From data to design: How retail can scale creative production

For brick and mortar retailers, creation of high-quality, printed graphical content is often time-consuming, prone to error, and hard to manage. Get ready to learn from Ward De Langhe, CHILI publish’s Chief Product Officer, how scaling your creative production with CHILI GraFx can improve quality, consistency, and productivity.

A flawed graphics production process usually creates issues around brand consistency and alignment — which only gets worse when retailers have hundreds of locations worldwide. In this episode of CHILIpulse, we examine how CHILI GraFx makes the production of a range of diverse assets easier and more efficient with both user-based Smart Templates and data-driven (“headless”) content production.

Data puts retailers in the driver’s seat

Whether retailers use CRM software, a digital asset management system, a product information management system, or all the above, a massive amount of data is getting collected. In turn, that data can be used to power how decisions are made locally and globally, including tasks like personalized marketing, promos & discounts, customer segmentation, and pricing optimization.

Ward De Langhe details how data informs this process:

Our relationship with CHILI publish, from initial contact to today’s ongoing support, really makes it stand out from other software partners we’ve worked with...Smart Templates have enabled us to leverage large data grids and preserve them with a front-end design experience, decreasing production costs and times throughout the organization.

Florian Payri

@ ARISTID Retail Technology

For marketing departments at retailers, this data enables them to offer more customer-centric experiences — something that should be reflected in their creative output to maximize the effectiveness of their campaigns.

With CHILI GraFx, brands can efficiently enable on-brand personalization at global scale and while also automating brand consistency for powerful, productive peace-of-mind.

How can retailers achieve this? This is where business logic and CHILI GraFx’s Smart Templates make things easy.

Business Logic and Smart Templates are a match made in heaven

With the power of CHILI GraFx’s in-built business logic capabilities, it’s easy to dynamically populate any number of fields in your Smart Template. The data stream can be organized by headquarters or the local retailer, and, once the data is populated, your creative assets can be exported as an image, high-quality print-ready PDF, or even to in-store digital signage.

Since CHILI GraFx is API-first, as long as there’s a way to access the data (whether that’s CSV, SQL, pulled through an API, etc.), CHILI GraFx can do it. The data can be input via self-serve portals for local store managers or can be run headless and automated with zero human interaction.

Automated Print for Design & Content Variants

In practice, this process might include creating hundreds of different shelf labels with unique bar codes and sizes based on specific dimensions for each of your retail locations. These can even be color-coded to match the section they appear in – like bright orange to match a clearance sale display you’ve created, or in different languages based on what region that product will be sold in.

As Ward De Langhe shares in his demo of CHILI GraFx’s data-powered Smart Templates:

Because CHILI GraFx is API-first, we can send the data set to a Smart Template in CHILI GraFx and ask it to produce the output completely automatically without human interaction.

Ward De Langhe

Chief Product Officer

@ CHILI publish

That kind of automation manifests in both time and cost savings. It also allows your employees to focus on more important tasks than revising 50 different versions of the same label to meet local regulations!

And when the print jobs become more complex, CHILI GraFx has everything you need to produce high-quality, print-ready PDFs including font-embedding, CMYK + SPOT colors, high-resolution imagery, overprint settings, and every other important prepress requirement.

Your choice: self-serve or fully-automated?

The best part of using CHILI GraFx for your web-to-print needs is that you can come up with a process that works for you as a retailer. Whether you’re using a headless, data-driven approach, or having end-users drive creative output based on pre-determined, branded Smart Templates, the end result is the same: highly personalized messaging leveraging your data sources at scale.

Ward de Langhe explains how this streamlines your production cycle and eliminates the need for communication with extra agencies or stakeholders:

If you allow your store managers to make a last-minute order, they can go in and enter the data – or the data could already be provided – and they can simply order that design. We can cover both use cases: either you're completely automated and you can schedule it, or you use a hybrid system where it is scheduled, but somebody needs to approve it, and you can quickly run through it.

Ward De Langhe

Chief Product Officer

@ CHILI publish

Retailers, rejoice! The benefits of scaling creative production with CHILI GraFx

Web-to-print applications driven by CHILI GraFx's Smart Templates offer big dividends for retailers. Smart Templates allow for on-brand creativity to be defined by the business, which ensures that headquarters and local branches are quite literally on the same design and content page. With the CHILI GraFx platform powering creative production, large retailers with hundreds or thousands of stores can have personalized localization without sacrificing brand consistency.

This process also affords retailers unparalleled operational efficiency. Not only do designers get to avoid spending time recreating thousands of designs over and over again, but, as mentioned, CHILI GraFx’s high-quality, print-ready PDF output has built-in preflight and native support for CMYK, SPOT colors, and every other prepress requirement you might have, including overprint. This means that your print output is always brand consistent and high quality. Brand owners love this for two main reasons: it mitigates the need to do expensive reruns and it keeps your brand consistent.

Next steps

Ready to take your retail creative production to the next level? Watch CHILIpulse episode 7 to see Ward De Langhe discuss more B2B use cases with CHILI GraFx and web-to-print technology.

And make sure you stay in the loop of what’s going on at CHILIpulse, by joining our newsletter.

Smart Templates,


Bram Verniest

Co-Founder and Chief Evangelist

Ward De Langhe

Chief Product Officer

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