From March 24-27, the Gaylord Palms Convention Center hosted Dscoop Edge, which included an in-depth education track and a jam-packed Solutions Showcase. The event featured three keynote presentations, 75 educational sessions, a technical track and partner sessions, totaling more than 70 hours of educational content.
“We want you to connect and build relationships that go beyond these few days and last throughout the years,” said Amanda Free, Dscoop conference chair. “Connection is a core and a foundation. We have speakers here to discuss innovations and how to bring them to life. We also have to inspire each other. We can make those connections last a lifetime,” she said.
With technology driving change in various industries throughout the world, Dscoop Edge explored creating a more connected community – one that will benefit and collaborate using all the latest printing innovations.
“What changes businesses are networks,” noted Keith Wilmot, CEO of Dscoop. “Let’s do the same thing with print. Networks disrupt. Imagine if every company you represent were connected and sharing ideas, capacity and innovation.”
As part of the event, Dscoop officially launched membership-based services: Dscoop Plus and Dscoop One. They are designed to provide a global support network for HP users to develop print solutions that pop off the shelves. Dscoop has also unveiled its revamoed website, dscoop.com.
The organization’s goal is to provide year-round support for its members. “We want to deliver value to Dscoop next week and the week after next and the week after next. It’s the power of Dscoop online but every single day of the year,” explained Wilmot. “With a partner like HP, we think we can do it and do it in a powerful way.
“We can now open up our network to a slew of creatives, brands and agencies while showing them what print can do for their business,” he added. “We believe dscoop.com can be a real catalyst to drive that on a global basis.”
Dscoop Plus, available for $99 per month, allows users to create a profile and upload content into the profile. Creatives, designers and printers can subsequently share ideas and concepts in a forum atmosphere. Dscoop One, on the other hand, retails for $249 per month and serves as a full business concierge. Additional tools available to subscribers include the marketing of projects through social feeds and various channels, access to events and other resources with HP.
“These are great tools for small-to-medium sized business owners, providing great exposure,” said Wilmot. “It’s an exciting time in Dscoop’s journey where we deliver value every day of the year. HP is an incredible partner of Dscoop. We’re very closely linked and they use this brand and this community to showcase their great technology.”
According to Wilmot, only 25% of HP digital press owners are actively involved with Dscoop, and the establishment of these various tools will push that number closer to 80%.
In order to connect with the next generation of printers, Dscoop also announced initiatives with various partner schools, ranging from Clemson and Florida to Michigan State and Wisconsin – Stout. Dscoop Academia is intended to create a symbiotic ecosystem of future talent and growing print and packaging businesses needing resources. A student portal facilitates the posting of resumes in an attempt to secure internships or full-time positions within the graphic arts industry.
Driving the customer experience
As technology becomes more and more advanced, the customer experience could ultimately dictate buying choices. With more products available than ever before – and many consumers leaning toward online purchasing – giving the buyer a memorable experience is one significant way to generate revenue.
According to Vicki Strull, design strategist, 64% of consumers say that a positive customer experience is the biggest indication of brand loyalty. Meanwhile, 20% of millennials expect a customized experience.
Susan Moore, VP of sales at Tharstern, cited Tesla and the brand’s continued drive to shape the customer experience. “Be interested in what the customer has to say, and change their experience based on their feedback,” she urged.
According to Moore, brands can see revenues increase 10-15% while lowering the costs to serve their customer by 10-15%, all by providing better customer service. Plus, 86% of consumers say they would pay more for a product or service if it means receiving a better customer experience.
In Moore’s eyes, the customer experience will overtake price and product to be the new brand differentiator. “Changing the customer experience is very difficult to do,” said Moore. “Customer retention is also driving revenue. It can cost up to five times more to attract a new customer as it is to retain an existing one, and 66% of B2B customers say they’ll leave after one bad experience with a business. Improving the brand experience from ‘average’ to ‘wow’ increases the likelihood that a customer will buy another product by 30-50%.”
Digital printing is one way to tailor specific messages to the end user, especially with random versioning and targeted marketing. For example, different regions of the country can receive products geared toward their local college basketball team playing in the NCAA Tournament.
It’s also imperative to generate consistency between physical and digital channels. Strull stated that 58% of shoppers have used that store’s app while they’re in the shopping environment, be it for coupons or product research. Plus, 80% of Gen Z uses their mobile device while shopping.
