consumer.
Thinking of the Right Solution
For small format POP, certain digital solutions are best. Ideally, these include presses with enhancement features like white ink and the ability to print on a number of materials. Another beneficial characteristic is variable data printing capabilities.
According to Fred Morrone, senior product manager, production color systems, Ricoh USA, Inc., the device used must support a certain level of flexibility. “To help ensure printers can deliver on demand from end customers, the flexibility to offer output with clear and white toner further broadens their portfolio.”
He advises that the print provider be equipped with the right solution to support a diverse range of media from textured or heavy stocks to synthetics and heavy clings. This gives them a competitive advantage.
A number of substrates are now available for small format. “Synthetic sheets are popular for durable menus and even backlit signage. Another common solution is pressure-sensitive signage. Whether it is for a temporary counter mat or a permanent marketing sign, a digital pressure-sensitive sheet enables a printer to utilize various face materials—paper, vinyl, polyester—and the right adhesive strength for each job,” explains Joseph Schember, specialty digital product manager, Mohawk.
Variable data has always been discussed on a TransPromo level, but the same capabilities apply to small format POP. “Small format digital printing allows for ease of versioning and producing only what is needed. This can be especially important for customers looking to get a neighborhood or local feel for their printed applications, like pubs, family-owned grocery stores, and restaurants,” recommends Greg Kestler, director of technical products, GPA.
For print providers thinking about offering small format POP, it’s important to weigh certain variables such as whether your hardware offers the correct features and if the shop’s marketing team is prepared to sell the service.
For most, any challenges are easily remedied early on the execution of the new offering and a print provider can easily get off the ground running. “All print providers produce products for businesses in their community, expanding offerings to cover all of their needs includes adding POP or POS,” says Kestler.
He provides examples of local banks that normally order business cards, they may need signage for holiday hours. Or family-run grocery stores that purchase order forms may also need shelf wobblers to advertise sales and specials on products.
Morrone believes that while the potential is there, small format POP capabilities may not be a fit for all print providers. He suggests they take into consideration strengths and what their customers are asking for before committing. In his experience, meeting the demand for small format POP means having the printing capabilities that support a diverse media range.
A challenge for many might not even be hardware related, but more in terms of selling the new service. “In my opinion, the only entrance obstacles for a print provider would be on the sales side,” shares Schember. He suggests that a print provider first determine whether it has enough customers in the retail segment and if its sales team has the expertise to sell to that market.
It is important to identify who will benefit the most from small format POP—whether these are existing or prospective customers. According to Kestler, any business from mom-and-pop shops to large big box stores require small format POP as part of their printed product lineup.
Specifically, Schember points to regional convenience store chains or smaller clothing boutiques as segments of interest. These businesses would not only require traditional small format POP like counter signage and shelf talkers but also hang tags or clothing tags, which he considers an extension of POP “as oftentimes there is additional marketing information provided beyond simply price.”
Narrow format digital presses offer print providers to participate in POP. Enhancements on today’s devices and the ever expanding range of compatible media solutions allows for a greater variety of digitally produced small format POP.
In the second part of this Web-exclusive series we provide a look at two print providers offering small format POP to their customers. dps
Jul2016, DPS Magazine