Label Technology

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    Personalizing Product Labels for Better Value and Engagement

    Building Consumer Connections Through Customization

    Digital technologies have significantly transformed the way marketers reach, engage and connect with target audiences. The rapid proliferation of mobile devices, increased reliance on connectivity and prominent rise of the Internet of Things have made it so businesses are now presented with enormous amounts of data - information they can collect, organize and analyze to gain enhanced insight and information on their customers.

    This advanced visibility leads to sellers making more informed and strategic decisions about their products. They are able to fine-tune virtually all aspects of the production and selling process in a way that gives shoppers a better, more personalized experience. The more brands know about their audiences, the better able they are deliver the goods and services they need - using the strategies and channels they are most likely to respond to.

    In this highly digital environment, brands have to compete, perhaps more than ever, with other companies to gain the attention of consumers. This is why so much attention is being paid to the packaging and labeling designs of products. The way the goods are presented online or on the shelf can make or break whether or not a shopper notices an item, let alone purchases it.

    As technology and software become more sophisticated, the expectations consumers have are increasing. Digital developments have made it so the shopping experience of today's customers is all about convenience and customization. It is imperative that brands are able to leverage unique and creative ways to create custom labels and packages that not only stand out to shoppers, but are able to establish a connection with them in some way. And this is why personalized packaging is becoming such a staple among marketers today.

    Earlier this year, Packaging Digest named personalization as one of the top and fastest-emerging packaging trends right now, due in large part to the way it allows brands to reach consumers on a personal level and meet a lot of their growing expectations.

    Benefits of Personalized Packaging and Labeling

    Print Week recently reported that personalized marketing increases customer loyalty and generates 31 percent more profits than other types of marketing materials. Thanks to digital printing technologies, adding this kind of value to marketing campaigns has become easier than ever before - and is why it has become a strategy used by companies across a wide range of industries, particularly those in the food and beverage market.

    As Print Week pointed out, the use of personalization in labels and packages is incredibly versatile. This method can be used to not only grab the attention of shoppers - say, for example, by printing names on the product like Coca Cola Company does with its soda cans - but also to promote or generate buzz about a particular product or event, gain brand exposure or spread awareness. Adding to the attractiveness of the personalized packaging strategy is the wide range of content that can be printed on the label, as well as how the campaign is run. For example, a company could print the logo of different NFL football teams during the fall based on the city or state the item is being sold in. During the holidays, businesses could allow customers to go online and upload their own images or messages to print on a product label and give as a gift.

    Another way personalized marketing is being used to benefit sellers today is that it allows them to further gain insight into consumer shopping and purchasing patterns. Print Week explained that the more consumers interact and engage with a product, especially if it is with a smartphone or via social media, the more a company is able to learn about their preferences and tastes and, therefore, further customize and target customers based on that information.

    Mastering the Art of Customized Marketing

    At the end of the day, the real driver of personalized packaging and labeling is that it is based on relevance. To be perceived as relevant and thereby valuable to shoppers today, brands must be strategic about their customization efforts. Personalized marketing materials are still in their infancy and it is a trend that will likely continue to gain traction among companies.

    However, to ensure a successful campaign of this nature - whether it be for a limited edition line of products or a long-term strategy - marketers must be able to operate quickly and efficiently. This is why it is imperative that sellers that want to offer personalized products work with a printing provider that allows them to adapt and edit labels and packages in real time on an as-needed basis. They must also be able to ensure a quick turnaround on the print ordering and delivery process.

    By partnering with a digital labeling print company that uses best-in-class technologies, brands will be better equipped to adapt their personalized campaigns in tandem with emerging trends and specific needs of their consumers.

  • Should Your Product Labels Include QR Codes?

    Utilizing Digital Technologies For Packaging and Labeling

    The use of QR, or quick response, codes in product labeling and packaging has gained significant traction over the years. There are many benefits to printing QR codes on labels. This scannable technology allows shoppers to use their smartphones and mobile devices to learn more about an item. The codes can also be leveraged as a promotional and/or marketing tool. For manufacturers and marketers, it offers a solution for minimizing the amount of information they print directly on the package while still providing consumers with the necessary information the brands either want or need to disclose.

