Continuous development in technology and changing consumer behavior forces every industry to undergo some fundamental change. And now it is the time for a change in the working of printing and publishing industry.
Digital printing industry today is reproducing digital images on various physical surfaces like – paper, photographic paper, film, paperboard cover stock, plastic, cloth, vinyl, magnets, glass, and others. Digital and traditional printing are very different. The key differences include –
- In traditional, a set of printing plates are used and the same print is made on the paper. However, print can differ on every paper in case of digital printing based on the desired type.
- In traditional printing, the ink or toner is absorbed into the substrate, however, in digital printing, the ink forms a layer on the surface which may be fused to the substrate through heat process or UV curing process.
- As opposed to traditional printing, digital printing requires less amount of paper and chemicals for setup.
- Digital printing offers excellent rapid prototyping and small print runs and is also accessible to a wide range of designers. Also, it is cost effective in short runs. However, this is not the case with traditional printing.
- Nowadays, due to the evolution of digital printing and the increased use of internet has given birth to the print commerce industry which is the future of printing and publishing for the next few years or at least a decade.
Will Print commerce adapt to the changing advertising and marketing industry?
Business is growing beyond boundaries, hence companies are becoming more distributed. For instance, a large retailer with a number of stores across the country needs to do store specific campaign and produce marketing collaterals like sale brochures, advertising sign boards and so on. Most of this marketing collaterals are usually done at the company’s’ headquarters. However, affording a local store level designer is not usually possible. In such cases, print commerce can come to your rescue. Print commerce allows the business to create content based on the store needs and allows printing in local store thus reducing logistic time.
Print commerce has been continuously upgraded along with the development of internet technology. For instance, on the internet 2.0 era, Xerox Corporation’s InterDoc, a commercial product was on sale during 1995. InterDoc is a software which allows printing departments to receive and produce the digital file submissions of the customers over the internet.
It is evident from this that the DTP’s history acts the pillar for today’s web-to-print expansion and the emergence of e-commerce during the 98’s and 2000’s allowed web-to-print to prosper.
Current Industry landscape for Print commerce
Print commerce broadly refers to commercial printers which communicate with their customers or partners like graphic designers or advertising companies. They do jobs like submitting print jobs, online prepress previews, postcards design on the web using rich user interfaces, digital cross-media marketing, and various other services like variable data printing, booklets, photo printing and others.
World Wide Web and internet popularity opportunities have emerged for the remote publishing/print commerce companies. Hence, the new age distributes and the agile print commerce has allowed the larger organizations to become more popular among all businesses in all sizes who demand any type of printing. This is further leading the standardized printing industry to on-demand print commerce industry.
According to researchers, commercial printing shipments over the last 6 months are worth more than $7 million every month, which marks the longest time of sustained growth since 2010. Also, the sources indicate that the printing shipment Compound Annual Growth Rates were better than the U.S. GDPs figures and the industry between August 2014 and August 2015 has shipped over $86 million products.
Off late the days where offices having printing departments or larger printing areas required for commercial printing purposes got replaced. Many print commerce companies are there out in the market offering print services of professional quality on demand, hence allowing businesses to outsource their printing jobs. This, in turn, allows the businesses to have printing services without any capital investment or maintenance while having the flexibility to printing material and other services like professional designers on demand.
On Demand, print services have thus allowed companies to access printed material such as sale brochures, flyers, advertising sign boards, and others in one piece at a time fashion leading to more flexibility and control of production. This, in turn, indicates that you waste less paper.
On-demand printing is best for companies and also associations which need to frequently update and distribute content to communication hubs and remote offices/stores. Further, on-demand printing also allows firms to deliver them overnight without having to ship the materials themselves.
This technology allows companies or organizations or marketing departments or employees to upload the desired content in digital format through websites or cloud services and order printed products for self or to ship to other parts of the world. This flexibility allows companies to get the job done easily and quickly from anywhere. Also, it helps to produce copies of training materials, manuals, posters and others on demand as per their needs thus allowing companies to reduce the cost of a large amount of storage space, logistic costs of transferring the documents, and also flexible customization of materials as per regional demands. From all this, it is evident that every business big and small are taking the advantage of the web-to-print technology.
According to the associate director at Infotrends, Howie Fenton, web-to-print service will receive an investment of over $259 million next year.
Digital Content Distribution
The emergence of web-to-print technology and the growth in the need for on-demand printing, digital content creation and distribution has seen a growth in demand.
Businesses can now create and upload digital content or host them on distribution platforms allowing their stakeholders to order branded printed resources as per their needs.
This has allowed everyone to access the same contents and documents and the hosting firms to regularly update their materials based on business needs and demands.
Consider these basic facts about printing industry to have something to take home from this article and why printing commerce idea would serve us really right;
- The increasing influence of internet and internet technology enabled mobile devices in everyday life is creating a perception that traditional printing is almost out-of-date.
- The accessibility to various digital screens and the demand of consumers for digital options in everything especially for entertainment indicates that use of paper doesn’t make any sense anymore.
- But there is no sign of suffering by printing and publishing company.
- The good news is that the growth in consumer product industry is increasing the demand for packaging materials and labels exponentially.
- According to the research by Smithers Pira, who have the authority over packaging, paper, and print industry supply chains, the global printing industry is forecasted to reach $980 million by the year 2018. This growth will be due to – packaging, labels, and print commerce online application.
- The share of the digital market will double in constant value terms of 19.7% by 2018. Excluding packaging, this share is going to be 38.1% by 2018.
- However, digital demands more values as the print suppliers portray their product effectively.
- The web-to-print being simple to use and effective is expected to grow multi-folds. Also, print commerce with their specialists can cater to the marketing needs effectively thus allowing corporate marketing team in developing print and marketing on-demand solution qualitative, hassle-free and cost-effective products.