By Nithya Caleb
Spike in last-mile deliveries has increased the adoption of fleet graphics
By Nithya Caleb
Delivery has never been this important. During the pandemic-induced shutdown, people limited store visits. Almost overnight, consumers moved to online shopping platforms. As a result, one can get almost anything delivered these days including medicines and groceries. As the “Anatomy of Change,” a survey by Oracle revealed, there is a clear preference for home delivery and other fulfillment options for essential and nonessential items.
Many companies are finding ways to address the critical last-mile delivery challenges to meet customer expectations, as brands who deliver on time win the hearts of consumers. Besides offering curbside and instore pickups, companies have resorted to home deliveries to alleviate safety concerns.
According to Jeff Uzbalis, senior account executive | branding and transportation specialist, 3M Commercial Graphics, the growth in e-commerce and increased emphasis on last-mile delivery has escalated the demand for trucks. In the latter half of 2020, the wait time for trucks was eight to 10 months.
An ACT Research survey found the US trailer industry had booked 54,200 net orders for October 2020. This is up six per cent from September and 68 per cent more than October 2019.
This proliferation in delivery services has increased the importance of fleet graphics in marketing. Another reason for the demand is rebranding, which, in Uzbalis’ view, is inevitable during economic downturns either due to M&As or consolidation of operations.
For Uzbalis, the biggest struggle has been keeping up with the increased demand for graphic films.
Fleet graphics as a marketing tool
The American Driving Survey by AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found a person spends more than 300 hours in their vehicles annually. With so much time spent on the road, fleet graphics can be an effective way to reach new customers, as the brand is visible to millions.
Another study by Neilsen and the Outdoor Advertising Association of America found 35 per cent used online search engines to look for out-of-home (OOO) advertiser, 22 per cent visited an advertiser’s website and 14 per cent snapped a photo of an ad.
According to Charles Veilleux, vice-president of sales and marketing at Quebec-based Turbo Images, a provider of fleet graphics and large-format printing solutions, a single vehicle with fleet graphics has the potential to earn an average of 16 million impressions annually in an urban setting.
Vehicle wraps allow companies to use their vans, sedans and trucks as canvases for creative storytelling that promote customer engagement. “Putting your messaging on the vehicle is the cheapest form of advertisement,” believes Uzbalis.
The Outdoor Advertising Association of America’s (OAAA’s) experience has been that fleet graphics have a very low cost per thousand impressions (CPM). When compared to other types of advertising fleet graphics cost only $0.15 per thousand impressions.
These compelling statistics could be the reason for an increase in Turbo Images’ business.
“Demand has just been restructured. Companies are delivering to homes instead of stores. Transportation is considered essential, and the market is booming right now,” explains Veilleux.
In Veilleux’s experience, the intensity of branding has increased in fleet graphics. Clients are moving away from simple logos. They prefer customized graphics with more colour. Also, the coverage is more extensive these days.
“People are realizing their vehicle is an asset, and that they can leverage it as a marketing asset rather than it just being a debt. You can turn your money spending into an investment that starts working for you,” says Veilleux.
Companies that are looking to reduce their carbon footprint can also employ fleet graphics to optimize their marketing campaigns. For instance, materials, such as 3M Envision 480 (made without PVC), are a suitable eco-friendly option.
Veilleux also sees an uptick in graphics with reflective material. Traditionally used to enhance road safety, they can also be used to promote brands 24/7. Since these materials reflect light, the graphics are illuminated at night.
According to the American Trucking Association, the use of reflective graphics increases the number of annual impressions by 40 per cent.
Also, reflective vehicle films helps protect drivers and assets on the road by increasing visibility.
SpeedPro in Irving, TX, uses an Anapurna H3200i LED from Agfa to produce vehicle graphics. The UV inkjet system is designed for indoor and outdoor applications, and its six-colour-plus-white capability helps them create window graphics that are viewable from either side of the glass, as well as flat panel adhesive vinyl or magnetic graphics for advertising purposes.
“We help customers produce more powerful messages and create more opportunities for growth with innovative technology. The Anapurna, and all Agfa’s UV inkjet inks, offer ‘thin ink layer’ technology, thereby consuming less ink per square foot, thus saving on consumable expenses while resulting in dazzling prints,” says Bill Brouhle, solutions architect, Digital Print Sales, Agfa.
Supercolor, a Belgium-based digital printing company, uses a Jeti Tauro H2500 LED to create large wrapping projects. A hybrid printer, the Jeti Tauro H2500 LED can print on a variety of media. Once, they applied decorative New Year prints to a train of SNCB, Belgium’s national railway company. As you can imagine, the size of the vehicle alone brings along its own challenges.
“The Jeti Tauro features up to 32 fast-firing Ricoh inkjet print heads, and utilizes Agfa’s UV-curable inks, delivering a unique combination of productivity and superior print quality. The Jeti Tauro’s UV LED lamps for the curing process offer major advantages in terms of performance, costs, maintenance, the environment and the generation of extra business,” adds Brouhle.
Printing the graphics is just the beginning; they need to be installed. As Uzbalis mentions, proper installation is the key to success in the wide-format business. For its part, 3M certifies installers and fabricators to ensure work quality.
Home deliveries are expected to continue in a post-COVID world. Thus, fleet graphics will play an important role in a company’s marketing strategies, and the demand is only going to increase.
This article originally appeared in the May 2021 issue of PrintAction.