    When designing custom labels, sellers have a very limited space to work with. And because the packaging and labeling of products plays such an important role in grabbing the attention of shoppers, it is essential to make sure that every inch of the space is used strategically. Many people struggle with deciding which elements they should include, with an obvious concern being that the label will look too crowded or cluttered. However, determining whether or not a QR code would be an effective use of label space can be difficult - and there is no one simple answer. Generally, though, it depends largely on the type of good it is, as well as what industry it exists within.

    For example, a lot of the QR code's recent popularity can be attributed to the increased demand for more transparency in food and beverage labels. As Food Dive pointed out, one of the biggest initiatives that have fueled the use of scannable label technology is SmartLabel, a proposed solution to mandatory labeling regulations, such as the new GMO law, that makes it so companies let consumers know all the ingredients and sourcing information they may want to know without directly printing it on the product package. There have been mixed feelings about this strategy, with some arguing that using QR codes is unfair and inefficient because it favors only the shoppers who have smartphones. It's safe to assume that the SmartLabel advocates, which represent a large portion of food and beverage companies, prefer this method because having to disclose the use of certain ingredients or materials in a product may imply it isn't a healthy option, therefore hurting sales.

    QR Code Controversy

    The benefits of using QR codes and other digital technology in labels are easy to see when you consider how complicated and complex the regulatory environment can be. For example, according to Computerworld, wine makers can legally add as much as 200 ingredients to their wine products without disclosing the use of them on the label.

    However, when it comes to deciding whether or not to print QR codes on your labels, there is another important question to consider: Will consumers actually use them? Food Dive reported that, in 2014, 34 percent of consumers in the U.S. had used QR codes while they shopped and that, between 2014 and 2015, the number of scans made per person increased an average of 7.5 percent. Furthermore, the source noted, Hershey conducted research on SmartLabels and found that the general consensus among participants was that the QR codes are valuable when they provide information that the shopper wants to know, rather than a promotional video or marketing content.

    On the other hand, The Center for Food Integrity released research report findings that showed only about 8 percent to 9 percent of consumers prefer to receive food information from QR codes. Most preferred instead to have this information available on the product label or package, especially if it relates to the health or safety of the item.

    "When we did qualitative work, how consumers want to access information is almost as diverse as the number of consumers, which creates both an opportunity and a challenge," CFI CEO Charlie Arnot explained to Food Dive.

    Important Factors To Consider

    The important takeaway from the research findings is that, if you are going to include a QR code in the design of product labels, it is crucial to make sure that it is one that provides the consumer with valuable information. Furthermore, in order to determine this, it is necessary to first gain a sound understanding of what exactly your audience and potential customers find meaningful in regard to the type of item you're selling. For example, if it is food or beverages, using the QR code to offer them detailed listings of the ingredients and nutritional values may be a good idea.

    Another key factor to consider is whether or not your target audience uses smartphones and, if so, how. Understanding not only the technology-related activity but the purchasing behavior and patterns of your ideal customers is necessary in determining whether QR codes make sense for your product labels.

    When you're creating custom labels, you need to make the most of the space you have to work with. If there is a lot of important information that you know some shoppers may be interested in learning about, a QR code can be an effective tool in offering that without making the design look too cluttered.

  • Use High Impact Images on Product Labels to Stand Out From the Pack

    Intense Retail Competition

    No matter the type of product in question, consumers today have a huge amount of choice. This means it's up to you to make sure your item is the most appealing one on the shelves - the visibly obvious choice. The label is the medium of choice to create visual interest, and it's up to you to work with designs and printing methods that are bold and catch the eye immediately. In a world where everything in stores is wrapped in labels, the brand that tries hardest will rise above the pack.

    Some companies will use less sophisticated printing methods for their product labels, leading to simple designs that don't speak to customers. A simple, text-based approach, devoid of bright colors or high-resolution imagery, may be the result. By embracing a bold, image-based approach, you can make sure your items draw the eye first. Pictures demand more attention than words, and using such a strategy can make a great first impression on browsing shoppers. That split-second chance is where sales are made.

