Meet the POS Thermal Printing Industry’s Leader: Cenveo

How many companies do you know who produce one in three of all of a certain type of product used?

For example, if you use a mop, do you know if a company produces one in three of all the mops used in America?

Well, that’s the case for Cenveo, who produces one out of three of all the envelopes used in the United States.

But they’re not just for consumers, or even direct mail.

Clearly, they understand print and mailing. And here’s what else they do that you simply can’t question:

1. POS Thermal Print and Imaging Supplies

Cenveo’s Nashua product line serves every type of receipt printer you can find in retail stores. The product line has receipts available according to the exact specs required by OEM printer manufacturers.

With an intense focus on high quality and affordable pricing, the Nashua product line has imaging supplies for every thermal (and non-thermal) application.

2. Rapid Product Delivery

Need it yesterday? That’s never a good position to be in with your business. Ideally, you plan things and execute according to that plan.

But sometimes, you can still do everything right and find yourself in a pinch.

Don’t worry! Cenveo comes to your rescue with a distribution network created to service 90% of the US within 2 to 3 days.

They’ll even fulfill from multiple warehouses at once so you’re not left fighting an uphill battle any longer than you have to.

Whew!

3. Operate Your Business Better

Cenveo offers a line of managed services, which they consult on so you can make the best use of their products and your own processes.

Their managed services focus on Six Sigma and Lean principles. Cenveo can help you solve problems such as:

  • Vendor consolidation
  • Streamlining processes
  • Optimizing bidding to deliver customers the best pricing
  • Managing accounts onsite
  • Identifying the most cost-effective manufacturing methods
  • Optimizing distribution

Basically, if you have any challenges related to POS thermal printing, or any type of commercial printing or mailing, Cenveo’s your go-to.

And when their products and services make sense for your business, we’re excited to recommend them to you!

NRF Forecasts 3.8-4.4% Growth in 2019 Retail Sales

Depending on what news source you pay attention to, you can get a different take on reality.

So what’s truly going on? Who’s paying attention to the facts? And who’s using an emotional slant just to get you to read their story?

Well, the National Retail Federation believes the economy’s going to be just fine for 2019.

Why?

Macroeconomic data supports it. Consumer financial welfare will remain strong. More people are working. Employees are making more money. Taxes are lower. And consumers have generally high confidence in the economy.

And this, despite some volatility in the stock market in the past six months, a government shutdown, and tariffs on some Chinese goods.

However, the NRF expects there may be some short-term trouble now that additional Chinese tariffs ranging from 10-25% have been in place since March 1st.

And by the way, these growth projections include both online and in-store spending.

What’s Your Strategy Going Forward?

In business, it’s nearly impossible to invent something completely new and get the market to take it. It can be done. But for the most part, business is a response to market trends.

Clearly, the trend is toward spending for now.

So, how do you keep consumers buying from you, and even gain market share?

Well, eTail says consumers want multichannel buying experiences…and that they actually spend 65% of their total shopping budget in-store.

What’s that mean in practicality?

Everyone shops online. Most buy in-store. In other words, all your online shopping properties need to perfectly align with your in-store shopping experience.

Consumers need to easily access product data. They want to place an order online, and get it at your local store.

They need several images of your item online so they know exactly how it will function in their daily life. They need to see images and videos of other consumers enjoying the benefits your products provide.

Secondly, customers need a memorable experience. Today, it’s all about personalization. Consumers want to feel like you created a shopping experience just for them.

That means getting into your data, and also having conversations with customers. What do they and don’t they like about your online and offline shopping experience? What can you do to make the experience so impressive it would be stupid for your customer to go to your competitor?

Some companies fall into the trap of having execs who live in ivory towers trying to create an experience out of thin air. Don’t do that. Get into the trenches and front lines, and experiment directly with your customers and get their feedback.

Retail’s not easy in 2019. But you have a huge consumer trend powering growth. And you have more access to data than ever before. So it’s a perfect time to adjust to the market and make your sales soar.

Ranpak: The Company to Turn to For Environmentally Friendly Packaging

1972.

What’s the big deal about that year?

David Bowie introduced his alter-ego: Ziggie Stardust. Digital watches made their debut. HBO launched into American homes.

…But those aren’t the events we’re talking about.

Instead, it was the year the Ranpak company began producing environmentally-friendly packaging material.

