Retail’s digital print future

The emergence of omni-channel retail means now more than ever there is an opportunity for digital print to help retailers appeal to the consumer at every point of the customer journey.

In the retail world, 2015 was unrecognisable from 2005, let alone 1995. Not only is the market growing – the global retail market is set to exceed $23.9 trillion in 2015, up 6.4% from 20141 – it is undergoing a period of rapid and continuous change.

Of course, the emergence of online retailers is a hugely important trend. However, it’s not a case of online or offline. The reality is a more complex scenario known as omni-channel, where retailers are realising they need to be everywhere that their customers are.

The opportunity in-store

In 2018, it is forecasted that just 8.8% of sales will be online2. This represents a huge opportunity for PSPs as print fundamentally shapes the overall experience of shopping in-store through traditional POS, high-value printed interior decoration and promotional materials.

Retail is an innovative market. Temporary pop-up shops are commonly seen on the high street, giving brands the opportunity to implement exciting printed interiors that aren’t always possible within retail stores. Once in-store, advanced technologies can also help retailers to bridge the gap between online, mobile and offline shopping to improve or enrich the customer experience; including click & collect, online appointment booking, beacons and QR codes.

Many retailers are excited by the personalisation and variable printing possibilities offered by digital print. They can use a range of data from purchase history to demographic information and even location to deliver printed materials – in the form of flyers, large boards, short-run catalogues, etc. – that are directly relevant to a particular store or a specific individual. For example, a fashion retailer can easily produce marketing materials around a product it is keen to sell. It could do a photoshoot in the morning, send it to the printers (either in-house or to a print provider) and have the campaign up in store, or on local billboards, that afternoon. It is part of a broader shift in their businesses to a digital workflow using real-time sales figures.

There are also significant cost benefits to digital print. Retailers no longer need to print on a large scale before a run becomes viable and they can make imagery work harder across a variety of materials. For instance, they can place high-quality editorial shoots in the shop window and then take details from the images to use as high-impact point-of-sale materials.

As a result, retailers are discovering the role that digital print can play in helping them attract shoppers and shape their retail experience.

What next?

The first step for PSPs is to act swiftly. Your competitors, and retailers themselves, have spotted this opportunity and are already using digital in-store.

The next step is to decide which digital applications can offer the most effective communications for you. What about trans-promo or short run publications?

These big questions don’t need to be answered overnight, but you must start the journey. Read Canon’s Think Retail report to find out more and to be inspired.

1 Global Retail and E-Commerce Sales Forecast, 2013-2018,, 2015

2 Global Retail Market Forecast, E-Marketer, 2014

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