Epson used Photokina to announce a greater focus on photo retailers in its product offerings, and this week Epson Australia officially launched the D700 desktop dry inkjet printer with at $3995 ex tax (NZ$4495). (See separate story)
Epson made its first steps towards retail photo printing with the 2013 launch of the Surelab D3000 inkjet minilab (at about the same time that printing rival HP was making rapid steps away from the segment!). Epson now sees retail photo printing as entering a lucrative ‘second wave’.
‘We are seeing the beginnings of a ‘Second Retail Wave’ of innovation in the imaging industry,’ said Duncan Ferguson, director of Professional Graphics for Epson Europe. ‘It is opening up exciting opportunities for High-Street retailers and imaging professionals to explore new business ideas and revenue streams built on producing a huge variety of added-value personalised products.’
Epson says that the enormous and growing volume of digital images being taken, and a desire to do more with images, will drive growth.
It cites figures from Futuresource Consulting to confirm that the consumer photo imaging market is moving away from paper-based prints to other media. Between 2012 and 2015, according to FutureSource, the retail value of digital prints will have dropped by over 20 percent, while the rate of increase of canvas prints will be 21 percent.
Epson’s ‘second wave’ is ‘driven by the ability of advanced digital imaging technologies to print onto a considerable variety of materials in addition to paper – such as metal, textile, wall coverings, wood, plastic, laminates, rubber and ceramics. This capability enables people to personalise more and more aspects of their environment.’
The ‘First Wave’ started with photo and fine art canvasses and also encompassed paper-based applications of photo-merchandising, such as photobooks, calendars, and cards.
‘But in the ‘Second Wave’ people have much greater ambitions,’ said Mr Ferguson. ‘They don’t just want to order or print their own photos, or share them via social networks, they also want to be very creative with their images.
‘Because the world is increasingly personalised, they want to use images to personalise their possessions and create bespoke surroundings and gifts – everything from flip-flops to T-Shirts and other clothing, bags to aluminium panels, upholstery to table tops, smartphone cases to wallcoverings.
‘These desires translate into a huge opportunity for High Street retailers and imaging professionals to expand the range of added-value bespoke, personalised products they offer – provided they have the right production solutions, at the right price, to deliver a rapid return on investment.’
In addition to the SureLab D3000 and desktop D700 dry labs, Epson Australia offers a SureColor SC-F2000 direct-to-garment T-Shirt printer; two wide format dye sublimation fabric printers, the SureColor SC-F6000 and SC-F7100, which enable the production of promotional merchandise, personalised products and gifts, clothing and furnishings; and its range of wide format inkjet printers as in-store printing options for retailers.