Now isn’t that impressive? The environment certainly was becoming a bigger issue. However, how many companies had environmentally sustainable business practices back then?

With innovation and forward-thinking like that, you know Ranpak has something special going on.

And here’s why they’re a big deal to businesses like yours today:

1. The New WrapPak Protector Continues the Company’s Sustainability Legacy

“Sustainable” and “functional” describe Ranpak’s WrapPak protector. This protector is actually used to keep perishable food bought online fresh.

The difference between this product and competing options lies in its simplicity and sustainability. It reduces costs, saves space, and minimizes handling needed for transported product.

… And of course, it’s 100% recyclable, renewable, and biodegradable.

2. E-Commerce Packaging Experts

RanPak has identified 7 best practices for an exceptional e-commerce order delivery experience.

We can’t go through them all here. But, you can get a few highlights:

  • Using the right size box because often too big of a box gets used, which causes products to break during shipping
  • Using re-usable packaging material because 33% of consumers surveyed say they want this
  • Using an attractive design with innovative marketing writing that creates an emotional connection with the customer

Read the full white paper at RanPak’s website.

3. Custom Packaging Engineering

With proven experience and demonstrated success like this, you can definitely see why you’d want RanPak custom-creating your packaging for you if you have the need.

Through a process of understanding your current packaging design, testing that design, benchmarking your design against RanPak’s new custom model, and training you to implement the new packaging production process, RanPak helps you identify and implement the perfect packaging for your customer.

This leads to much happier customers, which of course results in more loyalty and consistently strong sales.

You no longer have to guess how to do your packaging. You have a proven model and analysis so you know you’re doing the best you can in your industry right now.

So yes, we’re ecstatic to recommend RanPak when their products and services make sense for your business.

And you should jump for joy when you hear us suggesting them to you!

How to Make Your Product Indispensable to Your Customers

Having a great product customers love makes for an awesome start in retail.

What? Just a great start?

What more do you need to do than have an amazing product?

Well, you’d rather have customers who just cannot do without your porduct. We’re not talking about turning them into addicts.

We mean having customers who love your brand. They love your product itself. And they love what you stand for. So, it would take quite a series of disastrous mistakes for them to leave you for another brand.

Those are the customers you want.

So how do you get those…even if you simply have a store brand?

Take a minute to learn from beloved yogurt brand Chobani, which has surpassed Yoplait as America’s leading yogurt brand:

1. Give to Your Employees

In 2016, CEO Hamdi Ulukaya wanted to give 10% of the company’s shares (Chobani is a private company) to all employees – ranging from forklift operators to top-level execs.

At first, he was told this couldn’t be done. Nevertheless, he found a way to get it done. And the move received wide praise in the mainstream media, and on social media too.

The company also gives 6 weeks of paid leave to men and women after a birth, adoption, or taking in of a foster child. That’s rare in any industry. And it’s even rarer in manufacturing.

2. Give to Other Food Startups

At its core, Chobani wants to make healthy food available to everyone. They have a program for helping out other food startups so they get on the path of success faster.

Companies who make it in get grants and unrestrained access to Chobani leaders. Literally no strings are attached.

Most such programs in the corporate world would want a stake in the startup, at minimum.

3. Give to Regular People

Many of Chobani’s manufacturing employees are veterans. When the company learned their employees were having a hard time putting food on the table, they created a special “hero batch” of yogurt to raise $1 million to help them out.

Chobani guaranteed they would donate at least $1 million, even if the new product itself didn’t help raise the funds.

The veterans would win regardless of what happened.

So, as you can see, the story behind the product matters. Like a ton!

What positive story can you create, not just to garner positive attention, but to do things that help people in meaningful ways?

Office Essentials: The Supplier with More than a Century of Problem Solving Experience

Offices looked and operated a little different in 1918 than they do now in 2019.

Not sure if you’ve noticed the same. We’re just sayin’…

Pardon the sarcasm, but we did it to make a point: things have changed in the American office over the past century.

And Pollock has been a recognized name as that change has taken place. It began with Lawrence S. Pollock in 1918, who organized the Pollock-Burt Paper Box Company at the age of 26.

After leaving for and returning from service in World War I, Lawrence merged the company with the paper jobbing business he started to form the Pollock Paper and Box Company. And today, the company’s now run by his grandson, Lawrence S. Pollock III.

