Wide Format Graphics: A Critical Part of the Communications Mix (What They Think)

Brick-and-mortar stores can have a great deal of influence on consumers’ purchasing decisions. According to a Consumer Buying Habits study conducted by Point-of-Purchase Advertising International and Meyers Research Center, approximately 70% of purchasing decisions are made in-store. Therefore, advertising brands at the actual point of purchase makes perfect sense. A 2012 FexEx Office study of 1,000 consumers over age 17 measured the attraction power of signage and its impact on shoppers’ intent to visit a store and make a purchase. According to this study:

  • Nearly 8 in 10 (76% of consumers) say that they have entered a store they have never visited before based on its signs.
  • Almost 7 in 10 (68% of consumers) have purchased a product or service because a sign caught their eye.
  • 3 out of 4 consumers told someone else about a store based simply on its signage.
  • More than two-thirds (68% of consumers) believe that a store’s signage is reflective of the quality of its products or services.
  • Poor signage can deter consumers from entering a store. Over half (52% of respondents) are less willing to enter a store if they spot misspelled words or poorly-made signs.

Signage is becoming an increasingly important marketing component for attracting on-the-go consumers. As a result, signage and graphics represent a major opportunity for print service providers.

The Increasing Importance of Wide Format Graphics

Penetrating a market or growing an existing business start with understanding key trends driving buyer markets. InfoTrends’ June 2013 study entitled Wide Format Printing: A Critical Element in the Communications Mix surveyed key decision-makers in organizations that provide digitally printed wide format graphics and those that purchase wide-format graphics across six vertical industries (advertising media, entertainment/amusement, events, healthcare, hospitality, and retail) in the United States. This study, now in its third iteration, offers critical insight into who buys wide format graphics, what they buy, and why they buy.

A key finding of this study is that wide format graphics are a major component of communications spending—they represented a sixth of survey respondents’ overall marketing budgets. Buyer respondents also expect to increase their wide format spending over time. The share of buyers who expect to increase their wide format graphics purchasing in the next 12 months was 6.5 times higher than the share of buyers who were expecting to decrease it.??

Wide format graphics providers also reported growth, with respondents reporting volume increases outnumbering those reporting declines by 5 to 1. These survey results backed InfoTrends' ongoing wide format market forecasts, which indicate that this is a growth market for commercial printers, sign shops, and quick printers. InfoTrends expects the retail value of wide format printing in North America to experience a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.9%, reaching $23.6 billion by 2016.

Large Format and Cross-Media

While the media itself is effective, making in-store wide format engaging and interactive can also enable marketers to competitively differentiate themselves. Wide format signage can also expand the value-added services revenue opportunity for print service providers.

Tools like QR codes, Near-Field Communications (NFC) tags, augmented reality, and SMS text campaigns mean that marketers can establish a new form of interactivity and dialogue with consumers. One of the more interesting findings in InfoTrends’ buyer research was that 43% of large format signage and graphics buyers linked printed signage with digital media.

Figure 1: Do you use or have you ever used mobile technologies to combine wide format print with digital media channels?


Banners, window/vehicle decals, transit shelters, and building signage are all being used to download coupon offers or link to businesses’ Websites and social profiles. According to our survey respondents, Websites and social media sites were the most popular types of digital content to link to printed wide format products.

Figure 2: Which of the following types of digital content have you linked to printed wide format products over the past 12 months?


The Bottom Line

Large format printing can become a print service provider’s best friend. In challenging economic times, marketers understand that it is difficult for consumers to miss advertisements that are emblazoned across large banners, posters, or signs. Signage can enable a company to stand head and shoulders above its competitors.

Service providers that are facing declines in traditional offset printing are looking for the next big thing. Large format presents a natural market adjacency for commercial printers, in-plants, and quick printers as well as an increasing opportunity for existing sign shops. Large format also opens up the opportunity to participate in the cross-media world as marketers work to make signs and graphics interactive and engaging for consumers. This creates a new revenue opportunity for value-added services. The pathway to the next big opportunity might be as simple as creating a vehicle wrap, floor graphic, or banner.

View the full article here: http://whattheythink.com/articles/64125-wide-format-graphics-critical-part-communications-mix/?p=97AC137A591442DD746504E49071AC6CB37AC443

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