The small device in your palm today can do most of your routine jobs, except maybe fill fuel in your car, which it might be capable of doing in the near future. But for now, a smartphone can also deliver on-demand and hassle-free custom packaging at your doorstep.
At the drupa 2020 presentation in Delhi, Markus Heering, managing director of Print Promotion and VDMA’s Printing and Paper Technology Association, said that European printers have started web to print services wherein they take orders online through their platforms. Their customers remain connected throughout the process and experience absolute transparency. They can track the order and get information about when it will arrive at their doorstep.
“Online printers in Europe are gaining prominence over conventional ones. They are growing at an annual rate of 10-15%, leading to the disappearance of conventional printers,” Heering said. Looking at the success of the online business model for print, most of these printers are now diversifying into packaging. Acting as middlemen between packaging manufacturers and brand owners, the online platform takes orders from customers. It finds the best packaging manufacturer who can meet the expectations of the customer and delivers the product to the customer when it is done, just like Amazon.com or any eCommerce website. “This is the future,” added Heering.
On that note, Heering raised a question, “The digital business model is the future and has the potential to benefit the packaging or printing provider, the customer, and the middlemen; but the question is, who is willing to run these platforms?”
Answering his question himself, Heering affirmed that there are, in fact, many companies already active in the digital space with their interactive digital platforms for packaging and printing. Some of these platforms are already carving their own space in the industry.
Bizongo is one such end-to-end web to pack B2B platform based in India. Started by three IIT alumni in 2014 ‒ Ankit Tomar, Aniket Deb, and Sachin Agrawal ‒ Bizongo is a B2B platform for packaging design and production based in Mumbai. It bridges the gap between packaging providers and brand owners. Customers can place their packaging order on the platform and ensure that they receive the best quotation for their order since manufacturers can bid for an order on the platform. There is also an option for customers to interact with the packaging providers to further negotiate costs. The platform arranges the production and delivery of the order, and regular updates are sent to the customer throughout the process.
The Design Square tool on the Bizongo site allows users to create unique and sustainable designs. The packaging designers at Bizongo create custom designs keeping in mind the requirements of a customer. The platform’s Artwork Flow solution offers customer-friendly packaging artwork management in one place, which can be shared, and the entire lifecycle of the project is visible. The online software allows the packaging designer or buyer to compare text and graphics between artworks, match colors, verify the fonts in the files, and measure artwork dimensions with an online ruler for artwork soft proofing. The Procure Live tool gives the customer the ability to track and trace the order. The required documents are shared online, as well. The platform is used by brands including Myntra, Flipkart, Pepperfry, Jio, Modelez, Swiggy, Nykaa, Big Basket, Snapdeal, and First Cry.
A web to pack solution Sirma, packGATE, provides printing and packaging companies with a separate channel for generating business online. It acts as an extension to the producer’s current website with its branding, production capabilities and designs. The platform receives orders 24/7, which helps boost packaging jobs and produce small to medium size runs cost-efficiently.
PackGATE is a SaaS solution, powered by EngView Package & Display Designer Server, for packaging customization and offers unlimited possibilities for graphic design and finishing effects modifications. Packaging producers, who already have their eCommerce or web-to-print platform, can integrate the packGATE resize and design editor on their platform to increase sales and utilize digital capacities. PackGATE automates the process of generating ready-to-use printing and die-cutting files that are fed into the digital production machines, thereby increasing productivity and reducing time-to-market.
For packaging design, Sirma offers EngView Package and Display Designer, a CAD/CAM software for the structural design and online ordering of packaging and POP/POS displays. The software uses AI technology for variational and parametric CAD (computer-aided design). EngView software allows packaging producers to create packaging design pre-production workflow.
The tools provided in the EngView software speed up and automate the day-to-day jobs of structural designers, graphic designers and diemakers involved in the creation, communication and production of packaging and POP/POS displays.
A part of the Bulgarian IT group by the same name, Sirma also creates and develops semantic software, cognitive business solutions, industrial applications, mobile platforms and applications, ERP software, solutions and services for the financial industry, payment services, eGovernment platform and services.
Based in Warsaw, Poland, PackHelp is a custom packaging design platform where anyone, even startups, can design creative packaging in as little time as seven minutes and order in quantities in as small as 30 units. Anyone can create custom-branded packaging in the 3D editor on the platform in various forms ranging from rigid carton boxes, can to paper bags and materials, and finishings. PackHelp produces the packaging and delivers it at the doorstep.
The PackHelp mobile application allows users to visualize their custom packaging with the help of augmented reality by directly pointing the smartphone on a flat surface where the customer can experience how the packaging will look like in real life. Used by brands such as Uber, H&M, L’Oreal, Wrangler, BMW and Google, packHelp was started in 2014 by six founders dreaming of solidifying their business in Europe. Today, the company provides custom packaging solutions to more than 10,000 customers in 30 countries.
The article was first published in the December 2019 issue of Packaging South Asia.