I often wondered what a high level of stress may have felt like, but now, after the events of 2016, I can certainly say I now know what a small dose feels like. Wow! what a rollercoaster year it was, starting with a calm beginning, a rocky Brexit and a final dose of trump terror at the end. If you’re into your celebrities then you will also have heard the terrible, almost daily news of another legend passing away.
There is a creeping mist of uncertainty amongst many small to medium sized businesses as we head into 2017. With so many print companies turning off their printers for the last time, there is an ever-decreasing number of small sized printers operating in the UK.
Mergers and acquisitions of smaller print companies is a common trend that similarly affected the convenience store market in the nineties. Smaller sized print companies are fighting harder than ever to win and keep business, with a commoditised market, it is harder than ever to offer a value-added service. Customers can simply google, compare your prices quickly getting comparisons but not necessarily getting like for like. 2016 also seen the joining of super powers, the likes of Cimpress swallowing up Tradeprint and Exaprint bolstering there £1.5 Billion turnover.
It is imperative in 2017 to not make selling just about price. Listening to your customer and offering the benefits of buying from you can be just as important to the customer. Helping your client become more efficient with new materials, techniques or even suggesting a slightly different way of doing things that could save them money is a way to overcome the price war.
2017 will usher in a new wave of price increases to raw materials as more and more companies finally pass on the raw manufacturing costs as geopolitical influences start to take hold. This may have a dramatic effect on your product lines and should not be ignored until it is too late. Giving you customers plenty of warning about any potential price increase is imperative. Postage prices have already seen an increase, with more increases expected as the potential for oil price changes to effect running costs for delivery firms.
A growing digital spend by marketing departments has seen a reduction of traditional print advertising, this common trend appearing over the last decade has seen a shift to smarter on page digital interaction and although it is not likely to make the print industry redundant any time soon. It is a common trend that is continuing to grow. How you harness this trend change will affect your bottom line, if you can be in the know and offer your customers the latest physical with digital trends then you will be one step ahead of the competition.
The increase in digital budgets should not be a grim reaper, it should be an opportunity to grab onto new and exciting areas of marketing that print has never been. Using the new ideas that come along with your business in 2017 will only strengthen your foundation as a business.
Personalisation is set for the biggest growth in 2017. We now live in a world where we can order our name and message printed on a bottle of wine, toiletries, and many more gifts that require some sort of label, you can even get your name printed on a jar of marmite – social.marmite.co.uk.
We are now working with several companies that produce a hi volume of personalised products using a mix of new and traditional print hardware. A growing market that demands attention if you are to increase your sales in 2017.
In conclusion, 2017 will certainly bring surprises but hopefully not as many as 2016. As a business, it is important to focus on selling the benefits of dealing with you as a company and to offer a better, more efficient service. It will be a year of looking out for supplier price increases and making sure you warn your customers of any increases you pass on. Personalised products are where it’s at in 2017 and can’t be ignored.