The Logic of Digital Embellishment - Unlocking ROI and Sustainability

In the modern business landscape, where competition is fierce and customer attention is fleeting, the quest for differentiation and eye-catching products has become a necessity for companies across industries. While printing matters, the embellishment is of strategic importance. There is a growing emphasis on visually captivating designs and packaging that can attract and influence consumers. In response to this demand, digital enhancements and embellishments have emerged as transformative solutions, empowering brands to do things not possible before building on a true digitalized production. This article dives deep into the implementation of digital embellishment, exploring the advantages, cost considerations, and potential return on investment (ROI) associated with adopting this innovative printing technique.

Unparalleled Flexibility and Customization: Cost Efficiency and Waste Reduction

Digital enhancement offers a plethora of benefits that are widely recognized in the industry. One of the key advantages lies in its unparalleled flexibility and customization options. Unlike traditional methods, which often involve timeconsuming and costly processes for making changes in designs or personalization, digital enhancement enables quick and easy adjustments. This makes it an ideal choice for short print runs, prototypes, and variable data printing. The economic implications are significant as this flexibility enhances cost efficiency by reducing waste and enabling businesses to cater to diverse customer preferences.

Enhanced Marketability

Moreover, the inclusion of enhanced visual and tactile elements in printed materials has a profound impact on consumer perception. It conveys a sense of luxury and quality that elevates the marketability and perceived value of the products. Furthermore, the ability to offer customizable and personalized embellishments not only attracts a wider customer base but also allows businesses to tap into niche markets, thereby boosting sales and revenue.

Environmental Sustainability: Minimizing Waste and Hazardous Materials

Beyond these well-established advantages, digital production makes an excellent case for decreasing environmental impact too, by minimizing waste and mitigating the use of hazardous materials commonly associated with traditional embellishment methods. A notable player in the digital embellishment space is Scodix, a leading supplier of innovative enhancement systems. The company recently validated its environmental credentials through a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) study, which revealed that its digital process reduces CO2 equivalent emissions by 85% and decreases fossil fuel usage by nearly 85% and water consumption by 80% per B1 sheet compared to traditional hot stamp foiling. Furthermore, Scodix achieved a certification that allows products enhanced with Scodix Spot™ Varnish embellishments to carry the recyclable symbol, as long as the substrate used is also certified as recyclable. This eco-friendly approach not only contributes to a positive brand image but also meets the growing consumer demand for environmentally conscious products. Unlike other companies offering digital embellishment solutions Scodix has heavily invested in making its life cycle more environmentally friendly and this is important to notice.

Establishing a Compelling Business Case

While the benefits of digital embellishment are evident, Print Service Providers (PSPs) often face the challenge of establishing a compelling business case for integrating this technology into their production line. The adoption of digital enhancement technology requires an initial investment, which can be significant, especially for smaller businesses. However, it is crucial for printers to carefully weigh this capital expenditure against the long-term benefits and potential ROI in order to make an informed decision.

Compared to traditional embellishment methods, digital technology offers notable cost advantages, particularly in terms of reduced labour and setup costs. Expensive dies, plates, and extensive setup times are no longer required. The digital nature of the technology allows for faster job turnaround times, resulting in increased productivity and reduced labour expenses.

A compelling replacement technology

Moreover, digital technology has transcended its initial role as a solution solely for short print runs. Nowadays, it can efficiently and cost-effectively handle longer print runs. Additionally, digital processes now support a much wider range of substrates, making them compatible with diverse printing needs. For instance, Scodix technology works with over 200 different substrates, including 36 foils and a variety of uncoated papers. Consequently, digital technology can seamlessly complement larger printers equipped with traditional processes or serve as a compelling replacement for them.

Enhancing Perceived Value and Driving Premium Pricing

Probably the most compelling argument for quick Return on Investment of digital enhancement lies in the increased value it brings to the product. With the addition of Scodix embellishment, the perceived value of printed materials is enhanced significantly. By incorporating tactile elements and eye-catching finishes, businesses can create a sense of luxury and premium quality that resonates with consumers, leading to increased customer interest and a willingness to pay a higher price. This boost in perceived value is particularly beneficial for companies operating in competitive markets where product differentiation is crucial for success.

Scodix digital enhancement technology takes the customer experience to new heights by captivating and engaging customers on a deeper level. The tactile nature of the finishes created by Scodix technology invites interaction, stimulating the senses and leaving a memorable impression. This heightened engagement can drive customer loyalty, repeat purchases, and positive word-of-mouth referrals, ultimately boosting sales and contributing to overall business growth.

The Path to Differentiation and Business Success

In conclusion, the sustainable benefits of digital embellishment combined with the proper economics offer advantages for businesses looking to offer new services and differentiate themselves in the market. Beyond the obvious benefits of flexibility and customization, digital technology provides cost-efficiency, environmental sustainability, and increased marketability. Of course, digital embellishment won’t replace conventional embellishment technologies but as we all know, digital is the way forward and the one who embark on it early will be able to help their clients to do things not possible before and many brand owners are keen at sustainable innovations.

Being French, I can’t miss the recent MGI business case done for the Beaujolais wines losing attractiveness over the years. By adding advanced digital embellishments on Beaujolais wine labels, the JETVARNISH 3D WEB has been able to enhance the attractivity of the bottles on the shelves pleasing a brand owner far beyond its expectations.

The environmental advantages of digital embellishment cannot be overlooked. With reduced waste and minimized use of hazardous materials, digital technology aligns with the growing consumer demand for sustainable products. By adopting digital embellishment, businesses can not only enhance their brand image but also contribute to a healthier planet.

While the initial capital expenditure may be a consideration, the long-term benefits and potential ROI of digital embellishment make a compelling business case. Reduced labour and setup costs, faster turnaround times, and compatibility with a wide range of substrates make digital technology an attractive option for both small and large print service providers. Whether as a complement to traditional processes or as a replacement technology, digital enhancement provides the means to elevate print materials, engage customers on a deeper level, and drive business growth.

As businesses strive for differentiation and excellence digital embellishment present a compelling opportunity. It takes more than a digital press to be successful. Embracing innovative digital finishing techniques can unlock a realm of possibilities, leading to increased profitability, enhanced brand recognition, and a sustainable competitive advantage in today's dynamic marketplace. All this will be on stage at drupa and a must see for all the one who are looking at developing new applications and new services for their clients, for those who believe in end-to-end digital production and to the one who simply look forward to do things not possible before.

About the author: Francois Martin is a Freelancer Print, Labels & Packaging Industry Consultant. After more than 20 years in Print & Packaging driving for innovations enabling new things not possible before he is looking at digital innovations able to transform the print and packaging industry to be more effective and more sustainable going forward. He is as well a communication senior advisor and consultant. (Images courtesy Scodix)


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