    Custom Printed Labels Are Advantageous

    In the current retail age, loyalty to particular brands has never been more tenuous. People have choices and options by the dozen, no matter what they are looking to buy. While this sounds like an intimidating state of affairs, it can also be seen as a huge opportunity. Every time an individual enters a retail outlet, he or she is on the lookout for new and helpful products, willing to make choices on the spot.

    Brands that use custom labels with eye-catching imagery can win the fight to get these customers to commit. Perhaps a high-quality and impactful image of the product in use will make a great label design. In the few seconds a person will spend scanning a shelf, an image has the greatest chance to make an impression. Of course, you need to ensure that the impression is a good one - working with premium materials and printing processes will make a brand look professional and competent, whereas lesser quality could give the opposite idea.

    Work With A Top Provider

    Contracting a third party to print labels is a way to make sure the process is carried out by experts and the resulting items live up to the ambitious designs your creative teams dream up. Plenty of time and work go into creating a good finished product, all building toward those few seconds when consumers will make a choice between one product and another. If one brand brings strong imagery to the table and another goes for a generic or sloppy design, the choice will be obvious.

    Lightning Labels has earned its place in the top rank of printers not only through its dedication to quality, but by living up to its name and delivering quick turnaround times. Taking a labeling project from idea to execution shouldn't be a long ordeal. You need to add great imagery to your products right away to catch potential sales that may be slipping away this very minute. Quick action can lead to impressive results.

  • April is Stress Awareness Month

    StressAwarenessUse Bumper Stickers for Stress Awareness

    Stress impacts all of us, and can lead to more severe mental and physical health issues when not recognized and treated. Awareness has long been held as the most powerful weapon to combat mental health problems, and April is dedicated to generate attention around stress and its full spectrum of consequences.

    If you would like to contribute to Stress Awareness Month, you can use custom bumper stickers to do so. There are few better ways to spread the word about a movement than crafting and distributing a winning bumper sticker, as the imagery will travel down roads and highways, attracting the eyes and minds of others.

    A Righteous Cause

    Stress is carefully monitored by certain groups in efforts to maintain public wellness. In times of change and upheaval, such as the financial crisis nearly a decade ago, stress levels tend to increase across the country. The American Psychological Association reported that 72 percent of Americans felt stressed specifically about money.

    This is only one catalyst for anxiety and stress, and raising awareness of these harsher portions of the human psyche can help to open individuals' minds up to the treatments available. Many people will simply think it is normal, and go about their days with these heavy feelings weighing on their minds and bodies.

    If you are planning on launching a campaign to support Stress Awareness Month this April, consider leveraging bumper stickers and other simpler, more affordable materials. With branded items that bring the facts about stress to light while aligning the event with the company's commitment to serving its clientele, you can also drive your brand reputation in the right direction.

    Cause stickers might seem superfluous but, in raising awareness, they can actually have a tremendous impact on many people.

    Custom Stickers and Bumpers

    Now, simply deciding to take this approach and not paying attention to the details could lead car owners to not display the stickers, or make it so they don't catch the eyes of others on the road. Make sure your marketing and product packaging teams know that they should be focused on crafting the most aesthetically pleasing bumper stickers possible while incorporating information related to Stress Awareness Month.

    If you need these items in a hurry, consider using Lightning Labels, as this firm focuses on quality at scale and speed.

  • How Will You Approach National Wedding Month?

    NationalWeddingMonthFebruary is National Wedding Month

    Love is in the air this month, as February hosts both Valentine's Day and National Wedding Month, all within the shortest number of days of the year. If you produce candles, wine, wedding favors or any other products that are a bit more popular during wedding season, which generally falls in the spring and summer months, the time is now to get moving on customized label projects that will let newlyweds-to-be know that you are a good choice for their event.

    In many ways, this month is a great time to build brand awareness through several different types of campaigns, including those that celebrate National Wedding Month and Valentine's Day, directly market relevant services or get the brand name into the minds of individuals planning their weddings for later in the year. At the end of the day, custom wedding gifts are a great place to start, as virtually every couple will make sure that their guests receive some token of appreciation following the ceremony.

