Many of the best products and services on the market today were created by one of life’s greatest motivators—a problem. When we started working on building a color on-demand business five years ago, we never realized that one man’s moment of clarity could lead us to a partnership with one of the world’s largest shipping companies.
My relationship with Warner Copeland of TSI goes back over 15 years as a partner for Epson’s transaction printer business. As an internet retailer, Warner’s company ships their own products as well as blind-shipping the products of several other companies, also called third-party logistics, or 3PL, shipping.
One day Warner noticed that the 3PL side was slowing down their shipping process, as his warehouse staff had to load the custom-branded labels of each company into the printers for each label. At that moment, Warner saw our new color on-demand initiative as a solution to his problem.
Warner took no time in finding the UPS president of his region, and broached his idea: The ability to brand in color at the time of shipment. Soon, Warner and I were meeting with the region’s director of marketing, Mark Tabor, who saw the value and the opportunity in Warner’s idea.
Through their current, extremely sophisticated software called WorldShip, UPS had the ability to control every aspect of a package’s lifespan, from creating individual labels with logos and promotional marketing to knowing what shelf it would sit on in the delivery van.
To get the process started, one of our software partners created a proof of concept that allowed us to get color on-demand out to UPS’ entire Florida district and doing live shipments. The upper management of UPS noticed the results, and developed native software support for WorldShip to communicate with our printers.
What color on-demand brought to the table was a distinct advantage over UPS’ competition, providing a rare cost benefit and marketing solution to that they can offer their customer base. Not only can this save their customers time and money in their logistics, but it also opens up an entirely new advertising opportunity that guarantees 100% readership.
For many UPS customers, this enables them to build their brand recognition and compete with the corporate giants, like Zappos and Amazon, who are able to brand every shipped box with their logos. In addition to branding, social media triggers, QR codes and targeted promotional messaging can be printed on these labels, on demand.
Explore more details about Color UPS labels via Epson’s UPS CTP site.