Buyers Guide to Digitally Printed Corrugated E-commerce Boxes
Reason # 2 to go digital – the cost of flexographic print plates
As we often tell callers, “we are in business to sell branded packaging for e-commerce, not print plates and dies.” In other words, it is not our intent or desire to load up customers with expensive print plates. Yet, we can’t print lower cost flexographic without plates, so when does digital make more sense? The quick answer: digital is usually the best option when the plate cost exceeds the cost of the boxes being printed.
Keep in mind that flexographic printing will almost always be less expensive than digital printing. So, if the plates are likely to be reused repeatedly, flexographic could wind up saving you money in the long run if you can meet the MOQ, in most cases 1,000 boxes.
Flexographic versus digitally printed boxes – do the math
If a one-color print on a digitally printed box is going to cost you $1.60 and you only need 200, your total cost is $320. The same box printed produced on a flexographic press might be lower in cost at $.90 each but the MOQ is 1,000 and let’s say the print plate is a onetime cost of $500. The total cost running the first order flexo will be $1,400. (The plate cost would NOT repeat on future purchases of the same box and design) That is a big difference if you only need 200 boxes. However, the onetime cost of the plates is easily covered if the quantity of boxes needed is 1,000 or more.
Other cost influencers – flexo versus digital boxes
There are other very legitimate reasons why digital is the better choice. A major one is if your graphic design cannot be printed flexographic: photo quality images, more than a couple of colors, complicated gradients, etc.
The style and size of the box may also be an issue as well as the ink coverage inside and outside.
Combine different printing techniques for maximum savings and best results
If your box is going to be printed inside and outside (highly recommended), it is possible to use two different print processes on each side. While most of our boxes are printed flexographic in and out, and some are printed digitally in and out, a growing number use both flexo and digital to create unique looks and minimize cost. Flexo out and digital in or the opposite – digital out and flexo in.
Not only is flexo going to be less expensive, it also creates a softer, matte look which sometimes is preferable.
As stated above, there are numerous factors that influence cost and help determine the best approach to branding your e-commerce or subscription box. Please feel free to check out the information we have provided on this website as well as our new www.DigitalBoxPrinter.com web site. There you will find a popular, helpful FAQ but if you have a question that is not covered, please contact us at Salazar Packaging or call us at 630-551-1700. Over the course of ten years we have printed millions of boxes for thousands of customers and we would love to help you as well.