“We’re always trying to understand what customers want, specifically with regard to vertical markets, and one important vertical would be retail,” said David Quinn, regional sales manager for Ireland and Britain at Oki Europe.
“Retailers have been customers of Oki for a long time [and] predominantly for signage,” he said.
Oki’s key range of printers for retail use are all LED units, which brings high quality print and durability at low costs.
LED based printers are fundamentally similar electrostatic technology to traditional laser printers. Whilst laser printers use a beam that track back and forth across the drum, in LED printers a number of LEDs flash the entire line all at once. This means LED printers can print faster, therefore improving productivity.
“A printer’s a printer, it’s true, because they’ll all print, but if you’re looking for quality, and that comes to the fore with in-store display, you get better quality with the LED,” said Quinn.
Oki’s printers are about more than just banging-out pages per minute, said Quinn, and have a focus on high quality graphics for in-store use.
“If you’re printing on thicker media, the printer slows it down intentionally to enhance the quality of the print,” he said.
Paper sizes up to A3 can be used, but not just in single sheet format:
“A3 is the largest paper size in this format, but you can do banners up to 1.3 metres. It takes about five minutes to put together a sophisticated banner, and we supply the media, too,” said Quinn.
Oki’s customers run the gamut of retailers, including in environments where the conditions can put significant stress on the print.
“People know that inkjet is more expensive to run, and it’s predominately for home use. Plus, there is the reliability factor. In addition, one of the media types that we can print on is waterproof, called Floramedia.
“The Oki toner is GHS compliant. What that means is it can be used for chemical labelling; it really lasts. Apply that to the garden centres where it’s an environment where it’s sun-rain-sun-rain every day and it doesn't fade,” he said.
Quinn said that examples of where in-store printing can make a difference is when a particular outlet either needs to discount a perishable item or where it has a lot of information that it wants to get across in a manner that remains attractive to the eye.
“Two recent cases I’ve seen were quite impressive: one in a garden centre, and the banner and banner holder help draw attention to the plants they are selling.
“Oki is very popular with garden centres,” he said.
““Another [example] is where they are used in car dealerships. The logo of the dealership, of course, photo of the car, price, finance details, PCP details, all of that can fit onto one banner.”
In fact, Oki printers can also be used to print number plates.
Oki does more than just sell printers, however, and its colour LED range can be supplied alongside office printers used for document production, with a lot of flexible options for purchasing.
“It can run parallel to your managed print. We still supply solutions for office printing, copying and scanning,” said Quinn.
“It’s not a case that the customer is on their own; we support them afterwards, and can do that on a seven-day basis,” he said.