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The Attraction to Large-Format Digital Imaging

(January 2008) posted on Thu Jan 03, 2008

Learn why large-format digital printing is attracting attention from commercial offset printers and others outside the specialty graphics industry and what the affect will be on the market.

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By Rick Mandel

In the cities that have a very strong offset market are many potential prospects for large-format inkjet equipment. In my Milwaukee backyard alone, we have 20 full-color offset printers, each with nice, loyal accounts. Which has the Coke account? Which has the Pepsi account? Good salespeople know this answer. And who else may be servicing these high-end clients with wide-format digital prints? It could quite likely be a local screen shop. Competition is very keen in the offset world, just as it is in ours. They are looking for ways to leverage their valuable client lists into more sales and new market niches. Our digital-imaging world has a very huge target on it.

How products are sold in the graphics world assists in the cross selling of digital imaging equipment to the others, as companies like HP, Fujifilm/Sericol, Kodak, Agfa, and Pitman/ Charrette serve most print markets. The same company that sells offset plates also sells large-format digital devices. The technology is tailor made to cross sell into our world and to grey our market.

If the large corporations bring awareness of our unique part of the world to other print sectors, it is the local graphicart- supply companies (distributors/dealers) that will be their voice. Margins for consumables for these distributors have become more and more narrow with fewer products to offer. These vendors must also remake their image in this direct-to world and continually find new products to sell to their existing client base. The local distributors are taking on lines of narrow and wide-format digital equipment, and the excitement they feel is added consumables sales in the form of inks and substrates—products that they know how to sell, procure, and market.

The print-equipment manufacturers are arming the local distributors with sales and marketing strategies to advance the market for large-format digital. To expand my point, #1 Network, a company that is a volume-purchasing arm for dealers around the country, brought its dealer clients to the SGIA show to educate them about opportunities in large-format digital. I do think our market is getting the attention of many people.


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