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.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels 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. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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