Printing is one of most creative, varied and highly innovative industries. With evolution in terms of digital printing and direct to garment printing, fashion industry has gained huge in terms of costs, time to market, varied fashions and rise of eCommerce. As per a report presented by leading eCommerce technology provider, the fashion eCommerce industry looks promising with worldwide revenue expected to rise from $481.2 billion in 2018 to $712.9 billion by 2022.
As per the Info-trends’ 2014-2019 Digital Textile Forecast, the current valuation of global digital textile market lies at about $7.5 billion including garments, decor and industrial applications with a CAGR of 34% through 2019. Asia-Pacific is considered as the geography with the highest growth potential with 4.4 per cent CAGR.
Table of Contents
How web to print is giving web to fabric eCommerce the required boost
Web to print has proven again and again that it is beyond software and technologies, it is the practice that changes a particular industry or business models. Decades ago, it was hard to imagine to place orders for printing materials or even simple photographs online and receiving them at your doorsteps. The technology has made it simple right from your favorite tshirts to shoes, name plates, wall papers, keychains, business cards, glasswares and what not. Similar advancements have been witnessed in web to fabric ecommerce.
With customers and shops getting digital, fashion trends change dynamically and this requires more agile technologies to keep in pace with changing requirements of customers. Whereas paper printing was a prevalent business previously, textile printing was more of a medium sized businesses. With web to fabric printing even small printers or budding entrepreneurs can afford to do it in-house or with small costs. Web to print enables the trend shift from analog to digital print with shorter turnaround times and reduced costs. The on demand printing also evades the inventory holding costs to a great extent making web to print for fabrics more profitable.
Trends to look forward
1. Real-time customization
Web to fabric softwares have made a tremendous advancement in terms of customizing desired garment/fabric for web purchaser, without worrying much about the inventory holding costs and wastage. This rises us a tremendous opportunity for all the new-age web entrepreneurs who can capitalize on the significance of web to print technologies and online shopping.
2. Direct to Consumer Fashion
Direct to Consumer Fashion is a blessing for budding designers and entrepreneurs looking to have their startup in textile printing industry. Enabling web to print that can help designers to reach out directly to individual customers put tremendous pressure on big manufacturing units that still follow legacy supply chain model. Direct to Consumer fashion will overtake retailers and fashion houses by 11 percent as the top fashion channel consumers purchase because of the hyper personalization it offers and ease of reaching out directly to designers and manufacturers.
3. Emerging partnerships between different businesses
New business models or entities or partnerships will emerge in form of partnerships between equipment manufacturers, store owners, designers, fashion houses and printers. Various permutations and combinations of these entities can be possible and will produce significant opportunities for printers to find sweet spot as per their expertise and vision of business. Recently Italy-based Durst Group announced partnership with England-based fabric printing firm Standfast & Barracks for establishing a Centre of Excellence. The center is based out of Standfast & Barracks’ headquarters in Lancashire. This is just one of the example of how collaboration rather than competition is the way ahead in web to fabric ecommerce.
4. Fashion wear is the just the tip of the iceberg
When it comes to real-time customization, D2C fashion, it is just the start for fabric customization. Home fabrics, decorators, home furnishing segments also present an industry like never before to establish presence with new and innovative business models.
5. Hardware or equipments will not take a back seat
Quality output is irreplaceable for printing companies. It is not advisable to look at the gamut of technologies and leave new-age light weight, less cost and smart devices behind. Choose your level of expertise and leverage on it. If you are already having good web presence with good number of online customers, look to add more value by investing in technologies but if you are printer with full-fledged printing facility and plans to expand more, look for partnering with companies lacking required machinery.
6. Sportswear is going to be in trend
Sports fanatics are on the rise all over the world. There’s so much awareness about the recent sports, tournaments all around the world and it is an opportunity for printers to partner with sports club and customize their uniforms. As per a report by Allied Market Research, Global Sports apparel market is expected to grow to $184.6 billion by 2020, registering a CAGR of 4.3% during the period of 2015 – 2020.
In contrast to customization, sports apparel market looks for comfort and agility during physical movements.
We are living in exciting times where technology makes everything possible with few clicks or tap of a button. Printers have been seen as a traditional industry but there are few companies that emerged as traditional few path breakers like VistaPrint, Zaggle etc. Printing community requires more such new-age entrepreneurs and businesses that are ready to experiment with emerging new age technologies.
Most small medium businesses are worried about the costs they have to incur for establishing such businesses but more than it, it requires right acumen and experiment with new ideas. Technology can be one time investment that can give you returns if done right, immediately. It is not easy to get levelled ground to fight the tough competition ahead but it also presents an opportunity to make way ahead.
And as Charles Darwin said, “In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.”
Amy Watson is a consultant in E-commerce web to print Software Technology as well as Product Design Configurator for various eCommerce platforms. As a technology enthusiast, she is very well aware of latest trends and tools to expand online sales.