According to James de Waal – Head of Marketing Business Imaging Group, Canon South Africa – your large format printer is capable of producing so much more and chances are you’re not pushing it to its full production capacity. Today’s large format technology can print amazing images on a wider range of materials, which translate into new products for you to create.
Many commercial print and copy shop businesses have a large format printer that’s often used for proofing or to handle small volumes of large print applications like plans, indoor posters or photo prints. But in many cases, it’s the most under-appreciated piece of hardware in the business.
It’s time to use it as a springboard to expand your services and grow your business, with the ability to produce everything from posters to signs and banners to self-adhesive graphics, or décor applications like fine art and photo prints.
With a contemporary colour-capable large format printer in your line-up, you have a foothold in some lucrative markets, but you need to talk up the potential and sell your capabilities, rather than waiting for customers to ask.
If you have digital cutsheet printers, I expect you’re actively working to fill that production capacity day in day out. So it makes sense to take the same commercial approach to your large format printer – they’re both engines for profit.
Did you know you can print short-term outdoor display graphics on a large format printer without lamination? Innovative materials like our Water Resistant Media mean you can deliver beautiful, photo quality, waterproof prints that can last up to six months outside.
So, if you’re already speaking to a retail customer about posters, why not suggest an outdoor A-frame to encourage passers-by to come inside? Or a self-adhesive vinyl wrapped around a pillar to highlight an in-store promotion? With fast digital production and no delay for laminating, you can meet customers’ requests quickly too.
It’s great to have so many new business opportunities, but perhaps it’s a little unnerving. You have the technology and the expertise, but where do you begin? The best starting point is through your existing customers, but do they even know you have a large format capability? And if so, do they know what you can produce with it, beyond plans or posters?
If you’re printing flyers or brochures for a corporate client to take to an exhibition or event, they probably need stand graphics and banners. If you’re printing corporate collateral, think about how large format prints could play a part in updating their reception area or telling visitors something about what they do.
Perhaps your local restaurant client comes to you once a year for new menus? Could you lead the conversation to POS materials and large format prints to refresh the look and feel of the dining area? Once you have a good portfolio of examples, you can use it to win work from new clients too. And there are plenty of opportunities right on your doorstep. Digital print on demand puts creative, customised print within reach of even small retail businesses. Walk around your neighbourhood and the potential is there for all to see. Identifying opportunities is one thing; turning them into paying business is another.
To realise your growth potential, you need to be ready for a different kind of dialogue with your customer. That means you need to cultivate open discussions about your customers’ business ambitions and needs, and think creatively about how you could fulfil them. There’s huge potential to upsell and cross sell large format print as part of your customers’ wider promotional briefs, but you need to actively question the brief and be ready to offer ideas.
You’re the digital print expert, so share your expertise in media and inks, and talk knowledgably about the new applications that are emerging for large format printers, and how they’re adding to the spectrum of promotional print.
Stay up to date with trends in marketing and promotion, be ready to talk about how different types of print are supporting your customers’ marketing activities, and keep an eye out for what their competitors are doing well (or badly).
These simple ideas for adding value in conversations with your customers or pursuing new application opportunities are all well within your reach. And when your customer gets the message with every conversation that you are thinking creatively about their business, rather than just fulfilling their orders, price becomes secondary to the quality of your advice and the strength of your relationship. That’s definitely a win-win.