Lightning Labels: Go Digital with Labels to Capture Imagination, Market Share

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Peter Renton, founder of Lightning Labels, America's first all-digital label printer, offers tips for businesses to leverage digital label printing to gain a competitive advantage. Digital printing enables products to be customized with varieties of labels, even personalized and limited edition labels. Quality is excellent and, for small quantities, the cost of digital printing may represent a savings over traditional printing methods. Innovative companies cal differentiate themselves and their products -- and gain a huge advantage in a crowded marketplace -- with digital printing.

Peter Renton, founder of Lightning Labels, America's first all-digital label printer, offers tips for businesses to leverage digital label printing to gain a competitive advantage.

State-of-the-art digital printing enables products to be customized with varieties of labels, even personalized and limited edition labels. Unlike traditional printing presses where plates and inks are loaded before any labels are printed, a time-consuming and rigid process that produces roll after roll of identical labels, digital label printing requires no plates and every label potentially can be different.
Digital label printing quality has improved dramatically since it was introduced in the mid-1990s. While it is slower than traditional printing, digital printing quality is now as good -- or even better -- than its traditional counterpart.

For 10,000 or fewer labels, it is likely less expensive to use digital printing. But that's just one of many benefits. Here are some ways you can leverage digital label printing to gain a competitive advantage:

1. Make Every Package Different. Using digital printing, you could create literally hundreds -- or even thousands -- of label designs for the same product, and customize every container.

2. Limited Edition Labels. For decades, artists have produced high-quality, individually-numbered limited edition prints of their paintings. Similarly, to give a particular product additional cache, you could print a limited number of labels and number each one. Those buying the lower numbers, such as 1-10, would perceive this as a real find--and possibly pay a substantial premium.

3. Private Label Products. The US corporate promotions market is an $18 billion a year industry. Hundreds of companies affix logos to shirts, baseball caps and water bottles. This could be a great opportunity for companies wanting to offer specially packaged products tied to a particular promotion or event. Digital label printing is essential for this kind of market. Many small orders can be gang-run in one large order for cost efficiency.

4. Holiday Gifts. Forty percent of corporate gift buying occurs during the holiday season. Companies can partner with a local, regional or favorite product manufacturer or distributor to produce holiday gifts for top customers. Using digital printing, each container can be personalized with the recipient's name and the company's name on the label.

To create a personalized holiday gift, provide a customer list to your digital label printer; these names can easily be inserted into an existing label.

5. Personalized Products. Offer personalized products for special occasions. Where feasible, and the information is available, a company could send selected customers gratis product with a "Happy Birthday, _____" label. You could even develop such a program around one-of-a-kind occasions (e.g., marriage, birth of a child, major job promotion). Functionally, this can be handled by adding customized labels to the standard digital print run for regular labels.

Now, imagine your company's packaging possibilities with digital label printing, an industry moving from small niche to mainstream. Quality is excellent, with high resolution and rich colors equal to or better than traditional printing processes. For small quantities, the cost of digital printing may represent a savings. Forward-thinking companies can differentiate themselves--and gain a huge advantage in a crowded marketplace -- with digital printing.

Peter Renton is the founder of Lightning Labels, America's first all-digital label printer. He writes regularly about the label printing industry on his blog at http://blog.lightninglabels.com.

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