Savvy shoppers are increasingly looking for information before committing to a purchase. Whether it is nutritional data on a food product or care instructions for a garment, today’s customers use their buying power to find out what they’re getting before they head to the checkout.
And where do they find this information? On the label, of course. We tend to take the humble label for granted, but today it is playing a crucial role in the engagement between business and consumer.
Labels describe the product, list its ingredients or its size, explain its use, warn against misuse and give important information such as the date of manufacture and batch number. The price label lets the customer know how much the product retails for. And the label grades the product – it gives the buyer information on its quality, where appropriate.
The label is also where the customer will find statutory information required by law – for example, notices that advise smoking is injurious to health, and warnings in the case of dangerous or poisonous substances.
From the manufacturer’s point of view, this type of warning and instructional information helps to protect the company from claims of liability and lawsuits. Labels featuring barcodes and RFID tags also help manufacturers and retailers track and control inventory, and provide data to help deepen customer relationships. All these functions are practical, common-sense and in some cases mandatory.
Labels for Marketing
But the increasingly important role of the label is in the area of branding. More and more businesses are using attractive labels to help build brand recognition and drive purchase. Typically featuring at the very least the brand logo and color palette, the label has become a significant element of the promotional mix, helping to draw the customer’s attention and motivating the purchase decision.
The increasingly rapid product cycle in the retail sector demands a constant flow of labels that catch the eye as well as provide information. Brand managers recognize that stand-out customized labels make a significant difference in shifting stock keeping units (SKUs) – and designers have been tasked to come up with ever more attractive labels.
The label structure itself has evolved from a one-dimensional piece printed with a static image, to allow multi-layer labels, where each layer can be peeled off to reveal further information, promotional offers or QR codes.
Commercial printers who can reliably and cost-effectively meet this demand from end-users are strongly positioned to expand their service offering and build deeper relationships with their customers, resulting in more predictable cash flow and improved profitability.
The Competitive Edge
How are printers and converters to deliver against this opportunity? The answer, as in so many areas of business today, lies in technology. Label printers are increasingly going digital, bringing to their craft the same advantages that the digital revolution provides to the entire printing industry. Rapid turnaround, low-cost short runs, easy customization and simplicity of accurate printing on every kind of material makes digital printing the solution of choice for all label print jobs, from routine standardized tags to promotional and spot marketing campaigns. The traditional flexo press can still produce good results, but commercial printers are finding that the digital press delivers an entirely different – and better – job.
Moving to digital printing is of course not a completely simple process. Commercial printers and converters need to develop new ways of working, including the introduction of a more sophisticated management information system and consideration of factors like a greater colour gamut, DPI resolution, inline or offline finishing and laser die-cutting.
Leading the way
Epson’s latest range of SurePress digital label printers are a cost-effective and reliable solution, designed to deliver exceptional print quality and accurate colour reproduction, along with versatility that can be tailored to meet various needs and budgets. Users cite print quality, turnaround speed, repeatability and small text legibility as key benefits of the SurePress L-4033AW model. This flagship of the SurePress range is an easy-to-operate seven-color inkjet digital label press with white ink that makes high-quality, short-run label printing easier and more efficient, even on clear and metallic substrates.
With its compact size, superior quality output, speed and versatility, printers and converters are hailing Epson’s SurePress family of digital label presses as the ideal solution for all their digital label printing needs.