Short-run labels and packaging printing: the e-commerce boom presenting huge opportunities for Print Service Providers

Rob Brown, Senior Manager Business Development, OKI Europe Ltd, explores how Print Service Providers can access new revenue opportunities by supplying short-run packaging and labels to businesses transitioning to e-commerce sales channels
Online sales have been steadily growing year-on-year, however, no one could have predicted the impact the pandemic would have on businesses. E-commerce revenues in Europe exceeded US$425.2bn in 2020 and this growth looks set to continue, expecting to reach around US$570bn in value by 20251

With traditional revenue streams in decline due to changing consumer habits and technological developments2, the impact of the global pandemic has left businesses rethinking their existing strategies. Retailers, retailer-producers, restaurants & cafés that were previously focused on physical sales or experiences have been re-evaluating their online presence to continue to service their customers and keep their business going through government-imposed lockdowns and restrictions. This change has resulted in new opportunities for Print Service Providers.

The short-run, on-demand opportunity

Many retailers and restaurant businesses have already made the shift online. While initially these services were developed as a short-term response to keep business going, many have unlocked new lucrative revenue streams and are set to make these additional services permanent, while others are likely to follow. 
As businesses pivot to new e-commerce based operating models, this brings with it operational challenges smaller businesses may not have needed to consider previously, from packaging, labelling and shipping to pick and pack stock management. Furthermore, listening, understanding, and responding to consumer demand is an increasingly necessary step that could help stabilise businesses following these uncertain times and Print Service Providers are uniquely placed to help support them by providing short-run, on-demand packaging and label printing.
Whether it’s a small neighbourhood restaurant that has seen a huge uptake in local deliveries since the pandemic began, a chain of retail stores capitalising on home delivery, or a small producer that has started selling directly to consumers online, there are exciting opportunities for Print Service Providers to support these businesses. 

The importance of packaging

When shifting to online, businesses need to replicate the same experience that customers are used to in a physical environment. And as packaging is often a consumers’ first physical touchpoint with a brand, businesses need their packaging and labels to reflect the quality of their services and products.
The shift to online purchases can bring different challenges, including competing against new or different competitors, so standing out in the market is key. Businesses need to make the process of receiving and unwrapping their order exciting and memorable. Labels and packaging that add that extra degree of wow-factor, including personalisation, can play a crucial role here.
Get the packaging right, and businesses could secure repeat orders. But get it wrong and they could easily lose customers.

Eliminating the restrictions of short-run printing

Traditionally it has been challenging for Print Service Providers to accept and fulfil orders for short-run labels and packaging, resulting in them often turning this business down. The time and cost of setting up smaller runs pushes up the price of production, and customers are put off paying higher prices.

Family-run tea import company Tea Club and organic food producer Diet-Food experienced this challenge. Unable to find a Print Service Provider able or willing to fulfil smaller packaging and label printing orders, demanding significantly larger minimum orders than required with long turn-around times, leading to wastage and the inability to fulfil customised or personalised orders. By investing in the latest short-run, on-demand printing technology made it easier and more affordable to produce the exact volume of creative, vibrant, professional quality labels and packaging when needed and the ability to meet their customers’ demands for personalisation. 

Making the ultimate impression with five colour printing

Investing in a device that features innovative five colour printing technology allows any Print Service Provider to push the boundaries of creativity. OKI’s unique CMYK+White five colour printing technology allows users to produce labels, packaging and other collateral using white toner as an underlay, so designs stand out on dark and transparent substrates, opening up new possibilities.  
High-end Italian design and print agency Grafiche Morbegnesi’s diverse client base regularly requests custom label orders. The agency relied on a third-party label supplier with long lead times and minimum order quantities. 
Using OKI’s label printer, Grafiche Morbegnesi can print any volume of labels, from a single unit to 1,000, on-demand, quickly and affordably. The OKI label printer’s five colour technology produces striking results that have led to a noticeably higher quality compared to previous labels. 

Seizing the e-Commerce opportunity

Diverse media handling is an essential attribute to look for in a device that offers true versatility. Being able to print on a wide variety of substrates will maximise options for clients and, like five colour printing, allows the boundaries of creativity to be pushed even further.  
As more retailers, producers and restauranteurs enter or continue in the world of e-commerce, Print Service Providers should be ready to tap into the opportunities by diversifying into label and packaging printing. A relatively low investment in a compact device makes short-run printing financially viable and achieves creative, stand-out results with ease. 
Discover more about OKI’s innovative, award-winning solutions for Print Service Providers or request a Callback to claim your free* Personalised Print Samples.

Request a Callback to claim your free* Personalised Print Samples or find out more about OKI’s Solutions for Print Service Providers

*Terms & Conditions Apply
  1. This offer is provided by OKI Europe Limited (“OKI”) and is valid from 1 April 2021 until 31 December 2021.
  2. The offer is conditional upon you requesting and receiving a callback from an OKI Representative.
  3. This offer is limited to Print Service Providers only. A Print Service Provider is a business that provides commercial printing services.
  4. The offer is limited to 2 print samples per business or individual, on a first come first served basis, while stocks last.
  5. To participate, your registered office (or for individuals your address) must be located in EMEA.
  6. Individuals must be at least 18 years of age to benefit from this offer.
  7. The offer is subject to the laws and exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales.
  8. OKI reserves the right to amend, extend or terminate this offer without prior notice.
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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