Epson “smart” production solutions set to transform High-Street retail and professional photo imaging

16th September 2014 – Epson is embarking on a strategy to energise and transform High-Streetretail and professional production photo imaging with a range of “smart”production systems, the company announces today at Photokina in Germany, theworld’s leading imaging exhibition.

“We are seeingthe beginnings of a ‘Second Retail Wave’ of innovation in the imagingindustry,” says Duncan Ferguson, Director of Professional Graphics for EpsonEurope.  “It is opening up excitingopportunities for High-Street retailers and imaging professionals to explorenew business ideas and revenue streams built on producing a huge variety of added-valuepersonalised products. These innovators need short-run production solutionsthat are affordable, easy-to-use, flexible and reliable — and we believe no oneis better placed than Epson to meet these demands.”

Epson identifies twoprincipal factors that will shape the future of the imaging industry:  the enormous and growing volume of digitalimages being created and captured (Yahoo estimatesthat over 880 billion photographs will be taken in 2014) and people’sdesires to do more with images than ever before.

Ability toimage multiple materials heralds ‘Second Wave’

New figures from Futuresource Consulting confirm that the consumer photoimaging market is moving away from paper-based prints to more creativeapplications.  Between 2012 and 2015, theretail value of digital prints fell by over 20%, while the  rate of increase of canvas prints also rose by21% (source: Lightwords) drivenby an increased desire to display our best photographs, and the ability thatdigital printing has to reproduce them on this media.

Epson now heralds a ‘Second Wave’ driven by the ability of advanceddigital imaging technologies to print onto a considerable variety of materialsin addition to paper - such as metal, textile, wall coverings, wood, plastic,laminates, rubber and ceramics. This capability enables people to personalisemore and more aspects of their environment.

Says Duncan Ferguson: “ForEpson, the ‘First Wave’ started with Photo and Fine Art canvasses and also encompassedpaper-based applications of photo-merchandising, such as photobooks, calendars,and cards.  But in the ‘Second Wave’people have much greater ambitions.  Theydon’t just want to order or print their own photos, or share them via socialnetworks, they also want to be very creative with their images.  Because the world is increasinglypersonalised, they want to use images to personalise their possessions andcreate bespoke surroundings and gifts — everything from flip-flops to T-Shirtsand other clothing, bags to aluminium panels, upholstery to table tops,smartphone cases to wallcoverings.  Thesedesires translate into a huge opportunity for High Street retailers and imagingprofessionals to expand the range of added-value bespoke, personalised productsthey offer — provided they have the right production solutions, at the rightprice, to deliver a rapid return on investment.”

The Epsonsolutions designed to meet the needs of this ‘Second Wave’ include:

  • The SureLab range of compact mini and scalable microlabs provide retailers with a choice of production systems. The range is extended today with the commercial launch of the SureLab D7 Studio. This scalable solution can be used as a self-service order terminal or as a production ‘behind-the-counter’ microlab for the production of a wide range of photo products including leporellos, panoramics, greetings cards and leaflets.
  • The SureColor SC-F2000 direct-to-garment T-Shirt printer which enables users to start a profitable T-shirt printing service with minimal outlay.
  • The versatile SureColor SC-F6000 and SC-F7100 dye sublimation printers which enable the production of a wide variety of printed products such as promotional merchandise, personalised products and gifts, clothing and furnishings.
  • The SureColor SC-S range of large-format printers which enable retailers and photo professionals to offer a premium customised canvas print and wall covering service. These are ideal too for studios wishing to print their own studio backgrounds onsite to create bespoke photo shoot environments.

Strongimaging heritage

Each day Epson invests $1.34million on R&D to continue driving innovation.  Epson’s strong heritage in the imagingindustry means the company is best placed to drive the future of productionimaging technologies and is developing more imaging products than ever before –encompassing print, projection and sensing technologies. 

“We provide solutions toproduce a broad spectrum of imaging applications for 360 degrees of the imagingworld – from photo enthusiasts to professional photographers and High-Streetretailers. The imaging market is evolving rapidly and Epson is committed todriving the business of imaging in all its forms by developing products thatare designed to energise and inspire”, says Duncan Ferguson.