    Wedding Favor Labels

    Regardless of which types of wedding-related products you might be selling, custom labels can be a great way to differentiate your items from those of competitors, and getting out ahead of others in the industry can help to drive revenue down the road. Customizing wedding favor labels will allow the bride and groom to land on a specific product that they would like to be included in the baskets, but then personalize each one for the guests who are receiving them.

    Candle labels, as well as custom stickers for other hot items such as wine and cheese, can also be a relatively simple and affordable means to the ultimate end of building demand for your products rather than those distributed by others in the marketplace. Because personalization and customization have become two of the primary drivers of customer engagement and loyalty, they should not be overlooked this National Wedding Month.

    Lightning Labels for the Win

    With February coming to a close and the spring just a month away, you will likely need a quick turnaround on orders for custom labels and other branded items. To ensure that your labels are ready to go and printed nicely ahead of the busy wedding season, consider partnering with Lightning Labels for all of your custom needs in the coming weeks.

  • The Emergence of New Product Labeling Technology

    Digital watermarking codes may eventually replace traditional barcode labeling on product packaging.

    Digital Watermark Labels May Transform Traditional Barcodes Today, the inclusion of barcode labels on product packaging is a normal occurrence. These scannable stickers provide businesses across all industries with a way to significantly improve manufacturing and distribution operations, track and manage inventory faster and more accurately, and enable quicker transaction processing.

    Now, a new innovation is being introduced to the market that has the power to take global supply chain capabilities to a whole different level.

    The Wall Street Journal reported this week that Digimarc Corp., the manufacturer of invisible identifiers, is partnering with GS1 US to create digital watermarking codes that can be printed over the entirety of a product packaging, but can't be seen by the naked eye.

    This label technology utilizes image-based devices with specific software that allows a person to interact with the item without actually having to directly scan a barcode label, the source explained. To identify the product, the code just needs to be in the general vicinity, which will ultimately help increase operations and production processes.

    In its announcement, Digimarc indicated that the product identification will enhance engagement and build stronger relationships between retailers and consumers.

    The Digitalization of Product Packaging "A conventional package may have one bar code, or multiple bar codes in a high-volume retail environment," Bruce Davis, a Digimarc executive, told The Wall Street Journal. "So instead of having six bar codes ... you can have hundreds of bar codes on a package, all imperceptible to the consumer, and readily identified to the scanner."

    To put it simply, the advanced capabilities of these watermark labels would provide companies with larger amounts of information on each product. But this isn't the only advantage that differentiates them from traditional counterparts.

    Companies interested in using these digital codes on their products will have to be approved by GS1, the unit responsible for handling business registrations for UPC barcodes, the source said. Before now, registering global trade identification numbers, also known as GTINs or serial numbers, was not required. This caused a lack of consistency, which led to variations in item details as they traveled along supply chains.

    The Wall Street Journal added that this new system will provide business owners with better control and consistency throughout different channels. And it won't just benefit companies, either. Consumers will also be able to "scan product packaging through smartphones and look up the information originally registered by brand owners or manufacturers."

    However, it is unclear how soon this labeling technology will be adopted by mainstream markets since, as the source pointed out, there are a number of adjustments businesses will need to make to support the effective implementation of the digital watermark, including software and hardware updates and special scanner devices.

  • How Custom Labels Can Make Christmas More Affordable

    Custom labels can help make holiday shopping more affordable.

    Using Custom Labels to Manage Holiday Spending

    With Christmas quickly approaching, people are beginning to scramble to finish their holiday shopping and think of last minute gift ideas. This time of year can be both stressful and expensive.

    The National Retail Federation recently reported that consumers plan to spend around $800 on items related to the holidays.That's a lot of money, especially for those on a tight budget.

    Furthermore, sometimes people spend a considerable amount of money on presents, even when they aren't entirely sure they are purchasing the right items that their family or loved one will be pleased to receive. This alone can cause unneeded worry.

    Retail Me Not revealed that 64 percent of consumers consider the cost of purchasing gifts to be the main stressor of the holiday season. And it's not just purchasing these goods that can be problematic for people; it's overwhelming even picking them out. The source also found that at least 41 percent of shoppers worry about finding the appropriate gift, Fountain of 30 noted.

