Wide-Format 101: Focus on Delivering Customer Value
Today’s wide-format graphics segment offers printers new opportunities to set themselves apart. In “Wide-Format 101: Strategies for Success,” a training intensive held on Tuesday afternoon, an audience heard advice from industry executives on how to make informed decisions to grow their businesses.
Ray Weiss, director of Digital Print Programs, SGIA, began the first session, “Introduction to Wide-format,” by noting the widespread use of the technique. While signage, for example, appears everywhere, it “goes up for shorter and shorter periods of time.”
To help them go out on the show floor and evaluate the solutions offered, Weiss advised attendees to consider a number of factors, beginning with the understanding that “there’s no perfect printer.” There are three items — printer, computer/RIP software, and laminator — that have advantages to be weighed. Businesses should ask themselves what they want to do, what application will cover most of their needs.
Printers should consider budget, print width, and plant floor footprint, as well as storage space for their finished work. Another big question: “What can you produce?” Sometimes it may be more to your advantage to outsource part or all of your work by partnering with another provider.
Printers also can take on a different role than being order takers. Educate customers, talk about their options, and “show them that you have solutions” for their needs, Weiss urged. It’s part of creating a unique client experience. Other ways include “service, service, service,” quality, and color accuracy.
Certifications and training are two other factors Weiss recommends printers consider before buying a wide-format printer. You’re likely to have some equipment issues over the course of a year that require help, whether it comes from a distributor, manufacturer, or in-house. Hands-on training is your best bet. “A smart shop takes a certification and sells it as a differentiator,” he said. It also builds credibility when selling jobs to customers.