How has the company, which now specializes in Office Essentials, been able to remain a force in the industry over that time?

Like so:

1. One-on-One Consulting Solutions and Supply Analyses

Even though this sounds unique, it’s actually not even unique to Pollock’s Office Essentials. It’s a company-wide practice that Office Essentials happens to participate in too.

You’re not just a number. You’re not another line-item on someone’s P&L statement.

You are a real company with real people and real needs. And they’re unique. The Office Essentials team works with you to precisely learn your needs.

And they meet them to a T.

2. A Full Range of Office Supplies

Because of Pollock’s dedication to solving all your office supply challenges, you never walk away searching for answers. The company offers thermal printing paper, cash register receipt rolls, restroom cleaning supplies, and even black lights.

So regardless of the office supply issues you face, you have a solution.

3. Coast-to-Coast Distribution Network

Pollock has 9 distribution centers and a fleet of 100 delivery trucks to ensure you always have the office supplies you need when you need them (in 2 days or less). This even includes if you’re located in Canada.

You can also customize your delivery times to meet your supply flow needs.

You get all this with Pollock Office Essentials. And you can feel good because the company supports the United Way and North Texas Food bank in helping the 564,708 homeless Americans and 13.5% living in poverty.

Yes. With Office Essentials, you’re making a smart decision.

And we’re happy to recommend Office Essentials when it makes sense for your needs.

Why Social Responsibility Matters to Your Brand

Millennials now have the most spending power of any generation. And since they’re the largest in terms of sheer numbers and are now old enough to be in higher-income jobs, it’s imperative to your company’s success to meet what they value.

Among their many differentiating characteristics, they adore brands who embrace social responsibility. Put broadly, “social responsibility” means the brand makes a public phenomenon of showing how it influences society in a positive way.

If your brand doesn’t do this, you lose sales to others who do. It’s that simple.

So here’s an example of several leading brands and how they embrace social responsibility:

1. Gillette’s Embrace of Positive Attitudes Toward Women

Gillette’s always trumpeted it’s “The Best a Man Can Get.” Recently, they released a video supporting the viewpoint that men should act toward women in positive, healthy, attainable, and inclusive ways.

The particular video strongly discourages attitudes which promote sexual harassment, misogyny, and abusive conduct.

2. MUD Jeans

Every corporation engages social responsibility. However, what’s not clear is the extent.

Is that company just trying to improve its image a little, when in fact they have all sorts of ways they’re not even close to socially responsible behind the scenes?

Learning the full story can be hard.

One of the corporations who really knocks social responsibility out of the park (and all throughout its business practices) is Dutch company MUD jeans.

For example, their jeans include post-consumer denim and organically grown cotton (most cotton requires intensive insecticide use). They also ensure all workers throughout their entire manufacturing process get paid fair wages.

3. Starbucks

When you think of Starbucks, besides caffeine, you think of a gem of a socially responsible company.

Back in 1997, they funded a US/Canada literacy campaign. Today, they want to hire 10,000 refugees in 75 countries and 25,000 veterans by 2025.

This, in addition to constantly working to minimize their environmental footprint, makes Starbucks another great all-around example of sustainability.

4. Coca-Cola

Since the creation of its foundation in 1985, Coca-Cola has donated more than $820 million to causes furthering the empowerment of women, improving access to clean drinking water, and the development of disadvantaged youth.

This model makes sense because donating the funds to other organizations who have specialized experience in their various causes are more likely to make an actual difference.

So, how can you make social responsibility not just another thing you do among other business practices, but the very essence of your business itself?

The better you answer that question, the more Millennial customers you attract and keep.

Why to Make Your Retail Brand Stand for More than Just Deals and Sales

Relying on deals and sales for growth is a recipe for disaster. And yet, some leading retailers stick to it.

It may be a desperate attempt at competing again because they’re simply so out of touch with what it takes to succeed in retail today that they don’t know what else to do.

Believe it or not, and if you read this blog regularly you hear us say this all the time, Amazon’s existence does not have as much responsibility for the demise of leading retail powers as some think.

Many retailers shoot themselves in the foot simply because they haven’t adjusted to what it takes to succeed in 2019. They still want to use retail strategies from the 1990s (and even from before that).

