Retailers and brands are always working to find new ways of influencing shopper behavior. This often relies on creating new, relevant messaging. These messages need to be fresh and, in some ways, even unexpected. While many people have turned to social media marketing and mobile devices to reach potential buyers, there’s a new option that is actually much more low-tech: using digital printing to place messages on the corrugated boxes that serve as secondary packaging.
Secondary packaging is the package that most consumers see in displays, including cardboard boxes, cartons, and even crates. This packaging’s main purpose has always been to protect the primary packaging and the product within it, but thanks to digital printing, it’s come to provide another opportunity to reach prospective customers. Specific stand-up Point of Purchase displays may also be part of this process by adding just a bit more to the secondary packaging itself.
How Digital Printing Works on Corrugated Packaging
Digital printing has been used for high-volume printing on primary packaging and labels for some time, but it’s only recently that many retailers and marketing firms have started using it for printing on corrugated packaging. Thanks to innovations in water-based ink that is food-safe and new thermal inkjet technology, it’s possible to print on corrugated packaging and deliver customized messages. These messages allow retailers to influence shoppers’ buying experiences in their stores.
This packaging is retail-ready and requires stores to do very little other than show it off where it can be seen by customers. It acts as an extension of an actual product, creating a vibrant display that takes up no more space than the product normally would. The retailer doesn’t need to spend time or allocate additional store space for displays, thereby providing an incentive to make use of these printed packages as advertising for the brand.
How Retailers Benefit
You can benefit from digitally printing on these secondary containers in many different ways. First of all, the time for getting the product to market is shortened. It’s possible for brand owners to create personalized messages on their secondary packaging and ship it out within a few days instead of weeks or even months. Everything is quickly printed, packaged, and shipped at very little cost to the brand. The packaging would be necessary, regardless of whether or not it had been printed on, and products would still have to be shipped. The only thing the brand is paying more for is the customized printing on the package, and that is a very small expense.
Digital printing also highly flexible. Brand managers can print the exact amount of packaging that they need. This means there’s nothing extra left over—there are no packages that are discarded because they’re not needed or because they’re obsolete. This also reduces the cost to the brand. Since digital printing allows for smaller print runs, brands don’t need to make large orders as a way to receive a bulk discount. This also reduces waste when only a few small pieces are needed.
The ability to customize the message that is found on the box is also very beneficial. Runs can be customized for specific retailers or locations. The barcode and the watermark printed on the package can change as needed; also brands can even print customer names, photos, and other designs on packages. All brands need to do is put together the correct digital file with all of the designs that need to be printed. The printer pulls each design from the file, prints the required number of packages, and then moves on to the next design or the next print job.
All of this allows for brands to create versions of their products for various locations and activities. Targeted marketing lets brands create micro-segments of customers who may respond better to certain types of marketing than those in other areas. It also allows brands to do more targeted testing or to identify where products are within their life cycle more easily. This can help remove older products from stock more quickly or visually show retailers when they need to switch products.
Finally, the corrugated packaging is seen as both fun and exciting by customers. Brands can engage with customers on multiple levels using digital printing, traditional advertising methods, and social media. When campaigns can come together across multiple platforms, brands often see an increase in revenues and grow their customer base.
Using digital printers on the secondary packaging is still a fairly new idea, but it’s one that is likely to catch on. The different benefits of printing on corrugated packaging are sure to catch the eyes of retailers and brand managers. Many brands are currently exploring how they can make use of this creative method of advertising to engage with their customer base. It’s likely that, in the future, most brands and retailers will make use of this type of customizable, flexible advertising as a way to share messages with customers and others. And, it’s nice to know that digital flatbed cutters are fully equipped to cut digitally printed secondary and primary packaging designs for such targeted marketing campaigns.