Technical mastery of the screen-printing process is no guarantee that a steady stream of customers will come knocking at your door. You also need to ensure that your facility looks professional, clearly identifies your business, and provides a place where customers can view samples of your work and discuss details of potential jobs.
By Mike Ukena
A business must do several things to be successful. One of the most important, of course, is to attract customers. Once you have them, you must provide them with a reason to come back and buy again. Screen printing is based on repeat business—customers seldom need your products one time. In fact, your most important customers need items printed all the time.
In this article, I'll discuss the way garment-printing companies present themselves to customers. We'll consider what customers may see both inside and outside of screen shops and how their perception influences their willingness to do business. While the information here can apply to any screen-printing company, I'll focus on garment shops because so many garment printers fail to give enough attention to how they present their products, services, and company as a whole.
Face to face
Many customers will never even come to your business in person, but many will need to. Some may stop by to do a press check on a job you're printing for them, drop off artwork, or select colors or garment styles. Whatever the reason for their visits, your ability to make a good impression is a major factor in being able to keep them coming back with future orders.
Does your screen-printing shop even look like a real business? I must say that from my own experience of visiting hundreds of shops every year, a significant percentage of screen shops really don't look like they are in business to attract customers. Many of these non-professional operations don't even have a real entrance. Instead, they usually just have a roll-up cargo door that leads right to the production floor and doesn't provide any kind of separation for taking care of a customer's needs or keeping the customer isolated from the equipment in operation.
Think about your own purchasing experiences. Do you favor businesses that have a non-descript entrance, no displays, and little to show you what they do? Of course you don't. Even the basic auto-parts store will have a nice glass front with items on display, good signage, and plenty of natural light coming in. The days when dark, dingy businesses could be successful are long gone. The competition today is just too great for you not to invest in your business's appearance.
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