Deals and sales can be a good thing. Customers like those. But if you primarily rely on those to keep going, you’re in trouble.

Here’s what makes two leading retail brands so loveable that customers don’t need deals and sales all the time to stay interested:

1. Publix

Publix is America’s most beloved grocery store chain. It’s a small regional chain located in the Southeast.

Employees truly take service to a different level. Managers and cashiers get to know you by name. They’ll tell you when your favorite items go on sale. They may even know your childrens’ names.

They have a high-quality store brand which doesn’t disappoint. They also have amazing fried chicken (the best in the South, some say), a top-notch bakery, and superb subs.

Publix also has kiosks with a live instructor who cooks simple and delicious recipes. Next to this demo, you’ll find a recipe card and all the ingredients. This makes homemade meals as easy as you can get.

You hear us chatter about in-store experience. Publix nails it!

2. Costco

Believe it or not, grocery stores dominate the list of the most beloved retailers in America. Wegman’s, Trader Joe’s, Kroger, and Aldi rock the house.

Costco isn’t exclusively a grocer, although it is their focus. However, yet another reason consumers love Costco is its haggle-free car buying program.

Yes. Costco has one. And it sold 520,000 cars in 2017. Costco simply connects you to local participating dealers so you get the best price and don’t have to deal with a car salesman pressuring you into something you don’t want to do.

It’s also a large pizza chain. No one goes to Costco exclusively for the pizza. But, they do have it available in their mini in-store food court. And it’s delicious enough and done exactly the way pizza should be – oily, cheesy, and large.

Saturday mornings, when most consumers go shopping, have a marketplace atmosphere. Costco has a couple dozen employees out passing samples.

They pay their workers the best in the industry, which only makes them too happy to provide stellar service.

And to top it off, Kirkland, its store brand, retains high quality at lower prices.

So these two retailers, one large and national, and the other smaller and regional, have secure positions in the market. Amazon does not, will not, and cannot stamp them out of existence.

They do the in-store experience too well. What can your brand do to rise to the top in your customer’s minds?

Why Some Brick-and-Mortars Get Their Tails Kicked in 2019

How long is the Amazon casualty list these days?

Truth be told, it may not be Amazon that causes all the harm. In fact, it could be brick-and-mortar’s inability to adjust to the way consumers want to shop in 2019.

It’s not always clear. But one retail expert went on a visit to a well-known brick-and-mortar retailer that sells designer fashion products…and didn’t have such a great experience. We won’t share their name in this post.

So, here’s a rough summary of what he experienced when visiting their flagship store – and why it doesn’t work.

1. Aloof Employees

Should your employees meet-and-greet proactively so customers know where they can find help? Or should they wait until asked?

Customers prefer the first. But many of the employees at this store simply stood around aloof, passively waiting for customers to ask for help.

The number one reason consumers go to stores is to feel a certain way. And it doesn’t really put them in a buying mood if they have to chase down an employee who seems to not be overly concerned with helping them out.

Your employees out on the floor need to understand that they should proactively engage customers. If nothing else, they should simply let the customer know their name and that they’re in the area should the customer need help.

A small, but essential, way of establishing a relationship.

2. Still No Help as The Retail Expert Shopped

As this undercover retail expert shopped this store, he didn’t get any help from the sales team as he tried on various designer shirts and jackets.

Upon finding something that looked just the way he wanted, he went to the cashier and paid. After he finished paying, the sales clerk said,”You know, you would look great with a black pair of pants with that jacket.”

Now this was after he had already made his purchase and was ready to leave.

Missed sales opportunity. He wasn’t going to go back to the floor and find the perfect pair of pants to go with the jacket!

This particular retailer is $3 billion in debt, and no one knows how long they’ll be around.

Sure, the store sold this person what they wanted. But floor sales team members should have been nearby assisting him through the process and asking questions to figure out if he was interested in adding more apparel to his wardrobe.

You might say,”Oh. We don’t want to be pushy.” You can still ask questions to gauge customer interest in additional purchases (or not). And if they’re not interested, simply say you’re available if they have any other concerns.

The point is to help the customer, not overcome objections so you get another sale.

Because, this gentleman did want to make another purchase. It’s just that he ended up doing it at another store!

When customers leave your store, they should feel genuinely cared for. Helping them find what looks good on them at a price they like is something they appreciate.

