Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

H2020

VISSUALLY Report Summary

Project ID: 719161

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - VISSUALLY (Customised exhibit solutions through visual innovation)

Reporting period: 2016-04-01 to 2016-09-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Consumers make their final purchase decisions once they are at the store and are heavily influenced by the visual dimension. Up to 40% of them change their minds based on what they see, learn, or do while they shop. Consumers decide from 10,000 products available on display to the amount they finally purchase, at the stores. The situation is similar at trade fairs. On average, a trade fair visitor attends three events per year, and spends three hours at each show. Whilst there, they visit between 25 and 30 exhibitors, meaning that each company has between five and 15 minutes to make a truly lasting impression on them. This is a small amount of time for a visitor to find out about a business, so it is crucial to make sure that the exhibitor’s stand makes an impact.
Thus, merchandising has become a key medium for companies when deciding on their marketing strategy. Their main objective is to attract consumer attention to their own brand so it is selected and purchased over and above the other brands competing in the same place. Differentiation becomes incredibly important in current global markets in order to obtain a larger market share. Creating brand awareness at the point of sale means investment and high expenses. In 2015, world marketing expenses stood at €528 billion with an increase of 6% (€559 billion) over 2014 and this increase is expected to increase in the following years. Point-of-sale merchandising represents up to 20% of total marketing expenses (€100 billion/year), i.e. average of €262,550 per company a year.
The range of merchandising options is huge and includes electronic displays, leaflets, and advertising panels. Displays are the preferred solution for point-of-sale marketing with companies using 11,721 units per year on average, with more than 23 million stand displays being used in one year. Moreover, displays are also employed in other marketing environments such as trade fairs, as well as at points of sale. Based on our market research, trade fairs offer an additional and relevant market for displays since more than 2,619 events are run every year solely in Europe. Companies conclude that poor promotion can mean the costs of advertising outweigh any revenue companies may gain.
The main differences in current display solutions come in terms of materials and design. On one hand, only expensive options (plastic and methacrylate) offer good and high quality results that enable differentiation (high-quality image, bright colours, durability…) but have the drawbacks of price, assembly and environment. On the other hand, low cost solutions (corrugated board and corrugated plastic) offer sufficient quality, quick and easy assembly but poor end results in terms of product differentiation and printing results when compared to expensive solutions. Besides, they are not reusable, they have minimum resistance to moisture and are not durable.
There is a clear business opportunity for innovative displays that include the following requirements: low-cost high-quality printing, improved durability, reusability and environmental awareness. Our company, TECNOLOGÍAS Y APLICACIONES LÁSER S.L.U. (TAL), has been working for over four years on a unique display solution based on the use of Medium Density Fiber board (MDF). This solution, VISSUALLY, is able to meet the aforementioned requirements.
The main objective of the action is to develop a feasibility study on the potential introduction of the best product solutions in the MDF market for trade fair and point-of-sale display stands, including a technical feasibility study, stakeholder assessment, market study, and the elaboration of a business plan.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

At phase I, TAL undertook a Feasibility Study to evaluate its MDF technology to point-of-sale display stands and merchandising products. This study was focused on four key areas: a) technical feasibility analysis, b) market analysis, c) stakeholder assessment, and d) business plan.
A technical feasibility assessment has been carried out in Phase 1 The key innovation issues developed to conventional MDF are:
• Adaptation of direct digital printing technology on MDF substrates
• Control of laser cutting intensity
• Novel assembly system: Q-clip (patented)
• Lighting issues using led technology to use in big displays, furniture.
A feasibility assessment of the VISSUALLY project has been performed at SME1. A system prototype demonstrated in an operational environment in the pilot production facilities has been technically and economically validated. Further steps (to be worked on in an SME 2-action) will include scaling-up the high-value MDF solutions to be applied according to the operational requirements specified by customers, and the complete validation and certification of the MDF solution identified; therefore, progressing from the current TRL 7 to TRL 9 (a ready marketable product).
VISSUALLY direct digital printing innovation enables high quality direct digital printing on rough MDF surfaces, thanks to improvements in high-resolution direct digital printing equipment, solving the limitations of current printing technologies that are only valid for paper printing and offer poor quality on MDF surfaces. VISSUALLY high accuracy laser cutting customised solution. Accurate cutting produces safe products and prevents risks in end handling as well as edge cleanliness (no black areas from laser intensity that can slightly burn the material). This cutting accuracy is possible since we have been developing a system that is able to control laser cutting whereby high intensity is applied in a shorter time period, thus accelerating the cutting but without damaging the material surface. Moreover, this can generate up to 50% in cost reductions since the time required for laser cutting is shorter and so, less energy is needed. On the other hand, adaptation tables and filters to absorb smokes which are produce during cutting MDF panels will be consider in order to make a manufacturing processes with environmental impact=0. Moreover, automatic tables to manipulate the big MDF panels will be also to take into account for health and ergonomic issues in working conditions. VISSUALLY assembly system Qclip (patented); this specific assembly system makes our final products different as they can be used on several occasions and are easy to assemble and disassemble. VISSUALLY lighting integration: For shops and traid fairs, booths and big displays it is also important to add lighting on MDF panels, so in order to reduce energy and make energy savings LED lighting will be used. Moreover, special attention to placing and integration technologies will be studied in detail to select the suitable one in each case.
On the other hand, a market study with potential consumers with brand owners and retailers in European countries were carried out to find out what interest, acceptance and therefore, market potential exist for VISSUALLY. The results show that there is a demonstrated market interest for this new solution due to its value to the sustainability, ecology and the carbon footprint benefits generated. New MDF display productss should focus at the beginning on fulfilling the key factors the industry is requiring: easy to assemble, reusable, excellent design and customization and reduction in weight. Accomplishing these requirements, there is a clear opportunity to penetrate in the target market.
Finally, a business plan has been elaborated. It has included the study of the business model, competitive advantages, market and customer analysis, value proposition, and commercial and marketing plan. Moreover, this work has been structurated taking into account the results of the coaching plan which has been compiled in a financial plan.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

VISSUALLY brings an innovative solution to provide product’s differentiation to brand owners providing high-quality, quick, and affordable MDF solutions. This problem is of special concern for brand owners and retailers since their market is highly competitive and the ability to successfully engage consumer by a distinctive solution in the market will be driven their success.
Brand owners already invest great amount of money in marketing tools such as electronic displays, leaflets, and advertising panels since their objective is to attract consumer attention to their products when those products are at the point-of-sales. Therefore, this project represents an important economic opportunity for TAL in terms of expanding the technology to other markets.
The project will increase the size of the company in terms of economic value with a significant increase in the net present value of the company. The production of the new products will generate new jobs into the company both at production level but also into the R&D department. TAL is focused in developing technology and therefore VISSUALLY brings the opportunity of increasing our human team.
In a wider societal implication, the VISSUALLY project will have positive impacts as a consequence of minimising waste, reducing CO2 and using recycled materials and water-based inks. VISSUALLY constitutes a new technology to improve the added-value of PLV products made from 100% recycled fibres.

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