    Everyone has certain people that seem to be particularly difficult to shop for. A poll conducted by Catalina Marketing found that people are becoming more selective about what items they want to receive and that shopping for a person known to be fickle can result in the shopper feeling discouraged and opting for a slightly impersonal or generic present, such as a gift certificate or cash.

    Fortunately, there are ways to nail the season of giving without breaking the bank or stressing yourself out.

    Versatile Labeling Options If you can't find what you're looking for, why not create it yourself? Custom labels have the power to transform a bland gift into a personalized present, without looking like an amateur craft project.

    Tailor-made labels allow consumers to take a product, such as a bottle of wine, or create one themselves, such as homemade jelly or baked goods, and add a personal touch. The labels used for food items can be customized to include important information, such as recipes, ingredient lists and nutrition facts on the product labels.

    Between all the holiday parties and gift exchanges, you may be facing the need to produce more goods than you have ideas. Custom product labels make creative production easy.

    These types of labels allow gift-givers the leverage of optimizing generic holiday party offerings, such as a case of beer or bottles of wine, with engaging and unique aesthetics. In addition to virtually unlimited styling and print options, people can also order them by the batch to make checking presents off the list that much easier.

  • Making Waves this New Year's Eve

    Making Waves this New Year's Eve

    Personalize New Year's Celebrations

    The time of the year for celebration has arrived, and individuals and businesses from across the country are likely ironing out the details of their plans to ring in 2016 in fun and unique ways. If you manufacture or distribute products that are popular for New Year's festivities, including wine and champagne, you might want to consider the merits of customizing your labels for these items to ensure that they fly off the shelves at the end of December.

    Personalization has been a key to success for businesses of all types in the past few years, and one of the best ways to keep these strategies fresh is to align custom labels with specific events or campaigns, in this case those related to New Year's. With custom wine labels, you will be sure to please the average consumer and become a part of their celebration, thus boosting the brand's image in the eyes of current customers and building stature among prospects who are also in attendance at the parties.

    Custom Champagne Labels

    There is perhaps no beverage more popular on New Year's Eve than champagne, with many parties only having bottles of this decadent item available for patrons to enjoy. If you distribute or manufacture champagne in the United States, you can customize the wine bottle labels in accordance with the preferences of your target market. For example, if you want to recognize them right on the product packaging, customized wine labels that say "thank you" or some similar form of gratitude will do just that.

    You could also take a more extreme angle on these processes, personalizing the wine bottles for individual customers, especially if they have been loyal to your brand for long periods of time. This could include putting their names on the bottles or allowing them to order the product and make their own decision as to how it will be personalized. Either one of these methodologies will likely improve the relationship between you and your customers, all the while showing the merits of becoming a loyal client among your prospects.

    Above all else, though, make sure the designs are festive and not boring, as they need to pop to have these desirable impacts.

    Use the Right Provider

    Custom labels, when not acquired from the right service provider, can be inaccurate, not aligned with the original design schemes or returned long after they are needed. However, once you get the ball rolling on your custom wine and champagne bottle packaging initiatives for the new year, you can use Lightning Labels, a leading vendor of personalized stickers, decals and labels, to ensure the projects are completed properly and in a timely fashion.

    Hitting the ground running in 2016 should be a priority for all brand managers this December, and unique, engaging and fresh customization efforts in product packaging can be just what the doctor ordered to do so.

  • National Poll Reveals Majority of People Prefer Print Labels Over Electronic

    New National Poll Suggests Majority of People Prefer Print GMO Labels Rather Than Electronic.

    GMA Introduces SmartLabel Technology as GMO Labeling Solution The United States Congress has faced a great deal of food industry-related controversy this year, especially pertaining to the labeling laws of products containing genetically modified ingredients.

    On one side of the GMO debate are groups of labeling supporters who believe labeling regulations should operate in a way that reflects complete transparency, disclosure and honesty between producers and consumers, leaving no room for misinterpretation.

    On the other end of the spectrum are those who believe mandatory labeling should be prohibited, and GMO labeling should be an option left to the manufacturer's discretion.

    This week, the Grocery Manufacturers Association announced the SmartLabel Initiative, which, the group indicates, is a compromise solution.

