Myriad factors are creating a volatile environment transforming the types of signage and graphics found in retail stores.
SP: It’s a very interesting time to be in retail. How is the climate of change in this industry affecting your companies as graphics providers?
Dan Pratt, Vomela: The changes have been going on for a few years—they’re not new, and probably go back to 2009. The requirement is to be faster to market. We’re not building and shipping finished goods for inventories any longer. Mass customization is a reality. We’re not just producing 500 of one part number to sit on a shelf. Clients are asking for real-time information. They don’t want a phone call to say everything is OK—they really want to know the status of work. Some want a real-time customer portal for that information. The trend toward less brick-and-mortar retail can be an opportunity for the graphics industry. Fewer fixture are being bought and less architectural renovation done, so there are opportunities for us to do graphic makeovers rather than just signage to sell and feature product.
David Bales, Image Options: The speed to market is changing dramatically, as well as the complexity of the programs. The need to grab a shopper’s attention is higher than ever, which is causing highly customized windows and in-store retail campaigns, upping the degree of difficulty of the work. Not only is the real-time information critical, as Dan said, but it’s not just in the printing department. Print is almost secondary now. It’s the front-end control of the program and the back-end distribution and visibility to the client. Print is now just a piece of the whole workload.
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