By Karen R. Smith

Lower volume orders mean higher margins … Right? Well, maybe, but in the world of lower-volume and mid-volume private label water, generating a new sale is often interrupted by the laborious, often teeth-pulling chore of getting proper label artwork from the customer. The reason for this is obvious: smaller accounts tend to be less sophisticated when it comes to artwork. It frequently arrives ‘out of spec’, or broken up into several components, or underdeveloped and in need of professional help. The bottler often assumes the painful and time-consuming responsibility of educating each customer (according to the their ability to comprehend) graphics practices and artwork requirements.

Many bottlers simply don’t have the patience to deal will lower-volume orders. It’s just too much hassle and the margins don’t add up. However, since price points are higher, this lower-volume and mid-volume market niche could be a premium opportunity if it could be serviced effectively: Cumulatively speaking, it represents a very large chunk of the private label market.

What if much of this artwork aggravation could be somehow mitigated? Would that increase interest in this market niche? Papugai, Inc., of Bellevue, Washington, says yes.

In 2004, the firm invented and developed a web-based design online (DOL) software application that actually lets e-commerce buyers design (or upload) their labels as part of the ordering process. Three years later, this powerful software is in its fourth version, more powerful (and more popular) than ever.

What makes Papugai’s product so unique? First, it has a remarkably vast feature set; second, this product actually delivers final, high-resolution artwork that is ready for print production. No labor needed. Both of these traits clearly contribute to Papugai’s leadership in the field, but it’s the second one (finished high-resolution artwork) is the innovation that is really turning heads.

“All other attempts at building DOL applications fall short in this area” noted Chris Wray, Papugai’s VP Technology and chief architect. “We knew from the start that our product needed to manage relatively large graphics in a powerful server-side application instead of just the front end like others we’ve seen (which require laborious re-designing after the fact). Rendering truly finished artwork that can be printed on the fly is a powerful uniqueness and we’re the only ones who’ve done it.” Wray added, “The challenge wasn’t easy. Many of these files are more than 50 megabytes in size. Our database application manages many thousands of these files per client and they all need to be rendered in real time.”

Slightly less daunting, but equally impressive are the clever ordering and label management processes and the application feature set. For example, customers can design (or upload) and store as many labels as desired in their individual online account and then apply any combination of these labels to orders whenever they like, 24/7.

As with any sophisticated e-commerce solution, a full account of this order history is available for review, as well as for quick and easy, one-click reordering.

Matt Lewis, Vice President and co-inventor has worked at Papugai for more than 18 years serving client needs in the areas of brand development, print and web design and software development throughout the US, Canada, and parts of Asia.

“This product was not designed to serve the entire private label water market,” said Lewis. “In fact, our objective was to find a way to effectively serve smaller and mid-sized accounts, using these strategic innovations to simplify the effective and profitable management of those smaller accounts.”

After choosing a bottle size and quantity, private label customers can select one of four options for labeling. They may begin with a blank canvas and design a label from scratch, or start from a professionally-designed template chosen from a variety of themed or categorized options. They can also upload a finished design to the bottler’s specifications, or request a custom professional design for a flat, prepaid fee which is included in their e-commerce transaction.

The actual design features are too many to list in this article, but when we reviewed this software, we were pleasantly surprised by the features offered — many would seem impossible from a ‘web-based’ application. In fact, the available options seem more like what you might expect from a professional desktop graphics software program.

For example, in addition to controlling text, graphics, logos, photos, textures, shapes, lines, fonts, colors and pinpoint positioning and rotation for each or these, you also have complete control over layers, including transparency (opacity) between each layer.

The proofing process is very simple, professional, and anything but dull. Private label customers see an online proof, both flat and in vivid 3D, wrapped around a water bottle showing multiple viewing planes. Optional hard copy proofing, to assure absolute color matching, is also offered for an additional fee at checkout.