So, how can you show your customers you care for them and are more than happy to help in 2019?

After all, in-person service is something you can give which Amazon cannot.

Why You Can’t Do Without Avery Dennison Fastener Solutions

You know the value of specialists…Avery Dennison specializes in making fasteners for various retail applications.

In 1964, Avery Dennison transformed the retail industry with their Swiftach tag attaching system that replaced the attachment of tags using string and pins.

In more recent years, Avery Dennison has introduced a number of innovative automotive fasteners, and an Elastic Staple consumer goods packaging system.

Their drive netted them $7.5 billion in revenue last year and keeps them a member of the Fortune 500.

So yeah. They’re pretty good at what they do. Let’s take a closer look at what’s so great about this company:

1. Extensive Experience and a Global Distribution Network

The company’s R&D and Engineering teams have more than 90 years of combined experience ini plastic materials and mechanical design. They maintain an active inventory of more than 900 SKUs.

And the company’s global distribution (and service) network means you have the product and support you need – exactly when you need it.

2. Cable Ties

Yep. You know these. Fastener Solutions makes cable ties for a variety of applications which have up to 250 pounds of tensile strength.

The company created the Ladder Tie, Super Bar-Lok and Secur-A-Tie. They’ve gone as far as coating some of their cable ties with 2% carbon black, which protects them from the sun’s ultraviolet light so they don’t melt, weaken, and break.

They’ve manufactured their automotive cable ties to withstand temperatures ranging from -40 degrees to 239 degrees. That’s a far wider range than the typical cable tie. And it ensures they work in the most intense conditions.

3. Elastic Staple Systems

As you learned, this is one of the company’s recent innovations. The IndES Elastic Staple System, for example, secures consumer goods to flat card surfaces or multi-level card packaging designs.

You get a variety of solutions to your packaging problems and a quick ROI. Steps are taken out of the packaging process. You increase your uptime, reduce operator workload, and reduce material costs.

Avery Dennison does much more. You just experienced a small sampling of the difference they make for your company.

And we’re more than happy to recommend them when they make sense for you!

Midlab Keeps “Everything Clean” – And They Have Amazing Growth to Support It

How many companies do you know who have achieved year-over-year growth every year since 1980?

Even Amazon, one of consumer’s favorite companies in the entire world, lost 90% of its value in the wake of the 2000 .com crash.

And if you’re remembering, much of the business world took a devastating blow during the 2008 recession and its aftermath.

But not so Midlab. They grew year-over-year even during these rough economic times.

So, they have to be doing something quite right if they’ve maintained that track record for nearly 40 years now.

What’s so special about Midlab? How have they been able to do this, while other companies have stumbled and fallen?

Well, here’s how:

1. Custom Cleaning Product Blends for Specific Uses and Industries

Midlab has more than 600 formulas for their various cleaning solutions. And they go beyond simply keeping things clean.

Instead, they focus like a laser all the way down to specific industries. For example, Maxim, their Disinfecting Acid Bowl Cleaner, serves hospitals, hotels, and schools. It cleans, disinfects, and deodorizes all in one fell swoop.

Their Floor Saver product seals porous floor surfaces for schools, offices, hospitals, nursing homes, airports, and retail stores.

We could go on and on with many more examples of specific products and industries, but you get the point.

2. A 165,000 Square Foot Facility that Allows You to Do Anything

Need a custom cleaning solution made for a specific purpose? No problem for Midlab. Or, what if you want to create and sell your own brand?

Midlab has a 165,000 square foot production facility that allows you to do anything you can imagine.

It also allows the company to lead the way in creating potent green-cleaning products. You end up with the best quality and least environmental impact (which you can let your employees and customers know).

The primary advantage of Midlab’s facility is that it allows them to test new products in ways other facilities cannot.

When you get down to the bottom line, Midlab truly has the ability to keep “Everything Clean.”

…And there’s only one way to learn the difference they can make for your company, which is why we’re happy to recommend them when they’re a good fit for you.

Why Sigma Stretch Film Outshines the Competition

In 1993, a small company had a big idea: provide stretch film at fair market prices in configurations customers want.

That company is Sigma Stretch Film, and today they continue to grow faster than all other companies in their market.

But why?

