Ricoh explains how Direct to Garment Printing supports instore creation

Ricoh Ri 100 Direct to Garment printers are easy to operate

Ricoh's Direct to Garment Printing supporting instore creation
Ricoh's Direct to Garment Printing supporting instore creation

Ricoh Europe, London, 18 June 2021 -Graham Kennedy, Director Industrial Print Solutions, Graphic Communications Group, Ricoh Europe, says, Demand for sustainable printing, faster adaptability for clothing lines, and the influx of creative design in fashion. Future Market Insights identified these as some of the drivers for the predicted growth of the global Direct to Garment (DTG) printing market to £2.31bn by 2023.

We have also seen interest in DTG increase due to the pandemic, accelerating reshoring and redefining supply chains in response to cost and time pressures. There has been a greater uptake of creative personalization, customer design, and merchandising opportunities as well. DTG supports instore creation that encourages customers through the doors when eCommerce has become the default way to shop.

Future Market Insights also pointed to the reduced cost of printing digitally as helping with wider adoption. In addition, the ability to quickly add a personalized message to a bag, a quirky slogan to a t-shirt, or an Augmented Reality developed design to clothing allows a greater level of customer interactivity, as the following examples highlight. They show how retail operations are responding to these trends by inspiring customer creativity and originality:

Ricoh delivering a unique in-store experience

One gift, one-story” is the adopted slogan of Manor, Switzerland’s largest department store chain that has 59 outlets. It gave a practical demonstration of this ethos and inspired customers during the pandemic by offering them something special – a personalized printed gift, such as a one-of-a-kind T-shirt or fabric bag. 

The innovative idea was introduced to widen its business opportunities, win new customers and offer existing customers an attractive extra benefit to visiting the physical store. It was brought to life with easy-to-operate Ricoh Ri 100 Direct to Garment printers. They enabled the immediate in-store printing of images straight from mobile phones and USB sticks directly onto bags, pillowcases, napkins, socks, and T-shirts.

Jennifer Trowbridge, Project Manager Business Development Unit Retail, Manor, explained: “The personalization of products is still very much in vogue. A plain T-shirt is quickly transformed into a personalized garment, and customers love this kind of innovative printed gift and memento.” She added the investment in the garment printers paid off quickly thanks to their affordability and print-on-demand capabilities supported by user-friendly software.


Keeping production local with DTG technology is Swish Edinburgh, Scotland. It has a boutique shop and a next-day printing service outlet to customize items such as T-shirts, tote bags, and sweatshirts. In addition, it produces one-off pieces, promotional merchandise, and its own stock of 20 to 30 designs on two Ricoh Direct to Garment printers.

Customer creativity

Shoppers at H&M’s Harajuku store in Japan developed their own designs and brought them to life with Ricoh DTG technology at “Redesign Lab.” The immersive Augmented Reality experience using Disney’s “Star Wars Saga” collateral asked visitors to create artwork by superimposing a virtual world on the real world using AR glasses. They then printed their favorite design on clothing.

Lucas Seifert, President and CEO of H & M Japan said: “This experience is a good example of how technology can help add value to clothing through product customization and on-demand production. This will avoid overproduction, create meaningful products that will be loved and valued for a long time, and make future business models even more sustainable.”

 All three retailers show how DTG technology can start new conversations with customers.

The easy-to-use systems have enabled a greater level of interactivity, added value, and generated new revenue opportunities. The fast, small footprinted systems, with intuitive setup and low total cost of ownership, can be seamlessly added to any shop floor. And, as we have seen from Switzerland, Scotland, and Japan, they are driving a wave of innovation that is propelling DTG printing to a wider market and fostering stronger relationships.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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– Naresh Khanna

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