An Austrian packaging print provider is enhancing the D/A/CH market in this lucrative print niche. Customizable fine cardboard packaging for SMEs with low to moderate needs. What is this online offering capable of?
The online choice of more complex print products like configurable and editable packaging is growing. In this post I shall be dealing with a store hat-trick by an Austrian web-to-packaging specialist that did not feature in my last overview of the D/A/CH market in this aspiring online print segment. And as in my last, somewhat detailed profile of a packaging specialist – Egger Druck + Medien GmbH’s madika – the die-verpackungs-druckerei.at store also has its roots in a long-established print provider. Store hat-trick? Offsetdruckerei Schwarzach went online in mid-2018 with all of three separate websites – one each for Germany, Austria and Switzerland. So that was a reason for me to take a closer look at the main store.
At a headcount of more than 330, Schwarzach is certainly not a small packaging print provider and has specialized in the production of fine cardboard packaging and paper labels for the confectionery, cosmetics and non-food industries since 1955. Given its high degree of specialization, an online offering was the next logical step for the Austrian print provider to take. And you can definitely understand why this long-established firm has launched all of three separate country websites for the D/A/CH region, given that exports account for around 70 percent of its total output.
The core objective of this online offering is to reach out to start-ups and other businesses with low to moderate print requirements, and so the minimum order quantity was set at 100 copies. This is a standard quantity in the web-to-packaging segment. If you consider its packaging portfolio, then you can tell instantly that this is a specialist business. In addition to the category that is based purely on the design-engineering characteristics of the boxes, the online store features several different packaging types and options in each of the three categories – Food, Cosmetics and Non-Food – and therefore provides uncomplicated access in the form of an appealing layout to all the relevant packaging categories. The whole thing is backed up by extensive descriptions of individual box types, in particular details about design, printing, finishing and processing as well as additional information about the suitability of particular types of packaging for particular applications, e.g. retail or shipping packaging or packaging for trade fairs and events etc.
“Freely configurable packaging that you can order online demonstrates that online print is a lucrative sales channel not just for “very simple” print products, but is also the ideal solution for selling specialty print products” – Bernd Zipper
Once the type of packaging required has been selected, the buyer can decide whether the box is to be designed online or offline. A template can be downloaded for offline design purposes and once that template has been completed and uploaded again, it can be previewed in 2D and 3D using a direct visualization tool exactly like the version that you can design right in your browser. Packaging can be designed using a browser-based editor, which includes an attached image database, the option of dragging and dropping your own images, a choice of shapes as well as a text-block and text editing and positioning tool. What I thought the simultaneously 2D and 3D rendering in the Editor lacked was a warning that appears if you paste in too low-res image data. But as far as the overall design pathway is concerned, you are provided with a very wide range of options and very high degree of precision.
Obviously, without a substantial degree of production automation and the appropriate product configuration standards, no online offering could be actioned in a field as complex as packaging. die-verpackungs-druckerei therefore (currently) relies on just one substrate – the “all-rounder”, 300 g/m2 GC1 Chromokarton – for box configuration purposes. In my opinion a wide range of substrates is not as important as dimension and design options. And there is a wide choice of these here. The Austrian provider has limited coloration to one-sided 4-color printing, which is likely to meet the needs of most buyers. Less is obviously more. More colors and double-sided printing would to some extent impede production process standardization and thus counteract low online prices.
Factoring in stated data delivery and payment periods, the delivery lead time for these design-it-yourself boxes is between 9 and 11 working days. The above table provides comparative values for the web-to-packaging options available. And if you consider the choice of providers, this shows that only one third of online packaging print providers even offer the option of delivery within 7 working days. So as far as production and delivery lead times are concerned, Offsetdruckerei Schwarzach’s website is an industry-standard average.
My take: Offsetdruckerei Schwarzach is a great example of how you can create a really appealing online offering by reducing the complexity of packaging print. The low minimum order quantity of 100 copies, direct-in-browser 3D visualization and the reasonable (when measured against comparable online and offline offerings) delivery lead time all fit the overall package. That level of professionalism is demonstrated last but not least by the product descriptions, which answer all (or perhaps almost all) questions, even where buyers have more sophisticated web-to-packaging requirements.