The Role of Paper in the Omni-channel world of retail

  • March 26, 2018

By Shelagh Hammer

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Marketers around the globe are keeping their eyes on a handful of pretty dramatic changes that are affecting how brands and retailers go to market with their products and services.

According to Wikipedia: Omni-channel retailing is an expansion of multi-channel retailing. The major change between the two is the level of integration. Multi-channel is usually identified as a non-integrated way to approach customers while omni-channel requires coherent and absolute integration. The boundaries between diverse channels tend to vanish in an omni-channel environment, giving the customer a completely unified brand experience. Websites, email offers, social media messaging and physical stores all show the same messages, offers, and products. The omni-channel concept not only extends the range of channels, but also incorporates the needs, communications and interactions between customer, brand and retailer.

In a nutshell – this is a customer focused approach that enables seamless access to purchasing. The seamless quality applies not only to a consistent brand look and feel but also to consistent messaging and experience for the consumer regardless of where he/she is buying.



At Highcon we believe the following are the most impactful trends that open doors to creative use of paper and board:

blankThe Me Consumer – a term for modern day shoppers who are more informed, more demanding, expect products they purchase to be RELEVANT to them, and who are much less patient (and loyal) than previous generations. Actually it was a JW Thompson study that coined the term “Me Brands”, and refers to brands that go to almost extreme levels to customize their products to meet consumers’ needs. These are tough customers to cater to, but they represent a growing share of most of our potential target universes.

The customization of a product can be according to a wide range of criteria – segmentation by region, language, or age; customization for a particular event; seasonal and holidays; and down to the personalization that we all see when we receive direct mail with our name picked out.



blankSecondly, we’re all witnessing an era of traditional media clutter, where it’s so much harder (and more expensive) today to get attention from target customers than in the past via vehicles such as TV, radio, outdoor and print. And actually even digital channels have their challenges as ad blockers become more and more ubiquitous. This phenomenon emphasizes the importance of physical in-store and online marketing, display and packaging design – grabbing shoppers’ attention at the point of sale to influence their purchase decision.

The visual cues that we recognize when we see the same branding on a direct mailer, a billboard and inside the store ensure a consistency that leaves consumers feeling reassured that the products online and in-store are the same quality.



blankThirdly – brand owners, retailers and distribution partners are all, without exception, squeezed for margins, and looking to make supply chains shorter and more efficient. Lower inventories, and more reactive supply chains are becoming a very challenging new norm.

In order to cope with this extreme pressure, retailers and brands need to be able to get new products to market fast, to supply impatient customers rapidly, and to maintain a level of response and reaction that keeps up with market demand.




blankAnd finally, competition between brands and between retailers just keeps growing. Globalization, retail channel blurring and e-commerce are all factors behind this – creating a situation where innovation for the purpose of creating a point of difference becomes an absolute necessity – it’s a question of differentiate or die.




These last two have become even closer with the rise of online purchasing. The ability to not only buy online but to compare prices leads to a commoditization of the process. And the next step – which has already hit the stores – is the entry of shopping applications which take the consumer even further away from the bricks and mortar experience. This digital experience also severely impacts the supply chain logistics.

We firmly believe that all these forces are converging, and creating a digital future. We’ve seen it clearly in other industries. The future is digital, and it’s arrived.

In order to cope with these trends the savvy retailer or brand is committed to an omni-channel marketing approach.

The solution? Using Highcon digital cutting and creasing technology to produce paper products throughout the channel:

Supply chain

Approval cycles are cut by using digital technology, samples and final products are made with the same production process, last minute changes and edits are simple, and rapid turnaround a given.


Segmentation by region, language, season, or demographics, customization or personalization down to one, deliver relevance


Whether it’s a direct mailer, brochure, fashion show or promotional giveaway, posters, magazines, presskits, letterheads, business cards, flyers, they can all bear the same look and feel and offer a consistent message


Point of sale, wobblers, header cards, sleeves, window dressing, and table top all can be produced using Highcon technology.

Shelf appeal

On-the-shelf packaging has more influence than almost every other aspect of a product. Standing out on the shelf is Highcon’s specialty.

Online purchasing

With the trend towards online purchasing and the drive to reduce overpackaging Highcon offers both an online ordering solution as well as the ability to produce visually attractive customized packaging that both protects the content while carrying the brand message and creates wow effect.

All of this leads to Happy Customers

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