Because, if you want to maintain that growth as your company gets larger, you must have a competitive edge other companies can’t match.

How else would you grow so well for so many years?

The foundation of the company’s success lies in producing products that work simply across a variety of applications – and offering all products at all manufacturing locations.

Take a closer look at some of the company’s products to get a feel for what differentiates Sigma Stretch Film from the competition:

1. Sigma Classic

As its name suggests, Sigma Classic blown film is the cornerstone of the company’s success. It’s their best-selling general purpose stretch film.

With unmatched puncture and tear resistance, this film is easy to use and rarely breaks. And because it clings so well, it stays in tact when wrapped, without leaving any tails.

This keeps your load and pallet protected.

2. Sigma Steel

This product allows you to use a fraction of the effort, while also saving money and not sacrificing any containment ability.

Steel actually requires 25-50% less effort than competing films, while also meeting or exceeding their containment ability.

This leads to a 15% savings in yield, and your employees will notice the difference in lower force required over the course of an 8-hour shift.

Nice!

3. Sigma Ecosupreme

This stretch film retains strength, while being manufactured thinner and requiring less material. Sigma applies a proprietary conversion process and pre-stretches the film.

When the film actually gets wrapped around product, this creates “Dynamic Tension.” This means the film contracts to a greater degree when actually applied. And that means even though this stretch film is thin, it remains strong and gets your load to its destination in new condition.

Sigma Stretch Film has many other products designed for specific applications. This is just a small overview to give you an idea of their unique ability to match market needs in a way no other company can.

And it’s why we’re happy to recommend Sigma Stretch Film when their products make sense for your needs.

Retailers Still Missing the Mark on Consumer Attitudes Toward Pricing

“He lines up for the field goal. In most situations, this one’s a gimme. Just a 30-yarder. But this one’s for the Super Bowl. If he makes this kick, it caps the greatest comeback of all-time.”

“Here’s the snap. Looks good. The kicker lays into the ball…and it’s…wide right!”

“No good!”

“That’s gonna sting him for a loooooooong time.”

Football games sometimes end that way. And unfortunately, it’s the perfect metaphor to describe the relationship between senior retail execs and consumers.

But that’s not just us saying this based on our own perceptions.

Data from “The Pricing Disconnect Between Senior Retail Executives and Consumers” report by First Insight supports it.

What’s Going On?

So, what’s the confusion here? What do senior retail execs think that consumers do not?

Well, for starters, consumers still want lower prices. Execs think consumers want higher quality products.

And actually, the execs are right too.

It’s just that consumers also want the lower prices.

Only 20% of senior execs in the survey found low pricing important, compared to 40% for consumers.

Yes, it’s difficult to pull off high quality and low prices. Those two seem like opposites. But it’s what the market wants, so you have to figure out how you can best fulfill that demand.

Consumers Think Prices Are Increasing

Now here’s where the disconnect widens. Retail execs believe just 20% of consumers think prices are increasing overall.

However, the study found 51% of consumers believe prices are increasing.

And again, 20% of senior retail execs believe prices are increasing in-store, but 60% of consumers believe the same.

What Can You Do About This?

So you have a long-standing retail problem: consumers want the best in quality, but they don’t want to pay too much for it.

How do you make that work?

Well, here’s a couple of ideas, as suggested by Marco Bertini at Harvard Business Review:

1. Clarify the Advantage of Your Price Structure

Goodyear had a hard time selling its tires, even though they were in fact superior to the competition.

Their marketing, for some time, focused on the engineering of the tires.

When they shifted their marketing to focus on the number of miles the tires would last, customers could make easy comparisons to competitors, see the difference, and justify the purchase.

Sounds simple, but if Goodyear can make that mistake, so can a company of any size.

2. Consciously Overprice to Win Attention

Say a certain vacuum costs $300, and that most companies price their vacuum right around that mark.

Then, you swoop in with a vacuum at $400.

Research shows customers respond by thinking,”Wait a minute! What’s this?” And they want to take a further look.

To justify the higher price and keep sales healthy, you must offer more value. But, you will gain attention for a while.

It’s the same strategy Apple uses on a massive scale.

More tactics are available. But, this at least helps you understand the disconnect between what business leaders understand and what consumers think. And, you have some idea of what to do about it.

So, now you can strategize your reaction to this formerly perplexing retail challenge.