By Cassandra Balentine
Part 1 of 2
More than a necessity, banner display solutions present an opportunity for print service providers (PSPs) to offer added value and in some cases, repeat business. In addition to media and ink, presentation should be considered as part of the overall package and a variety of options stocked.
“In this day and age, every printer offers some sort of solution for displaying graphic panels, whether it is a banner stand, flag stand, pop up, light box, or directly mounted to a solid surface or other frame system,” says Ed Fedorowich, marketing coordinator, Expand International of America, Inc. “As a printing company, you must be a solutions provider, not just a printer. If you print the most beautiful graphic for your customer and they are going to hang the print on the wall with thumb tacks, then you have done a disservice to the customer,” he adds.
Many PSPs are already in tune to this need. “Typically, about 75 percent or more of our customers offer some type of display hardware and the digital printing that goes with it,” says Wayne Colbath, national sales manager – southern U.S., Drytac Corporation. He explains that it is a profitable, recurring business that fits nicely with what is produced on most types of digital printing and finishing equipment.
Marc Tacke, business development manager, VKF Renzel USA Corp., estimates that about 50 percent of print providers currently utilize and/or offer display hardware services. “We are seeing this increase as more print providers expand their product range,” he says.
The benefits of combining displays and print are apparent. Not only can PSPs incorporate the solutions as part of an overall package, there is also the opportunity of recurring business from changeable displays. Manufacturers and distributors of display systems are quick to offer support to PSPs looking to stock products.
“We are letting print providers know that they can increase profits by offering our frames and display products along with the images they are creating for clients,” says Darius Augustine, GM, Alpina Manufacturing, LLC. The company notes that its FlipUp and Slide-In frames are popular and present an easy-to-use graphic frame display system.
Drytac educates its prospective and existing dealer base on several levels. “Existing dealers are offered continuing education on how to sell and support display hardware as well as digital media options for end users,” says Colbath. “We work with sales, production, and purchasing personnel at the dealer level to sell, produce, and buy the correct products for customers.”
Colbath notes that in recent years roll up banner stands have gained tremendous market share. “They are portable, versatile, and aesthetically pleasing, and their graphics can be easily changed,” he adds.
Expand encourages PSPs to offer a variety of displays to solve a range of needs. “These needs can be based on budget, location of an event, length of campaign, shipping logistics, functionality, features, warranty, sustainability, reusability, or any combination of the previously mentioned criteria,” points out Fedorowich.
He also notes the importance of high-quality displays. “Unfortunately, many print providers get stuck in the rut of selling on price. With this said, they offer some of the cheapest displays on the market because they view the displays as an accessory to the print. Since the printer has a vested interest in quality, they fail to realize that the hardware is the most important part of the customer’s overall marketing message. If that display hardware fails, then the graphic may lean, be crooked, sag, or not even be able to be displayed.”
Russell Krouse, Midwest sales, Expolinc Corp., says print providers should be aware that adding display hardware can add to the quality of a print and create return business. “If you invest in a quality stand, graphics can be changed out over time to create more of a print program than a one-time deal. It also adds a simple amount of revenue,” he explains.
He warns that it is important for the PSPs to have a discussion with the customer about application and display requirements up front, rather than just to go by the popularity of an item.
Lauren Lake, marketing coordinator, Gyford StandOff Systems, suggests thinking of a graphic like a photograph. “When you purchase a photo from a photographer it comes with the framing or whatever mounting option it is displayed in. Print providers should think the same way,” says Lake. “Offering display hardware is an opportunity to increase sales while providing that little extra in customer service. We make sure to point out different options to our print clients. We offer demo models, samples, and showroom discounts to help clients show off display hardware options in print shops.”
The company also offers a variety of resources like how-to videos and image galleries. “We find many of our clients showing our images and videos to customers as a way to display mounting or installation options,” she adds.
ImageOne Impact helps educate its client base through email blasts that show how the hardware is used. Dave Harris, VP/GP, ImageOne Impact, says the company also hosts product demonstrations in its showroom, at trade shows, and distributor open houses. “Many of our products now have videos online so users can see how to use and benefit from the hardware,” he notes.
Harris explains that banner display hardware still seems to be a dominate product line but solid substrate hardware is catching up fast. “Hardware sales are driven by what supports low cost print and display substrates,” he adds.
LexJet Corporation sales specialists are knowledgeable about methods to help clients choose the right display solution for a project, including when and how to utilize various types of display hardware, says Jennifer Corn, product line manager, LexJet.
In Corn’s opinion, sturdy retractable banner stands for various applications—from trade shows to presentations—are the most popular.
Paradigm Imaging Group’s sales staff educates customers on the benefits of offering various types of hardware. Mary Geesman, display sales, Paradigm Imaging Group, says banner stands seem to be the most requested item.
David Pountney, director, Pizazz Display Systems, shares that its distributors’ sales staffs promote display hardware to print provider customers.
He says the company’s mono•mount standoffs are best for graphics printed on substrates and its patented multi•mount standoffs are best for changeable graphic displays where the graphic is printed on paper and film.
VKF Renzel provides on-site training to both sales staff and product managers regarding its hardware, material options, and economical/cost-saving solutions. “Clients and printers are always welcome in our warehouse for additional on-site training regarding our manufacturing capabilities and any additional options we can offer,” says Tacke. The company’s most popular products for PSPs are its clear sign holders and mounting hardware.
While the benefits of adding more service offerings are elementary, it is important that PSPs build this consideration into their sales plan. By providing display hardware, including banner stands, frames, and standoffs, they offer customers a complete solution. In the second half of this series, we discuss the limitations of display solutions and the remedies offered by hardware manufacturers and distributors.
Jan2014, Digital Output DOFH1401