Consumer needs and expectations are continually shifting and, with greater levels of insight into those requirements than ever before, brands need to respond quickly if they want to stay competitive.
This was reflected in research1 we carried out into the manufacturing industry, which looked at the challenges they face and identified that:
1Savanata research commissioned by Canon (UK) Ltd, 2018.
Personalisation and customisation are key trends with today’s consumers, who crave individuality and a relevant, unique experience. Whether they’re ordering high-end printed products with bespoke imagery, choosing packaging tailored to their personal tastes, or viewing marketing materials customised to their purchase history, personalisation makes consumers feel involved and engaged, and is a highly effective tactic to drive brand loyalty.
Consumers expect brands to respond quickly to their evolving demands, with a recent survey revealing over three-quarters of consumers think companies should understand their needs and expectations. Consumers have no trouble switching from brands that can’t keep up; with 57 per cent reporting they stopped buying from a company because a competitor provided a better experience.
The need to keep pace with changing consumer requirements is having a dramatic impact on printing practice. Historically, decisions around the design and content of printed products, packaging, and marketing materials would be made well in advance and reviewed quarterly at most, potentially even annually, with long print runs designed to keep costs low.
Now printing decisions are made in near real time, driven by customer actions. Printed materials quickly become obsolete, so brands opt for shorter print runs, allowing them to make regular changes with minimal waste. Short print runs enable brands to make use of versioning, regionalisation, and special editions, and negate the need to store large volumes of printed products.
The trend for personalisation is also driving brands towards digital print-on-demand services, which allow mass customisation on an international scale. As well as offering personalisation for individuals, brands can use print-on-demand to tailor printed products to particular demographics based on interests and activities, or to particular regions, ethnic groups, family sizes, genders, or languages, so products are more targeted to the end user, and produced when required.