A recent survey by the National Print Owners Association (NPOA) supports the conventional wisdom that sales from traditional offset printing are fading. According to survey author and NPOA Executive Director John Stewart, this data also confirms that these declines are being offset in the more successful shops by new profit opportunities.

According to the study, the 2014 sales projection data from the survey’s 250 respondents shows an average decline in offset sales of 4.7%. Meanwhile, sales of signs, banners, and large format are seeing a 10% growth.

We have been reporting similar trends and projections for wide format at our Technology Summits. Data from both Infotrends and IT Strategies supports these trends.

So how do you take advantage of the wide format opportunity? Here are some thoughts to consider as first steps.

Survey your current customers
Maybe you are doing all the offset work for some clients, but all the wide format work is going to another print shop. Your relationship with current customers may be so strong that simply asking for the business may win you more work.

Consider outsourcing to get started
Find a wide format shop that could produce the work that you would in turn supply to your customers. This strategy enables you to get started in wide format while using the expertise and capabilities of an established shop. When your outsourced work reaches significant volume you can more easily justify a payback on an investment in wide format equipment and personnel.

Pitch campaign ideas that include wide format
More and more retailers and brand owners are implementing campaigns that include wide format display graphics in conjunction with flyers, circulars, or direct mail. Integrating all these elements could be a strategic advantage for the print shop that can integrate and produce all the printed output.

Learn all you can
There is a lot to learn when it comes to wide format production equipment, software, and substrates. Applications are unique, and installation of graphic displays is often required. Development of wide format expertise takes time, and the sooner you get started the more knowledge you’ll develop. That knowledge and experience will help you gain a competitive edge.

Want to learn more? Talk to one of our representatives about completing the application to attend one of our Wide Format Technology Summits. It’s a 1 1/2 day program at Fujifilm’s Chicago Technology Center for Graphics that provides industry insights, hands-on demonstrations of wide format equipment capabilities, a review of print applications, considerations when choosing substrates, and finishing options to add value and uniqueness to printed displays and signs. Designed to be educational and informative, we also include a customer panel with lively discussion about starting or expanding your wide format business.

Is wide format an opportunity for your business?