Why a compact media flexible printer belongs on every retailer’s shopping list

Javier Lopez, General Manager Vertical Solutions, OKI Europe Ltd discusses how having the ability to print in-store signage on-demand can play an important role in driving shoppers back to brick and mortar stores without taking up expensive retail space.
Space is at a premium in retail. Rising rents coupled with the negative impact the pandemic has had on the high-street could lead to some retailers downsizing. Those that had planned to move locations or expand the footprint of their stores may have to halt their plans and make do with the space they have. 
 
Retailers have to consider various factors when it comes to how they use their floor space. This includes traffic flow, floor plans and product placement. They also have to accommodate for checkout areas, collection desks, stock room and, depending on the size and nature of the store, customer service desks, back offices and changing rooms.
 
What’s more, the growing volume of retail technologies that enhance the customer experience are also demanding space in-store. These can include smart kiosks and self-service checkouts, but some retailers are also experimenting with more immersive technologies. 
 
In 2020 fashion brand & Other Stories trialled a vending machine in its Paris store that allowed customers to try specific products1. Similarly, Zara implemented a VR experience allowing customers to see items available in store paraded by models on a virtual catwalk2. Each of these applications will have required a dedicated portion of floor space for customers to experience the technology freely. 
 
Of course, getting the customer experience right is a top priority. Online shopping has become more popular than ever thanks to the pandemic, the European Commission reports, so attracting customers back into stores and winning back their loyalty will be key to the survival of physical retail3. However, stores can adapt to this and other unexpected challenges without having to make big investments in expensive technologies that take up precious floor space. 

Bringing the power of print in-store

High impact visual communications are essential for every retailer and with the sector undergoing pandemic-related turmoil, they are more important than ever. Yet reliance on third-party print providers can make it timely and costly to react to changing requirements in-store. 
 
If retailers could bring print in-store in a way that could be easily managed and maintained by store staff, they could react faster to market changes and evolving shopper demand. Printing in-store could also help them reduce external expenditure and drive ROI which are both factors that are becoming all the more crucial as the sector recovers from the pandemic. 
 
The biggest barrier to the benefits of printing in-store is space. Finding a place for a printer that can produce a wide range of retail collateral in professional quality can be challenging as devices that deliver on retailers’ needs are typically too bulky for shopping environments. Yet, innovative compact solutions are now making in-store printing a reality. 

A powerful output with a minimal footprint

Personalised printing, Banner printing, Personalisation, C650
A new generation of compact high-performance printers are giving retailers the speed and agility they need to respond to new challenges and changing demands by enabling professional printing in-store. A device like OKI’s super compact C650 is small enough to sit beneath a kiosk or counter, in the stockroom or in the back office, allowing retailers to bring the power of a professional print shop in-store. 
 
Featuring OKI’s pioneering digital LED technology, the C650 provides high speed printing in eye-catching LED colour, perfect for attention-grabbing in-store collateral. While the device may be small, it can print a wide range of media in impressive sizes, types, formats, and finishes, from 60gsm up to 256gsm, and from B8 up to 1.32m in length. 
 
With this new generation of devices, retailers can print everything from POS material, free standing and hanging banners, pricing, in-store promotions, floor and window stickers and social distancing signage in-house and on-demand. Having such a compact but versatile printer in-store also allows retailers to deliver on the growing demand for personalisation4 through customised stickers, labels, and packaging. 
Personalisation, Colour printer, Compact printer, media flexible printer
 
Maintenance can be another typical pain point to printing in-store, yet the C650 challenges this by making self-maintenance as easy as possible with all internals accessible from the front of the printer. However, maintenance and downtime shouldn’t be an issue as the device has been built with high-value componentry where most others use plastics, meaning the C650 isn’t just fast and versatile but robust and reliable too. 
 
Retailers needn’t exclude in-store print from their plans to engage with customers as they re-emerge from the pandemic. Compact devices like the C650 can provide retailers with all the in-house printing capabilities they need without impacting the store layout or requiring specialist expertise.
Please note, for information on specific media that should be used with OKI printers for the applications specified on this page, please contact your local certified dealer or contact us.

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