How retail accounts can create long-term relationships and new directions for print providers.
Often, the companies that are most successful with wide-format printing become partners in their client’s business, addressing and anticipating their graphics needs, finding opportunity in every creative challenge.
“In many ways our clients look to us for more than just printing,” says George Gross, CEO and founder of Infinity Images (www.infinityimages.com) in Portland, Oregon.
“They want high quality, and expect short turnarounds, but they’re also looking for ideas on how we can help them stand out – ways to catch prospective customers’ attention and make them look at their products.”
When the print provider can deliver, the results can breed long-term relationships – relationships that can point the print provider in new directions. In that regard, retail accounts can be especially lucrative, notes Jason Mockley, Infinity’s account manager for the Portland-based Columbia Sportswear brand and stores.
“Retail is the only type of repeat business where you can continually plan and forecast” ongoing demand for wide-format services, he says. “It’s the type of client that needs to keep going, with something new to draw attention to their products all the time.”
A supplier of outdoor clothing and gear, the Columbia Sportswear brand is a fixture in major sporting-goods stores and chains from coast to coast. The company also owns and operates its own network of outlet and flagship stores. Wherever Columbia products are sold, there’s demand for collateral marketing material, P-O-P, and signage and graphics. For its own stores, that’s only the start.
“We’ve been asked to do things that involve a lot more than printing on a flat piece of paper,” notes Gross. “They like 3D things and multi-dimensional displays such as water fountains that seem to empty into sports shoes.” Some of these concepts are first tried at the company’s flagship stores; those deemed most effective might then figure into Columbia’s national marketing campaigns as well.
Graphics in the flagship stores are regularly updated to keep things exciting and interesting for consumers. When Mockley spoke with The Big Picture in the autumn of 2013, he was working between refreshes on the Columbia’s flagship store in Seattle. The stores get a new look a few times each year, but street-level graphics and some of the sales-floor displays can get swapped out more regularly.