“Sublimation enables you to offer new products that complement what you already sell, deliver increased convenience and value to existing customers, attract new customers and enter new markets,” said Jimmy Lamb, manager of education for Sawgrass. “In a word, adding sublimation to an existing business brings diversification to your product lineup and sales strategy.”
Here are a few reasons that adding sublimation to an existing product decoration business can help boost sales and expand markets.
Expectations are Changing
It used to be that decorating businesses were identified by their specialty – screen printing, embroidery, transfers, sublimation, sign making, etc. But, the new reality is that specialists are losing revenue opportunities because they cannot handle all the needs of their clients, due to expanding customer expectations and buying habits.
Diversifying your business is one way to address this new environment. This doesn’t mean running out and buying the latest and greatest equipment in hopes that you can put it to use. Instead, you should take a close look at your strengths and weaknesses, followed by an in-depth assessment of buying trends. What products are your customers wanting that you can’t deliver? How often do they order? What are the expected turn-around times? What are the preferred quantities?
Chances are, sublimation is the technology that would give you the most capabilities in terms of diversification, and still allow you to handle small runs and quick turnarounds when needed.
You Know the Business Already
Sublimation is a complementary technology for just about any business that already decorates products – especially if you’re already using a heat press. There are multiple reasons for this. First, you already have a good idea of the market for product decoration in your area. Second, you also have an existing customer base. These two factors alone make adding sublimation a good investment if you’re looking to grow your business.
More Opportunities to Sell
Offering a wider array of products means you can fulfill more needs for more people. An awards retailer, for example, can expect to get steady business year-round, like schools, local sports, organizations, companies, and events always have some need for award products. However, each of these niche markets has needs beyond awards.
With one sublimation system, an awards retailer can offer more than engraved awards. Sublimation printing adds full-color awards on acrylic, slate, aluminum - even glass to the product lineup. In addition, award retailers can upsell customers on promotional products, apparel, personalized gifts, and signage.
Now, when the local school comes looking for their annual order of teacher recognition plaques, the awards shop with sublimation capabilities can offer more value: photos of the teachers on the plaques, full-color imaging, personalized mugs or water bottles for teacher gifts, signage for the annual recognition dinner, etc. The school gets everything it needs for the event in one place, and the awards shop increases its sales and profits.
Low Cost of Entry
Sublimation is one of the least-expensive decorating technologies available. If you already have a heat press, your cost-of-entry can be as little as $600 for Virtuoso HD Product Decorating System with an SG400 printer, plus paper and substrates. Compare that to the thousands of dollars investment for screen printing, embroidery or engraving machines, direct-to-garment, laser or even wide-format vinyl printers, and you’re talking about a fraction of the cost to get into sublimation.
A good business strategy may be to start with a small printer and build demand for sublimated products. Then, when you are getting a higher volume of orders, add a printer the next size up so that you can print more on a single sheet and offer larger products. Or, you could add two or three more of the small printers to optimize production capacity. Just make sure you think production speed and efficiency when evaluating your purchase choices.