The growing bond between print and retail

Today, it is vital for the retail industry to adapt according to changes in shopping habits, and key trends of consumers. To meet these consumer demands, businesses are dependent on developments in technology and print to maintain high levels of operational efficiency.

Upon speaking with industry leaders and partners at the recent Retail Expo 2019, printer manufacturer and managed print services provider OKI witnessed a few upcoming trends to help identify the demands of retailers today and how the print industry can facilitate these evolving requirements. 

OKI Europe’s head of marketing communications for North West region, Michelle Joseph, discusses the growing bond between print and retail.


In the world of digitalisation, it is becoming increasingly difficult to sustain consumers’ attention towards a particular brand and for the retailer to hold strong influence over one’s purchasing decision. The reason for this is the abundance of choices and options, which now encourages consumers to express a level of individualism. This results in personalisation becoming one of the most effective ways that retailers can ensure their marketing material stands out. Thus, businesses are looking into how they are able to cater for this on-going trend by offering bespoke products and services; particularly as recent studies have found that 70% of shoppers are willing to pay at least 10% more for personalised products.

How can print help?

Improvements in print technology have now allowed retailers to provide bespoke and personalised services, as per the nature of their business.  For example, ongoing developments in digital printers have helped businesses expand their offerings of personalised products and services. Thanks to technological advanced retail print solutions, in areas such as labelling and print signage, there now exist more possibilities for variable data and targeted campaigns. Naturally, as demand increases for bespoke products and services, the production will become more time and cost effective. Overall, personalised print remains a unique experience in an increasingly digitalised marketing landscape for both retailers and end consumers.

Augmented reality

In a digital world where it’s easy to order virtually anything you can find in the shops online and have it delivered to your door, there often lacks incentive to visit a store. However, the physical experience is still valued as online ordering cannot offer the interaction with the product before deciding to make a purchase. Hence, retailers understand that customer experience must be interactive through experiential instore tech. Original research of over 1,000 shoppers in the Generation Game Report from Grassfish found that the spotlight is firmly on digital technology in-store this year, as 52% are keen to use some form of technology in physical stores.

How can print help?

From an operational perspective, to help retailers, print firms must allow the process of printing in store to be cost and time effective. Print firms now offer retailers digital commercial printers, which possess solutions such as web to print systems. This includes remote publishing, online printing and e-business printing, to communicate and sell their products and services. Consequently, it also acts as a multifunctional printer, which performs high quality, and instant in store print as per the business demand and requirements. Thanks to such multifunctional printers, labels are being printed per product in stock, which leads the procedure to become cost efficient for the relevant business. By printing responsively and on-demand, print retail also remains eco sustainable and individualised to each business.

Increased data security

According to the Thales Data Security report, 43% of retailers have experienced a data breach in the past year, and a third of those reported more than one breach. As retailers accumulate more personal data from consumers, the risks involving data breaches increases. Data collected through online shopping, loyalty programmes and digital marketing enables relatively small retailers to also become susceptible to cyber hacks. Furthermore, the retail sector shows a high level of concern around documents being accessed by unauthorised users and according to the Quocirca’s recent report, 80% mentioned a lack of audit trails on usage as a major concern. As retail organisations often operate a disparate print environment, it is challenging to protect and secure the hardware, from both a technology and user access perspective. Also, more retailers now realise the importance of data protection, and are consistently reviewing their business practices. This process not only mitigates the risk of data breaches, but also maintains the trust of consumers who shared their personal data with an organisation.

How can print firms help?

In Quocirca’s recent survey, 61% of large enterprises admitted suffering at least one data breach through insecure printing. Given the vulnerability surrounding network protection within the print retail infrastructure, businesses must employ standard policies for printer security. Print firms equally understand that closing the gap in print security requires a range of measures to be implemented. Thus, most manufacturers offer a combination of built-in security features on various aspects such as the hardware, proprietary, third-party software tools. Organisations must also ensure that all data is printed in compliance with the regulations and other measures such as secure printing with PIN, or encrypted hard drives and networks are considered. Overall, as the security threat landscape expands, the need for tighter print security solutions, which encompass risk analysis and ongoing security optimisation of the print environment will remain vital.

Age of convenience

Upon attending the retail expo, a key message deduced is that a great retail sector is one which provides the best customer service. In a fast-paced world where consumer demands are constantly changing, print firms allow individual businesses to be able to efficiently meet the end consumers. We live in age of convenience and providing organisations with the best print practices helps all verticals of retail remain current and relevant to aid a flourishing market.

For more information visit the OKI retail website.

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