An excerpt from AP May 2020 – by Quality Press director Atish Shah
As nations, governments, businesses, and the world population navigate through the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, as the old adage goes, the print market is the first to decline as we have experienced in the past few weeks.
However, we are confident that it will be one of the early ones to recover as most countries, including Australia, start to wind back the many restrictions that are currently in place as the pandemic is brought under control.
Apart from the changes resulting from the pandemic, in the past few years, we have seen a saturation of sheet digital printers. Hence, there seems to be a consolidation of the smaller digital outfits in recent times, as the growth rate in this area has been diminishing fast.
Consolidation and diversification of offset printers, over the past several years, is starting to pay dividends as the market decline in this sector over the past decade appears to flat line for now. With capacity not increasing and diversification of offerings, most printers are now able to maintain steady revenue streams.
Adding value in print is important; however, the buying habits of the market have changed. Buyers’ budgets are much more restricted than before and as a result, it is getting more and more challenging for printers to sell value-added print.
In saying that, even in this climate, there are opportunities to value-add in areas that include kitting, warehousing, logistics, and distribution. But the first step in determining where to value-add lies in knowing the needs of your buyer.
Going into any new area will present challenges. As such, printers will have to do their own due diligence and do their homework carefully to come up with a ‘soft approach’ that will ensure a better chance of success.
Over the years, our business has diversified into many areas of print and this, together with working closely with our clients’ to understand their needs, has resulted in us offering end-to-end solutions that further strengthens our relationships with these clients.
As an example, we produced offset posters for a national retail chain in the past. With the addition of our large format division, we have now given our client the option to produce custom posters of various sizes, decals, shelf talkers, wobblers, etc. that can be tailor made for each branch. We also provide a kitting and shipping service. Adding value protects your margins which have traditionally been eroding very fast.
Adopting new technology early has also helped provide Quality Press with an edge in the Western Australia print market.
In a competitive environment, you need to stay one step ahead. We adopted CTP early and we started our own digital division in 2006. As our customers’ requirements change, we need to be flexible and ready to adapt. Early adopters get the benefits of new solutions before the rest catch up.
Unless they have a niche captured market, the long-term survival chances of businesses without a value-add strategy are slim. Smaller printers that can’t afford to have a value-add strategy should partner with third party suppliers to sell value-add to their existing and potential new clients and accomplish their goals. Moving forward, printers should look into using social media platforms and other online tools to generate engagement with a younger, more digitally-savvy generation of print users to drive print and add value.
The digital version of AP May 2020 is available here.
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