Technology enables us to make products more and more personalised and exclusive, spurring a spectacular increase in demand, especially among the so-called millennials. The printing and graphic design industry has responded to the challenge by producing new digital equipment, new materials, media and inks that make it possible for any object, surface, material and space to be quickly and cheaply personalised in many ways.

36% of consumers would choose to acquire personalised products, but the percentage is much higher among the young. In fact, almost half of all users between 25 and 30 acknowledge that they would like to customise the things they buy. This percentage stands at 40% for the 16 to 24 age group, according to a study by Deloitte. The same report says that 71% of consumers who would prefer personalised products are prepared to pay more for them, which means, on average, an increase of 20% in the final prices, with the corresponding increased profit margin for the brand and retailer.

What is behind this boom in personalisation? Marc Cortés, professor of marketing at ESADE, says that “possessing a personalised product or service makes us feel different and special” while “enhancing the perception of good service by offering a tailored product. This makes consumption more pleasurable, and therefore creates a stronger bond to the brand”. Digital production processes mean that it is easier, cheaper and convenient to offer consumers digital access to these processes.

In this 2017 edition, Graphispag will focus on this trend and encourage those working in different sectors to apply printing to their sectors to “personalise” products to match the tastes of each consumer. Decorators, interior designers, retailers, advertisers, designers, manufacturers and distributors of everyday items from packaging, books and mobile phones to textiles and accessories can increase sales by offering this type of service to brick and mortar stores and online shops. Printing and personalisation can also open doors to new business concepts.

The example of Media Markt

Last year, the Media Markt retail chain, specialising in the sale of domestic appliances, computers and consumer electronics, added an innovative service across its 80 stores in Spain, consisting of the customization of all kinds of electronic devices (smartphones, tablets, consoles, coffee makers and even fridges and washing machines). It did this by installing a Versa UV LEF-20 printer supplied by Roland DG in every store to make it possible to customize any item in stock on demand. This digital printing equipment was also able to customize decorative, gift and photography items on acrylic glass, key rings, wood, metal, televisions, etc.

For the CEO of Roland DG Iberia, Xavier Armengou, the success of personalisation on demand lies in “creating a new purchasing experience for the customer, in the process of personalisation and involvement in the design, and taking the product home straight away”. Armengou claims that this service helps small retailers to stand out from their competition online, increasing the number of visits to the store and the profit margin on each sale.

The Commercial & Industrial Printing director of Epson Ibèrica, Óscar Visuña is of the same opinion, saying that “the stores and businesses that will benefit most are the ones who are among the first to use this technology to offer their customers unique products“. Visuña also mentions other advantages that the same store can achieve, such as the ease with which it can create its own visual communications to constantly customize and update its point of sale. “The creative potential of printing in retail is unlimited”, he adds.

A showroom for printing applications

Graphispag is moving on and putting an end to the eternal question of how to print. What matters now is knowing what can be printed. And the answer is everything. This is the reason why the Fira de Barcelona show is opening a new showroom called Graphispag Live with many types of finished graphics work to present examples from the real world of how printing is being applied in new sectors, with emphasis on publishing, textiles, packaging, interior design and retail.

Containers and packaging that stand out on the shelf, hotel rooms redecorated in a matter of hours, walls adorned with contemporary designs, pages that give off aromas, labels that change colour to show how fresh an item is, holograms to protect against forgeries, lenticular tables, vinyl flooring featuring works of art, items with personalised design and books capable of online connection… Printing means all this and more.