Developing an efficient private label program that effectively services low-volume and mid-volume accounts can be a challenge. However, employing web-driven software to do much of the work for you can bring rewards that are measurable in real dollars, replacing headaches with profits practically overnight.

For more information about Papugai’s suite of private label and e-commerce products, visit their website at www.papugai.com or call 1-877-PAPUGAI


Holy Drinking Water

Holy H2O? That’s right. On June 6th, 2006 (666 day), my niece and I were discussing ways we could protect ourselves from the devil. I thought, “What if I had some holy drinking water? I could drink it all day and it could protect me from evil.”

A few days later, I was trying to think of a product that could be a daily reminder for folks that they can and should do good. I put the two ideas together and Holy Drinking Water® was created.

Finding a marketing strategy
Two things about Holy Drinking Water quickly consumed my thoughts. First, California is the civil suit capital of the United States. Second, how could I attract the younger generation to the product, since statistics show they need the idea behind it the most? Hence, the disclaimer was born:

“Warning to sinners: If you are a sinner or evil in nature, this product may cause burning, intense heat, sweating, skin irritations, rashes, itchiness, vomiting, bloodshot and watery eyes, pale skin color and oral irritations.”

I also wanted to ensure the product’s neutrality towards any particular religion. The term ‘holy water’ isn’t referenced in every religion’s texts, but most faiths have some form of blessed water. I conducted a short survey of people from a multitude of different faiths, asking them what they called blessed water. Everyone responded, “Holy Water.” Since it appeared that the phrase had become a universal term for blessed water, I felt it was neutrally safe to use the term Holy Drinking Water. All other specific religious markings have been removed from the product. We even took the cross off the steeple on the church in our label illustration.

Creating the water
Until now, I had never been in the water business and certainly never bottled water. Don’t even know much about it. I found a local water bottling company and created a label so I could pitch my idea to them. I’ll never forget the expression on the owner’s face when he saw the label for the first time. It only took him seconds to decide on bottling the water.

When I picked up my first load of filled bottles at the plant, I had not yet secured a clergyman to bless the water and my wife was skeptical that I would. After explaining my idea to the first clergyman I contacted, he agreed to bless the water. My plan is to get a clergyman from every religion to bless the water so that ultimately every faith is represented in blessings of each and every bottle.

Creating a buzz
Having worked in retail for several years, I knew Holy Drinking Water would be a story the media would want to tell. So, I wrote a press release explaining what I was doing and emailed it to as many news media addresses as I could find. Within 20 minutes, I received a call from a news program asking if they could interview me on their Sunday morning show. A couple of hours later, a nightly news crew called. They were already driving toward the only store selling my product, ready and eager to do an interview. I agreed to both, which meant the media was plugging Holy Drinking Water from 6 p.m. to 12 a.m. on Friday night, again for three hours on Saturday morning and two additional hours on Sunday morning. It was a great weekend!

The news shows linked our website to theirs and soon, Holy Drinking Water was showing up on blogs and in newspapers throughout northern California. In three weeks, the news of our product had traveled as far as New York, Canada and Israel. The word is traveling fast and we haven’t paid for one lick of advertising yet.

Looking to the future
Our marketing strategy continues, but we can’t let all of our secrets out of the bag just yet. Keep your eyes and ears open because Holy Drinking Water is flowing your way!

By Brian Germann
President & CEO
Wayne Enterprises Inc.
www.holydrinkingwater.info


Kosher Water

Global Water Group of Dallas, Texas is a world-renowned manufacturer of water purification equipment for the US military and disaster relief agencies. It manufactures a simple seven-step filtration process to kosher water.

Global Water’s newest product is pure distilled drinking water recommended by doctors and specialists. The product has been certified by Star-K, the agency that is responsible for assuring Kosher consumers that food products and ingredients meet all kosher requirements.

For more information, e-mail: info@globalwater.com or call (214) 678-9866 or visit online at www. kosherwater.com to order.

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