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Why Is There So Much Buzz About Digital Packaging?

(November 2016) posted on Wed Feb 01, 2017

Companies from startups to global brands have learned what digital printing can do for labels and packaging.

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By Eileen Fritsch

If customers haven’t yet asked you to produce small runs of labels or boxes along with their signs, displays, and marketing collateral, they soon might. Many companies now realize that digitally printed packaging should be part of their marketing mix. Plus, a lot of experimentation is underway to improve the functionality, creativity, and sustainability of packaging and to make products less costly to ship.

For many online shoppers, the corrugated mailing box in which their order arrives may be the first tangible representation of an online retailer’s brand. Does the box look and feel special? Or is it plain and cheap-looking? In a 2016 survey of online shoppers by Dotcom Distribution, 40 percent of shoppers said they would be more likely to purchase from a retailer again if the package came in a gift-like or premium box.

In addition to creating different products, labels, and packages for demographically diverse markets, digital printing enables just-in-time production of packaging. Manufacturers don’t have to waste money discarding stockpiles of pre-printed labels, boxes, and packages whenever regulators change labeling requirements.

Packages can also become part of the “Internet of Things.” When printed with special codes or conductive inks, package graphics can confirm the authenticity of the product, warn if the package contents have spoiled, or connect to online product reviews. Interactive packaging can help shoppers use mobile phones to gather additional information at the point of purchase.

If your company already prints brand graphics and marketing collateral, automated workflow and collaboration tools can ensure everyone on the production team is always using the correct brand assets to digitally print labels, cartons, boxes, signs, and displays.

The following examples show how some businesses are already capitalizing on the growing interest in digitally printed labels, folding cartons, and corrugated and flexible packaging. In these stories, you’ll see some synergies between printing signs, displays, and custom packaging.

Short-Run Label Production
ColorZone is a full-service imaging and exhibits business in Benicia, California. Their clients include wineries, boutique food companies, and high-tech firms. When ColorZone opened in 1997, its largest revenue source was providing color copies. Now, they offer tradeshow displays, signs, banners, and vehicle wraps. The company has a reputation for quality, color matching, and innovative products.