Hi, Tech!

Two shops adopt new technology to sell and manage more wraps.
This wrap for Junk Genius was a job Brand Ink used as part of training its staff on the 3M Graphics Install Wizard.

So your shop offers vehicle wraps and business is good. The more jobs you do, the more referrals you expect, with your shop’s efforts rolling around town. Sometimes you even get projects from other shops that either aren’t local or are too busy. While you hate to turn down any business yourself, at times you’ve had to hand off certain jobs to someone else, an installer you trust. Any or all of those sound familiar?


Two recent technological tools designed to help shops with those concerns and to grow their businesses have recently been introduced to the vehicle wrapping market. One, the 3M Graphics Install Wizard, is new software featuring access to a database of installers (for any vinyl job, not just vehicles) based on location and capabilities. It also allows shop owners to list job opportunities, accept bids and book jobs. For installers, the Wizard is an opportunity to increase their visibility and receive more installation work by bidding on new projects. Nicholas Lowry, president of Brand Ink (St. Paul, MN) and among the first users, said, “Being able to unify all of your communications on a project-related basis with everyone involved saves time, reduces errors, and simplifies paperwork for teams in the field.”

He described his usual subcontracting process involving multiple emails and voicemails, most of which aren’t answered until after the workday. Instead of back-and-forth’ing offers, job details, etc., the Wizard transforms any shop into “a command center [with] access to everything that is happening,” from start to finish, Nick said. “Each field team has what they need to know to accomplish the job, and a straightforward way of reporting back.” When the jobs start stacking up, Nick feels the Wizard’s value of combining the many “conversation streams,” as he put it, will truly show.

However, the Wizard is so new that Nick is still bedding it in with jobs Brand Ink is doing, such as a recent truck wrap for Junk Genius, a client of six years. Essentially a re-order, Junk Genius made an easy trial run to help train everyone on the software. His team entered all the data and tracked the job from sale through installation. They printed the wrap on 3M IJ180Cv3 vinyl using their HP Latex 570, then trimmed it with a Zünd cutter and added 3M Scotchcal 8518 Overlaminate on their SEAL laminator. When they do start using it for subcontracting, Nick is confident that it “will be nice for everyone to have the app on their phone.”


Signs of the Times recently reported on how augmented reality (AR) can enhance wayfinding signage, advertising opportunities and more. Now a new company, Wrapmate, is using its website and app to allow vehicle-wrap customers to design and then “see” (using AR) their wraps on the intended vehicles before committing to buy. When a customer is ready to purchase, they work with a Wrapmate “Pro,” a qualified installer in the customer’s area. Carlos Rodas, owner of Raster Print (Los Angeles), signed up as a Pro after Wrapmate sent them a lead. “We liked this because the customers that are passed along to us have seen their branding on a vehicle, have a ballpark estimate of pricing and have said they’re ready to make it happen,” Carlos said. 

Raster Print is still in the early stages of working with Wrapmate, finalizing production design as well as coordinating installations for their first batch of leads. “All of the customers we are working with are new customers who hadn’t considered a wrap before seeing the mockup design Wrapmate created for them,” Carlos said. He feels the partnership is very useful, crediting Wrapmate with “trying to teach businesses about vehicle wraps – what they are, price, why they’re a great form of advertising, etc.” 

In addition to the online referrals, Carlos also finds the app valuable to prospects visiting his shop. “With the AR app, customers can see [through their phones] not only the design but also what it looks like in real life,” he said. “They can really envision the final product.” With the end-user side of its site and app already collecting and funneling leads, Wrapmate has turned its attention to building its print shop portal, with additions coming soon that track jobs from prospect to completion.


Signs of the Times November 2019

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