If you’re a large brand, more often than not, you’ll be ordering a significant number of cards based on forecasts and the volumes that drive lower production costs. But have you ever considered the true overall cost?
Or if you’re an SME and only need a low quantity of cards, our new short-run digital print solution is perfect for you too.
If you’re a large brand and purchase 2 million cards based on an annual or even biannual forecast, your card printer is going to give a very competitive quote. So, consider this, you’re prepaying for cards that may not be used for months or even a few years as they get called off over time from stock. You’re also restricted to very 'safe' or limited design variations within those volumes unless, of course, you’re paying for multiple plate changes. You’ve paid the card printer, some of the cards go straight to stores, and the large balance goes into storage. What’s the cost of storage, insurance, pick, pack and distribution? And what if there is a legislation or Ts & Cs change or a brand refresh, the cards are obsolete….then there is the cost of responsibly recycling them.
And, think of the potential uptick in sales if you could have card designs that were ‘in the moment’ and 'relevant', more dynamic in design or even designed to leverage consumer sales data from different regions across your estate.
Hold that thought…
As well as working with the big brands, processors and distributors, we receive lots of enquiries from single site retailers, start-ups and SMEs who only want a low run of cards - 100 to get their programme up and running. It’s a challenge for them to go down the green route when the only current method to service the short run printed cards is to digitally print them on plastic or to wait to batch them together for traditional litho runs where you’ll probably wait longer than you want.
Hold that thought too…
Our first mission was to drive the change from plastic cards to paperboard cards…this is happening and we received an industry award for our efforts. The next step for us was the challenge the actual production of the cards. The normal model does not offer much flexibility to produce a short run of variable designs.
So, we can now print short runs, print on demand cards, on paperboard for all our card formats, with fast turnaround times, multiple variable data, both in terms of transactional data as well as designs.
For both big brands and smaller businesses alike, we have a totally new and unique solution to help reduce costs, be more environmentally responsible and be ‘in the moment’ or have multiple unique designs in the same print run.
We have been working with global print manufacturer Ricoh to adapt one of their digital platforms to print on our 660 micron Invercote paperboard. As of July 2022 we have access to two presses that are churning out thousands of cards a week for our clients.
Ricoh offers superior print quality, and this has been combined with an near line die cutter that, along with our clever software, means we can print cards, with and without mag stripes, in sequential order straight from the press.
The cards can still be personalised in the traditional way if required – with a magnetic strip, PIN and scratch off panel etc, but we’d always encourage dropping the magnetic stripe in favour of barcodes or QR codes, it helps speed up production and reduce costs. No magnetic stripe also means the variable data on the card can be printed on the fly at the same time as the designs, so a single process rather than multiple production processes.
So, we can now print cards and card packaging on demand for short runs on environmentally friendly paperboard for all our card formats, for gift cards, custom membership cards and loyalty cards, all with fast turnaround times, multiple variable data, both in terms of transactional data as well as designs. This is also true for CR80, oversized cards for exhibition and event passes and, of course, our M6 snap cards as found in the UK gift card malls.
You can now kick off your card programme with as few as 100 cards, or you can just print what you need to launch or fill your channels and then print what you need to replace sold cards rather than prepaying for cards that sit in a warehouse, tieing up capital. It’s on demand, just-in-time card printing for anyone who needs cards. How much will you be able to save? How can you use the ability to make every card look different as part of a campaign or competition?
Only print what you need, when you need it, based on real data rather than forecasts.
This new digital print capability allows variable design that enables the creation of one-of-a-kind products for a memorable customer experience. Every card can be individual – both the design and the variable data.
The print quality is comparable to traditional offset printing, giving excellent results but comes without the waste, make readies and plates; it is, therefore, considerably more environmentally friendly in comparison. As we can apply the variable data at the same time we print the cards, there are fewer processes involved during production, saving time and money and reducing waste.
Our partner, Ricoh, was awarded a Gold rating in the sustainability survey conducted by EcoVadis. This recognition places Ricoh amongst the top 5% of companies assessed in its industry in terms of sustainability performance.
Our partnership with Ricoh offers a whole new world of possibilities and is unique to us.
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