Outdoor enthusiasts today seek out products that enable them to do what they love more comfortably and efficiently. A product that looks better, feels more comfortable and improves overall functionality can attract buyers and often justify a higher price point. There’s a way to check all of these boxes at once by adding a soft-touch, thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) grip. It offers a practical way to improve your product’s surface look and feel, adds the possibility for custom color and sensory effects, and works with most substrates.
As consumers, we all want tools to help us improve our productivity, increase our enjoyment and ease our pain points. When those tools are made more comfortable to use with a soft-touch grip—whether it be a multi-purpose knife, a stand-up paddle or a toothbrush—we get a distinct perception of better quality.
Consider a wrench. When consumers walk down the home improvement aisle envisioning the project ahead of them, the idea of a softer, more comfortable tool is appealing. For most consumers, the added ease of use is well worth the extra cost. With TPEs, you can add more than soft touch. Different formulas also produce a more secure grip, or you can make use of a custom texture. Either way, consumers get a more pleasing overall experience.
Looks matter to consumers. Take the outdoor enthusiast, for example. The “cool factor” for tools such as knives, paddles or survival gear often comes in the form of edgy aesthetics or added functionality. TPEs are available in a wide array of colors and special effects that will amplify their sensory qualities and contribute to brand identity and shelf appeal. Specific TPE colors or textures can serve as a strategic branding tool and can replace expensive secondary painting or adhesion operations to achieve a similar look.
Some applications almost demand materials that will ease stress or discomfort on the human body. Adding TPE grips to power tools or off road vehicles, for example, can decrease vibration and even reduce the possibility of injury. Firearms manufacturers, as another example, utilize TPEs to absorb kickback and its impact on the shoulder. The material can also be found on high-end multi-purpose knives to provide better tactile grip for safer use. The bottom line? Adding TPE grips to a product can provide pleasing benefits to consumers and a healthier market share for you.
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