Embracing tomorrow: Emerging print trends defining 2024
In the ever-evolving printing industry, keeping up with the latest trends and technological advancements is crucial for success. As a print reseller, staying ahead of the game ensures your business thrives and allows you to capitalise on emerging opportunities.
Trends from Recent Years
To predict what is ahead of us, we must reflect on what has happened in the print industry in recent years. Technological advancements and changing consumer preferences have significantly transformed the industry, as has the current state of the world. One prominent trend was the inevitable rise of digital printing, enabling shorter print runs, faster turnaround times and cost-effective personalised printing. In the midst of the global coronavirus pandemic, the printing industry witnessed a significant transformation - it allowed for a shift towards e-commerce and online printing platforms. Ironically, the pandemic made printing more accessible and convenient for customers, providing print resellers with avenues for reaching their niches and target audiences. The concept of Print-on-Demand also gained prominence. The pandemic also championed it, with publishers able to reduce inventory costs and wastage while providing a platform for authors and smaller businesses to enter the market with low upfront prices. With the regained focus on global warming and the environment, many companies are beginning to, or have already moved to, position themselves as brand leaders regarding sustainability and eco-friendly practices.
Looking on to 2024
Looking ahead to 2024, it is clear that the print industry is on the cusp of some exciting developments. As technological breakthroughs continue to shape how we create and consume printed materials, various trends are set to reach new heights.
Whilst customisation has been a prominent ongoing trend for some time now, the premise of real-time personalisation is a newer one. This innovative concept takes personalisation to the next level by leveraging individual preferences and data in real-time to create highly tailored printed materials. This means businesses can now dynamically adjust and craft their marketing materials at a whim, ensuring each customer receives a unique and personalised experience. The advent of products like CAMIcodes allows people to scan the code and upload personalised video messages to cater to greetings or virtual introductions on business cards. This revolutionary technology enables businesses to forge stronger connections with their customers. In integrating real-time personalisation into their marketing strategies, companies can demonstrate a genuine understanding of their customers' needs and desires - enhancing the customer experience and increasing brand loyalty and engagement.
A Resurgence in Print Advertising
An incredibly recent revelation is that Google has decided to phase out third-party cookies on Chrome over the next year - this means the ability for third parties to track and gather information becomes increasingly challenging. This shift in digital advertising may have unexpected consequences, including a potential resurgence of print advertising. As companies grapple with the limitations imposed by the new regulations, print advertisements offer a more readily available and reliable avenue to reach their target audience. Recent reports indicate that companies like Whistl are upgrading their print advertising services, recognising the potential benefits that this traditional medium can provide in a post-cookie era. This shift in advertising strategies could lead to print advertising becoming a prominent tool for companies looking to connect with customers effectively again.
In 2024, the print industry will undoubtedly continue focusing on sustainability and reducing its ecological footprint. One area of focus might be the adoption of eco-friendly materials and inks. Printers will strive to use more recycled paper and vegetable-based inks, reducing the demand for virgin materials and harmful chemicals. Additionally, printing companies should invest in energy-efficient technologies and practices, such as LED UV curing systems and renewable energy sources. Implementing waste reduction strategies, such as recycling programs and efficient supply chain management, should also be prioritised. Other companies will also begin to work closely with delivery partners to implement sustainable packaging solutions. This might include biodegradable and compostable packaging materials or opting for reusable packaging options whenever possible. WTTB has already gone about reducing our use of single-use plastics and excessive packaging materials – integrating sustainable practices across the company and the industry - to contribute to a greener, more eco-friendly future while meeting customers' evolving needs.
AI and Automated Services
The print industry is poised to undergo significant advancements in AI and automated services. These technologies could revolutionise the industry by streamlining processes, improving operational efficiency and reducing the capacity for errors. With AI algorithms and machine learning capabilities, print resellers can leverage customer data to offer personalised recommendations and targeted marketing campaigns. Additionally, automation can be integrated into the production workflow, optimising tasks such as file preparation, printing and finishing. The industry can transform operations by embracing AI and automation, providing faster turnaround times, higher accuracy, and a more seamless customer experience.
Resources for Resellers
Resellers must adopt a proactive approach to stay ahead and capitalise on these emerging trends in the print industry. Resellers can benefit from various tools, websites and publications to gather market insights. Google Trends, for example, provides data on searching trends, making it a viable tool for resellers to identify popular keywords and topics in the printing industry. Additionally, industry-specific websites and publications such as Print Week or Print Monthly provide valuable information on market trends, innovations and customer preferences. By collaborating closely with print providers, resellers can stay updated with the latest technologies and offerings. At WTTB, we continuously work to improve the customers' options, including state-of-the-art machinery like our Muller Vareo to streamline book production and a Direct-to-Film printer to allow new print possibilities across apparel and beyond.
Expanding product and service offerings is also crucial, allowing resellers to cater to diverse customer needs and remain competitive. And, thanks to services like Artworker+ or our Reseller Tools, this makes the expansion process a whole lot simpler with a tier-based graphic design service or markup calculators at the ready. Additionally, establishing a robust online presence and implementing an effective marketing strategy is vital for reaching a wider audience and generating leads. Oftentimes, companies underestimate how powerful social media is, with TikTok serving as one of the best social networks for awareness and online conversions. By staying adaptable and attuned to customer demands, print resellers can position themselves as leaders in the industry and thrive in the ever-evolving printing landscape.
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