When digital is NOT the best solution

When digital is NOT the best solution

When is Digital Printing NOT the Best Printing Process for Your DTC E-commerce boxes?

Much is being written about digital printing on boxes, by us and many others on the web. Most list the many benefits of digital printing and I admit in the right application, the advantages of digital box printing are numerous. 

Keep in mind we sell digital, so this post is not about knocking the other guys or being against the process we do not offer. The fact is we do sell digital printing and we are darn good at it. However, I sincerely believe that digital is now being oversold in some scenarios and in those circumstances, it is not really in the customer’s best interest. 

Here are a few situations when the best printing process for you MAY not be digital printing:

When your volume per order is substantial (over 1,000 boxes)

I’ve seen many new businesses launch using digitally printed packaging and continued using digital even after their volume has grown past “start-up” levels. For flexographic printing the MOQ is only 1,000 and can produce boxes at a much lower cost per box. If you are buying 500 or more boxes per month, having a two-month supply is not too much inventory and is probably a good idea. One exception – if the graphics are complex or consist of many colors and variations, for example photo quality images. 

When your graphics are simple and only one or two ink colors

In the beginning many people opt for minimal plate and cutting die investment and start out with digital printing. Their motivation for digital is the low minimums that are possible with that print process, NOT because their graphic design demands digital. Possible exception – When the design is trickier than it looks. Earlier today we reviewed a graphic design described as simple, red and green horizontal stripes. Sounds easy enough but when we saw it, it is actually wide red and green bands and both colors are meeting and touching everywhere. See the first related post below for more on color overlaps. 

When cost per box becomes important and a savings is affordable

What I mean by “affordable savings” is that when you grow to a certain point, some investments in your business can result in substantial savings. A great example is flexographic print plates. When you are starting up, a two color flexo job will require two $500 print plates. At this stage $1,000 is a lot of money but when you grow and are shipping 1,000 boxes per month, saving two dollars per box (flexo versus digital) that $1,000 investment is returned in approximately two weeks. That is a pretty good investment! 

Most new entrepreneurs start up and initially operate their businesses based on income and cost projections. In some cases, those business plan numbers are optimistic guesses or estimates, in others they are conservative with the actual results turning out much better than expected. Quite often after a business is launched many business owners find out their expenses are much higher than planned. One of the most common underestimated costs is shipping.  “Let’s throw in $5.00 for shipping” turns into “oh my God, that package we shipped to the west coast cost us $18.00 to ship because it is a residential address!” Packaging right sizing and buying right, can cut costs and increase profits.  

Who do you trust?

I think you can trust a company that offers multiple choices and options and has no axe to grind.  Our branded packaging advisors have years of experience and here is the best part – they are not commissioned salespeople. They are salaried people who have no financial interest in “selling” you one print process over another. They are trained to provide options complete with positives and negatives, so the customer ALWAYS makes an informed decision. 

Contact us at Salazar Packaging or call us at 630-551-1700. One of our people will walk you through the process to help you make the best short term or long-term decisions for your very specific application and situation.  


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