Evolving customer demands offer new opportunities for fast-moving print providers

The sign and display market is full of favourable business indicators, not least with potential new markets such as textiles, garments and décor opening up to digital print technology. Ricoh’s portfolio of products, allied to its partnership approach and service excellence, make those new opportunities more gettable than ever.  

Printing businesses with ambition for growth are looking for new markets and new applications to diversify into. In doing so, they are generally responding to the demands of their customers, who are increasingly looking to rationalise their supplier base and utilise existing print suppliers to provide them with the complete range of their print needs, quickly and cost-effectively.

agile print

digital print technology used for store print display

A FESPA Print Census by InfoTrends illustrates these trends clearly. It found great confidence among printers in the sign and display sector: 80% of them were optimistic, buoyed by a doubling of average revenues in the eight years from 2007; 45% of them were investing in technology to move into new markets.

The research discovered an evolving product mix because although the old favourites of banners, billboards, signs and posters still led the way, some 80% of printers reported that they were doing more textiles, garments, décor and packaging. And the research identified four key trends in customer relationships that 70% of those printers expected to rise: point of need, personalisation, just in time production and faster turnarounds.

All of this suggests a market that is buoyant and teeming with opportunity for the sign and display printer that has an eye for branching out and building the business. There are a number of printing technologies that can help them achieve this. While most of the industry has long used various solvent and aqueous digital inkjet systems, printers can now also take advantage of the unique characteristics of UV-curable and latex printing technologies.

Indeed, when the 2017 InfoTrends-FESPA World Wide Survey asked printers whether they planned to invest in a new wide format printer in the next 12 months, 31% said that they would invest in UV-curable inkjet, 16% in eco-solvent inkjet, and 13% in latex inkjet – the three largest categories.

Both UV-curable and latex stand out for the large range of applications and materials that they each can bring in-house to a printer, saving on outsourcing and helping to tie customers in. Because the technology is digital, the print can be personalised and delivered quickly, thereby meeting those rising customer demands that the research identified.

With the rise of textile printing, digital direct to garment (DTG) printing systems are also starting to gain traction in the market, making the production of personalised items such as t-shirts, cloth bags and cushion covers another avenue that is potentially lucrative for printers looking to grow.

Choose your print partner wisely

All of this opportunity was a printer to grasp at it, requires careful decision making, not least in the choice of technology that can make the opportunity a reality. There are a great many manufacturers selling excellent digital printing systems in all of the above fields, and Ricoh is now applying in earnest its 40 years of research in inkjet technology, its commitment to working in partnership with printers, and its service excellence, to the sign and display market.

At Sign & Digital UK in 2019, Ricoh will for the first time exhibit a full portfolio of wide-format printing systems, including new UV flatbed, latex and DTG systems.

Helping Italian design and print specialist Beepag move into new markets

When you claim that you can print onto any material, you need to back that claim up with the right technology investments.

Italian graphic design and print specialist Beepag is proud to make such a claim and has invested in several Ricoh systems to back it up. Ricoh’s Pro T7210 UV flatbed printer, for example, is allowing Beepag to explore new market opportunities through its ability to print onto a vast array of materials, including wood, aluminium and glass. It is printing industrial decoration such as customised doors and interior furnishings, as well as Point of Purchase display material.

The company also uses a Ricoh Pro L4100 large format latex printer to produce wallpaper for the retail sector, which is a flourishing application area.

Matteo Pinzauti, owner and chief executive of Beepag, commented: “The Pro T7210 is more flexible than other flatbed printers. It handles media of up to 110 mm in thickness, including wood, aluminium and glass, as well as printing onto cardboard and Forex.”

If you have questions on anything mentioned above, you can connect with me on LinkedIn.

Simon Isaacs

Simon Isaacs - National Sales Director - Ricoh UK