In a changing marketplace, GPA Specialty Substrates defined how to “Give Brands a Boost to Survive in the Modern Market.” GPA’s Mary Ann Geers and Matt Buckley explained how print is currently being challenged, as more shoppers are resorting to the Internet to consume their products. With the numbers supporting this trend, print has become more important than ever, as the label and packaging need to transcend the item and leave a lasting mark on the consumer.
According to GPA, successful brands engage the customer, and digital printing provides converters with an opportunity to personalize and customize labels that will directly communicate with the consumer. Geers said that the average shopping trip will take just 20 minutes–17 minutes to walk around and three minutes to search and select a product. That means a product might only capture attention on the shelf for a few seconds.
While customers are increasingly going online for their products, they will still venture to the stores for several reasons. Not only do consumers search out employee knowledge, they can find detailed product information often contained on a label or packaging.
Geers defined the importance of a brand in her presentation, saying that the brand name is tangible, but the brand itself is an emotional connection formed with the customer. Brands must become a trusted partner, providing knowledge and information, as opposed to simply being a print service provider. Generally, shoppers think of a brand as a design, logo, symbol, or a combination of all three.
Customers want an emotional experience, though, says Geers. Therefore, the label and packaging must reach, engage and motivate the customer to make a purchase. By delivering a real-life brand experience, the product will pop off the shelf and be more memorable to those viewing it.
“As shopping experiences have evolved, print shines when people come into the stores for product knowledge or a better experience,” says Geers. “There’s easy access to product information on labels and tags, and packaging is one of the biggest ways to experience a brand because you can control the message.”
Since more consumers are going to the Internet, the online experience has to feel the same as in the store. Print, graphics, and newer materials and substrates promote a brand’s message to consumers.
Print also has seen a surge in importance because of increased competition.
In addition, there is more to being a successful converter than simply buying a digital press. Converters must know how to use the press in order to maximize its capabilities. New technology–be it digital printing or smart capabilities–can create a deeper connection with consumers through communities.
Another change in the buying experience comes via the home order. With more and more packages arriving on consumers’ doorsteps, there has been a boom in packaging and labels. According to Buckley, the design on an Under Armor box of shoes made the difference between him going straight to the vendor and ordering through Amazon.
Geers and Buckley added that there are several key steps for printers to take in 2017. For starters, take the brand where the customers live. Meanwhile, connect online–even through social media–to form a print identity. In order to create a community for customers, printers must educate their teams and customers.