The Path to Purchase and Large Format Printing

Branding, point of purchase and the path to purchase at the Shopper Marekting ExpoThe “path to purchase,” which was the theme of this year’s Shopper Marketing Expo in Chicago this past week, has become a lot more complicated in recent years with the proliferation of social media sites of all stripes, further fragmenting and already-fragmented media market.

Attendees at this year’s expo – primarily corporate branding and marketing managers – spent the better part of the show learning about the methods and the madness of the path to purchase, 21st Century version, at the expo’s slate of seminars.

Plus, many of the vendors on hand were showcasing online coupon, shopping and branding sites to lure shoppers in at the very beginning of the path to purchase. Mywebgrocer (MWG), for instance, hosts on-line shopping sites for chains like Publix and ShopRite. I was told that about 85 percent of browsers to these sites use it to plan their shopping trip, while the other 15 percent actually shop online.

Another company I ran into at the show, MobiTen, builds software that helps retailers connect with their customers at home, through iPads and cell phones, and continue to interact through an in-store retail touchpad. MobiTen develops interactive catalogs, magazines and sales tools that also collect analytics to help marketers determine trends and product strategy.

Basically, these Web integration companies are attempting to connect the buyer as early in the buying process as possible. What kind of luck they’ll have doing that and connecting those purchase decisions from the Web to the retail location remains to be seen.

What we do know, and how this relates to large-format printing for retail (and really any other application for that matter, from special events to trade shows) is the importance of brand consistency and promotional integration.

As a print shop or sign shop, it’s increasingly important to become part of the entire marketing process. By doing so, you show that you have an interest in the client beyond simply producing graphics, and you create additional opportunity as a value-added partner and consultant.

P.O.P., Display and Print Ideas at the Shopper Expo: LED Lighting

Lighting point of purchase displays with LEDsCHICAGO – While the weather outside here is frightful, brand managers, marketing and advertising firms, and others developing and deploying in-store retail marketing programs huddle inside Navy Pier to find out the latest at the Shopper Marketing Expo.

LexJet is here in Booth 720, sharing our expertise and insight on producing eye-catching, effective promotional and branding programs with large-format inkjet printing. One lucky attendee will also walk away with a Canon iPF8300 inkjet printer. Not a bad deal at all.

Lighting backlit cabinets with LEDs
Inkjet graphics for an in-store display backlit with LEDs by LEDCONN. LED lighting is a great opportunity for large-format print providers.

Speaking of wide-format printing, in addition to the usual mix of display hardware, there are some notable developments in LED technology you ought to know about for lighting alternatives. Two companies – LEDCONN and Louisville Lamp Co. – are showing their LED lighting products for edge-lit and backlit large-format graphics.

For years, LEDs have been steadily gaining acceptance as an alternative lighting source, particularly in the sign industry for lighting channel letters. Just a few years ago, the only economically viable LED light source was the red LED. Since then, white LED costs have plummeted while the quality has gotten significantly better.

Inkjet printed graphics lighted with LEDs
At the Shopper Marketing Expo in Chicago, Louisville Lamp Co. showed how inkjet-printed graphics can be edge-lit in acrylic.

Moreover, LED lighting is much easier to install and service, it’s longer lasting and is more energy efficient than traditional lighting sources like fluorescent bulbs. For large-format print providers this is fantastic news because it will help sell more backlit projects to end-use customers.

LED providers like LEDCONN and Louisville Lamp have been working on viable solutions for backlit cabinets and appear to have been successful. LEDs can be used to provide different effects, from a more typical backlit to edge-lit and other halo-lit applications. And, since LEDs are tiny and compact, the cabinet profile is much slimmer, for an elegant, screen-like display.

Printing guru and Color Cossack, Tom Hauenstein, he of the infamously awesome LexJet Great Output Tour, said the one thing to look out for with LED lighting is that it’s cooler/bluer than other light sources. Therefore, it’s recommended that you test and experiment with images on the light source to see how they shift and adjust accordingly. Also, you might be able to request a warmer version of the LEDs from the manufacturer or supplier.

Other companies in the industry, like Sylvania and SloanLED, have been concentrating on the larger outdoor backlit cabinets and very close to revolutionizing this part of the sign industry as they did with channel letters (it’s estimated that most channel letter installations are now done with LEDs rather than neon).

Now is an excellent time to look into LED lighting as part of your large-format print services. The qualities and benefits of LEDs, as well as their novelty and eco-friendly aspect, provide additional opportunity and profit potential

Tomorrow, look for a Shopper Expo wrap-up on the “path to purchase,” how that path is changing with Internet media and smart phones and what it means to you.

Wide Format Printer Giveaway at the Shopper Marketing Expo in Chicago

Printer giveaway at Shopper Marketing Expo in ChicagoBe sure to stop by Booth 720 at the Shopper Marketing Expo in Chicago, Oct., 18-20, for a chance to pick up the Canon iPF8300S LexJet will be giving away to one fortunate booth visitor. Plus, when you buy an Expand banner stand you’ll get 50 percent off any roll of LexJet’s Poly Select fabric.

These show specials are in addition to LexJet’s current printer promotion: Buy a 42-inch or wider printer and you’ll get an iPad 2, while supplies last. As a reminder, all printers come with free shipping and everything else comes with the low LexJet flat shipping rate of $9.99.

The Shopper Marketing Expo will be held at Chicago’s Navy Pier and is focused on the “path to purchase.” LexJet is an integral part of that path to purchase, providing in-house corporate print shops and point of purchase providers with the graphics tools needed to draw the consumer off the path and to the purchase.

LexJet retail graphics experts will be on hand at Booth 720 to consult on finding the most efficient, economical and effective ways to implement a promotional and branding program. Take advantage of LexJet’s expertise, its wide range of products for any retail graphics need available through the industry’s most sophisticated and reliable shipping and logistics network, and promotional specials at the booth.

To register for the Shopper Marketing Expo, click here. If you have any questions or would like to set up a meeting at the show, contact a LexJet customer specialist at 800-453-9538. Stay tuned here at the LexJet Blog, as well as our Twitter feed for live updates from the Shopper Marketing Expo.

Get More POP for Your P.O.P. with LexJet at the Shopper Marketing Expo

Retail graphics and point of purchase trade showThe Shopper Marketing Expo at Chicago’s Navy Pier, Oct. 18-20, is more than a point of purchase exhibition; it’s all about the entire “path to purchase.” As an integral part of the path to purchase, LexJet will be on hand in Booth 720, showcasing the latest creative point of purchase and shopper marketing ideas.

Stay tuned here at the LexJet Blog before and during the show for LexJet show specials and reports on what’s going on in retail graphics and marketing. Also, check LexJet’s Twitter feed during the show, Oct. 18-20, for up-to-the minute news and points of interest.

LexJet provides retail graphics solutions for in-house corporate print shops and point-of-purchase providers looking for versatile, flexible and unique ways to produce eye-catching, effective promotional and branding programs.

To register for the show, click here, and if you have any questions, you’re looking for specific information from the show or you’d like to meet us there, contact a LexJet customer specialist at 800-453-9538.