P-O-P Is Popping

Are brick-and-mortar stores dead? These print service providers still have retail clients keeping them busy.

Providing retail and P-O-P graphics can be a big moneymaker for wide-format digital print service providers. But with an evolving landscape in brick-and-mortar retail, the market segment’s future may look murky. 

It seems almost a weekly occurrence to hear about a well-known retailer filing for bankruptcy or shuttering a slew of physical stores. In just the first two months of 2019, companies like Gymboree, Payless ShoeSource, and Charlotte Russe announced they will cease operations, and others, including Gap, Victoria’s Secret, and JCPenney, began closing some locations. 

Looking beyond the headlines declaring a “retail apocalypse,” the reality looks more like the evolution of an industry – not an outright death. Yes, some retailers are struggling, but there are others who are thriving (TJ Maxx, Walmart, Nordstrom, Lululemon, to name a few). 

Forbes points to a trend driven by millennial shoppers: Retailers are rethinking how they use their storefronts and many are creating an experience, not just a place to buy a new shirt. For example, Samsung created a pop-up shop featuring its latest gadgets, none of which were actually for sale onsite. 

Many companies are embracing technology to connect with their customers beyond e-commerce – think Sephora’s smartphone app with virtual makeup try-on tools. Multichannel marketing (leveraging websites, marketplaces, social media, and brick and mortar) still relies on physical stores having a presence, but it’s become part of a plan, instead of the primary sales channel. 

Big retailers, including Ikea and Target, are also opening smaller versions of their stores to cater to different environments such as college campuses or urban neighborhoods. 

So, while some retailers may be closing their doors, others are opening pop-up shops or a reimagined style of store. And guess what they need? Printed graphics. 

The projects featured here show that PSPs are still in the business of printing for retail and P-O-P customers. As retailers adapt their businesses to changing consumer buying habits, print shops will evolve along with them.

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