In HP Indigo General Manager Alon Bar-Shany’s “State of the Industry” report, he cautioned against stagnation – both in solutions and customer service. “The world has changed a lot more in 10 years than we realize,” said Bar-Shany. “Our biggest competition is us doing nothing. People can get quite comfortable with what they’re doing now. They say, ‘When is the time to move to digital?’ When I’m out of time, out of money and out of people. You have to take the risk.”
Many suppliers have great technology offerings, and according to Bar-Shany, there needs to be an open collaboration with customers. “Great technology is not enough,” he said, emphasizing customer service, better workflow and finishing solutions, and an open platform that can source ideas from multiple avenues.
“When we started out 10-15 years ago, we didn’t have customers who had more than two or three Indigo presses,” Bar-Shany said. “Now, we have customers who have a fleet, and want to move their jobs across machines and sites, so we remodeled the DFE. They need the power to RIP the files. This is the power of automation, and it’s not going to go away. People aren’t going to be willing to wait two weeks for their labels or flexible packaging.”
Bar-Shany also noted the importance of the customer in relation to Dscoop. “Dscoop has to evolve. But it has to evolve based on what the community wants, not what HP wants,” he said. “It’s not about getting subscriptions. It’s about being active and saying, ‘I want to contribute,’ and sharing and getting better ideas.”
“Our commitment to building a relationship with our customers will not change,” added Richard Bailey, president of the Americas, HP Inc. “There is no substitute for delivering a great customer experience, or building great relationships like we’re doing this week in Orlando.”
Meanwhile, the Solutions Showcase exhibition welcomed 14 new exhibitors to its roster of 87 solution, media and workflow partners. With the concept of printing more, smarter and profitably, the Solutions Showcase covered 100,000 square feet.
The Dscoop Solutions Showcase highlighted a range of new products in the labels and packaging space. HP highlighted its diverse fleet of presses, as well as the accompanying end use applications possible with the company’s technology. The HP Indigo 6900 digital press and HP Indigo 20000 digital press were featured prominently, displaying personalized applications for labels and flexible packaging.
The Showcase floor featured samples and displays from a wide range of suppliers. Label Traxx exhibited its Siteline module, while K Laser promoted its new KOLDfoil One. AB Graphic, meanwhile, showcased its finishing solutions used in tandem with an HP Indigo press. Delta ModTech, Kurz and RotoMetrics also had a strong presence.
At acpo’s booth, Tom Dupont discussed the company’s latest specialty overlaminate films and flexible packaging offerings. The Glitter Laminate from acpo has been constructed to add dazzle and depth to labels. He also detailed the steps necessary to create flexible packaging without adding any additional equipment. He discussed acpo’s offerings that turn printed material into pouches or bags.
Actega announced a new aqueous primer, the ACTDigi LEP Primer AQ1409610 for use inline with the HP Indigo 30000 digital press for folding carton production. The ACTDigi LEP Primer AQ1409610 is scheduled for commercial availability beginning June 2019.
Matik highlighted its range of “true” digital finishing solutions from SEI Laser. SEI Laser offers digital finishing solutions that completes the digital production process, delivering speed to market, die-free cutting, kiss-cutting, marking and micro-perforating.
S-One, meanwhile, showcased its flexible packaging and pouch solutions compatible for printing on HP Indigo digital presses. The company’s pre-laminated flexible packaging films can be used for a variety of applications, ranging from cookies and crackers to cosmetics and gardening supplies.
S-One’s Ralph Giammarco and Tom Hauenstein also presented in the educational track, discussing how to get into flexible packaging and what’s required. The company’s flexible packaging products can provide smart capabilities and anti-counterfeiting features, they explained, adding that with growing demand in flexible packaging, more applications are available to converters than ever before. “
Understand what it takes to get SQF qualified if you want to get into food packaging. If you go that route, the biggest growth we see in flexible packaging is the food and cannabis segments,” said Hauenstein.
Finally, Wausau Coated Products focused on its wine label substrates, featuring its 2019 Cellar Select Wine Label Guide. Wausau facestocks are engineered for customized orders. Th supplier’s 155# Crimson Flocked Marquee was displayed prominently at the booth.