    If passed, this technology would make it so Quick Response, better-known as QR codes, would be placed on product labels. Consumers would be able to access ingredient lists, product details and information by scanning the codes with their smartphones.

    "People want more information and are asking more questions about products they buy, use and consume, and SmartLabel puts detailed information right at their fingertips," GMA President and CEO Pamela Bailey said.

    But some argue these scannable codes would be the opposite of convenient and only add to, not solve, the problem of consumer confusion.

    Poll Suggests People Prefer Print GMO Labels Just Label It recently announced the results of a new national poll that was commissioned by a handful of environmental and food safety groups, including Consumer Union, Food and Water Watch, Friends of the Earth and Center for Food and Safety.

    And the results don't look so good for the SmartLabel Initiative.

    The analysis report from The Mellman Group, which conducted phone interviews with 800 voters, revealed that most people, or 89 percent of participants, think it should be mandatory that genetically modified products are labeled as such.

    The poll results also showed that people have a strong opinion about what type of label should be used, with 88 percent of voters saying they would prefer printed rather than electronic labels. There are various reasons for this, including privacy and discrimination concerns. Many indicated they would be uncomfortable with the level of personal information electronic labels would provide companies with, such as purchasing behavior and location, with 82 percent voting in favor of prohibiting this kind of data collection.

    Another anti-QR code argument is that it favors the wealthy.

    "GMO labeling via QR code technology is unworkable, threatens privacy and is discriminatory since more than a third of Americans, many of which are low-income or live in rural areas with poor Internet access, don't own smartphones," said Friends of the Earth Food and Technology Program Director Lisa Archer in a statement to Just Label It.

    Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of Center for Food and Safety, agreed. He stated that scannable labels would be "a completely unacceptable substitute for clear, concisely worded on package labeling."

    More than 30 major food companies have already joined and are in support of the SmartLabel Initiative, including Hershey Co., PepsiCo Inc. and General Mills, Agri-Plus Communications reported. The source also added that some of these companies believe that if GMO labels were mandatory, the labels would scare consumers into believing a product is unsafe, even if it has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

  • Capitalizing on Child Safety & Protection Month

    Capitalizing on Child Safety & Protection Month

    How Will Your Business Participate?

    November is Child Safety & Protection Month, which is an especially big event for the average product manufacturer who targets younger consumers. Although child safety labels are required on any objects that might present a risk to kids throughout the year, the observance of this awareness month will act as an opportunity for companies to go above and beyond the call of duty to gain more trust from their target markets.

    Because this observance also takes place in the busiest shopping month of the year, manufacturers and retailers will want to get moving on their child safety protection labels as soon as possible to get them out before Black Friday. Aligning a brand with this event while still ensuring that the information in the warning-related labels is accurate and easy for parents to understand can help to fuel greater revenues moving into the new year.

    Labels for Kids

    Safety labels should not only be functional in the sense of conveying the risks involved, but should also draw the eyes of consumers to the product. Packaging is always a critical aspect of revenue generation in these industries, and you can consider using custom labels that will stand out from the crowd while still covering the requirements of regulatory compliance. With customization, more information can be contained within the labels as well.

    For example, you can leverage a design that at once celebrates the holidays, explains the risks the products pose to children and the fact that November is Child Safety & Protection Month all in one fell swoop. In other situations, you might want to use safety labels to cover the requirements, then use specialized stickers for items that are on the shelves this month to observe the event, ensuring that the content involved does not get too cluttered.

    Any way a business leader slices it, though, it is important to take advantage of opportunities such as this one more proactively than competitors, as markets are becoming more saturated alongside the economic recovery. With relatively simple and affordable projects involving specialized and customized labels, toy and other item manufacturers can position their products to excel in the marketplace this holiday shopping season.

    Get Moving

    Toys are going to be flying off the shelves in a couple of weeks, and you will need to ensure that you place special labels and stickers on those items ahead of Thanksgiving. This can seem like a daunting prospect, but it need not be. First, get marketers and product managers involved in the design aspects of the initiative now and make it a priority to complete the tasks within the next week.

    Then, working with a reliable provider of label, sticker and decal services such as Lightning Labels can help to ensure that the turnaround on orders is timely enough to place them on products before Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday arrive.

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