What is the Digital Packaging Opportunity?
Packaging surrounds us. Whether it’s the Amazon brown box, colorful subscription boxes or boxes containing products from food to pharmaceuticals, packaging in the form of boxes is in transition. Digitally-produced folding cartons and corrugated boxes that surround all types of products represent an interesting opportunity for printing companies of all types. Many of today’s digital presses are capable of producing folding cartons, though the size capabilities may vary. And the continuing introduction of new corrugated board and liner presses is expanding opportunities for printers who invest in them.
The opportunities are boundless, but it takes a planned approach to defining products and services paired to an educated sales force to make the most of them. During these early days, sales people will need to be evangelists and advocates for the power of digital packaging as a solution for short run campaign support and as a part of new sellable products, like subscription boxes and personalized product packaging. Sales teams will need to sell the benefits and come to the table armed with ideas, samples and pointers to where similar solutions are already in the market.
If you are running a digital press capable of printing on folding carton stock, look at your size options and think about what types of packaging you could support. Look at the type of finishing required to support box production. If you have it in place, fabulous! If you don’t have what you need, can you partner with a finisher or make an investment to access the market? One of the growing areas is the subscription box market. Look at subscription box platforms like CrateJoy, LimeLight, Subbly and LemonStand to understand how the subscription box market is shaking out and what the dimensions of typical boxes are.
If you are running a pre-print or post-print digital corrugated production line, consider products like custom pallet wraps for retail environments. Help your clients turn plain wrapping into targeted billboards that can be localized to a specific store or used to promote brand campaigns. Consider offering personalized packaging for food and alcohol. With a web-to-packaging platform you could offer your clients the ability to create unique packaging not only for individuals, but for campaigns. Local sports team won a championship? Use the power of short run digital production to create retail packaging to participate in the excitement.
Getting started down a new road can be daunting, but start by workshopping ideas for new products you could offer with these capabilities. Custom packaging with brand colors and messages is a place to start. Consider creating mock-up packaging to show options and equip the sales team with samples they can carry. Then let your imagination soar. Invite current clients in to brainstorm with the team. What would they like? What would they sign on to trial?
The digital packaging opportunity is one that can open more doors with existing clients, as well as attract new clients who want to create short run campaigns or add customization to their products.
Pat McGrew, M-EDP, CMP is the Director and Evangelist for the Production Workflow Service at InfoTrends. As an analyst and industry educator, McGrew works with InfoTrends customers and its clients to promote workflow effectiveness. She also has a background in data-driven customer communication, and production printing with offset, inkjet, and toner. Co-author of eight industry books, editor of "A Guide to the Electronic Document Body of Knowledge," and regular writer in the industry trade press, McGrew won the 2014 #GirlsWhoPrint Girlie Award for her dedication to education and communication in the industry, and the 2016 Brian Platte Lifetime Achievement Award from Xplor International. Find Pat on Twitter as @PatMcGrew and LinkedIn.