Nano Bits. When Nano Meets Print.

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Monday, 15 September 2014 | By Gerry Mulvaney


By Gerry Mulvaney, European Sales Manager, Landa Digital Printing

I was walking along a street minding my own business in my local shopping centre recently when I nearly fell over a large box of catalogues on the pavement. They were on free offer to passing shoppers and to make it even easier to take one, came with the option of a carrier bag in order to take it home.

What surprised me about the offer was it came from Argos, one of the UK’s largest catalogue stores who are now combining bricks and mortar stores with online retailing and click and collect services.

You might have expected that printed materials would not play a part in the new era of Internet shopping, but clearly this is not the case and printed materials are considered by retailers as an integral part of their offer.

Box of free catalogs with bags from Argos 
Free printed catalogues and bags from Argos

Of course Argos is not alone in providing a catalogue for the store customers. Another famous brand doing the same is Ikea, in addition to their website and iconic stores with the long walk to the checkout. I also regularly receive, with my weekend newspaper supplements, catalogues for everything from shirts, garden furniture to home furnishings.

All of these retailers have perfectly good websites and in many cases city centre stores. Yet they consider that printed media is an important selling tool.

Printed IKEA catalog
Printed IKEA catalogue 

This must present a great opportunity for innovative printers to create new opportunities for the retailers. We are already seeing the use of QR codes in brochures and catalogues which allow a customer with a smartphone to view a video of the product on offer and place an order directly on the retailer’s website – a perfect combination of print, video, Internet and online shopping.

The Opportunity in Printing Personalised Catalogues

Companies like Ikea will be ordering their catalogues by the million, but I know from my own experience as an Ikea shopper for our holiday home in the south of Spain, that when I am taking that long walk to the checkout, it’s not just Spanish customers browsing the displays. There are a lot of English, Dutch and German customers mingling in the Isles and in recent years we have been joined by Russian shoppers. There must be a great opportunity for an enterprising Spanish printer to produce short runs of catalogues versioned for each nationality.

With the introduction of Nanography® printing in B1 (41 in / 1,050 mm) format, there will be even more ways of producing personalised catalogues, linking the data that the large retailers hold about our shopping habits, with specific offers and products. Of course the cost of distributing a large catalogue means retailers will resort to the tactics used by Argos with a large box in the street.

But if retailers could create bespoke versions using the shopping data they have available, content will be limited to that which is totally relevant. Then the cost of distributing a smaller and lighter version directly to our homes becomes more practical and perhaps I will no longer run the risk of breaking my leg on a box in the street!

Source (lower image):

Commercial Market