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How to Choose the Right Retail Paint Color Tools for Every Department

It seems everyone is selling paint these days, from well-known brands such as Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams to big-box stores like Walmart, Home Depot, Amazon and even Pottery Barn. It has become critical for paint companies to differentiate themselves from a sea of competition by introducing new products to the market faster. And faster product development requires palette matches faster. But when it comes to speed and efficiency, paint companies are faced with these realities:

  • The process of creating accurate formulas is time consuming, and color labs are constantly being tasked to work faster—and do it with fewer resources.
  • Product changes only add to this problem. Whenever there’s a new resin or coating introduced, companies need to re-match their colors to ensure accuracy.
  • Keeping up with marketplace demands requires consistent adjustments to colors and products.
  • Matching and tinting products at a retail store requires specific tools and expertise. A lack of proper equipment and training can lead to wasted material, man hours and unhappy customers.

All that to say: Streamlining color operations is no easy task—especially when you consider how many people and departments influence a paint palette. To help, let’s explore the different departments involved in bringing a new product to the market. Then we’ll look at how the right tools can help conquer each of the above challenges.

From Palette Creation to Education: Marketing

A paint company’s marketing team touches everything from palette creation to defining the range of colors products are available in. Many times, they also manage the actual mediums carrying those colors, all the way to the final product.

And they’re responsible for literature, including color cards, examples of products being colored, and even tools for architects to use when selecting colors for their buildings. It goes without saying: having the right tools for doing all of these tasks smoothly is key.

But things in the color world can change suddenly, leaving marketing teams to scramble. Having quick access to the company’s available color library and trending color data is important. It lets them easily update everything from websites to sales brochures.

The Standard Creators: Research and Development (R&D)

It goes without saying that the team creating standards has a critical role—one that impacts almost every other team at a paint company. R&D is responsible for color formulations that are used throughout the company’s product line and in marketing materials. They also manage quality control once products are created.

Other teams depend on R&D to keep electronic formula books up-to-date so they always have the most accurate color data to work from.

Putting it All Together: Manufacturing

Whether piloting new products or creating new lines of products, manufacturing is responsible for putting it all together and bringing these products to life. But even before products can go to market, the manufacturing team needs to create factory batches of colored products to check for quality control against the R&D specs.

Once pilot products, factory batches, and full product lines are created, manufacturing is constantly working to scale up production to ensure they can meet market demands.

On the Frontlines: Outside Sales and Distribution

These teams work one-on-one with customers to get them the right solutions for the job. As the frontline experts, they are responsible for understanding a product line and how it works into their customers’ needs. It’s critical that they know the range of colors and options available to customers.

The challenge? Sometimes product lines, including color options, can be extremely detailed. As part of their on-site management job requirements, it’s important for sales and distribution to understand job-spec fulfillment. This allows them to help and troubleshoot with customers as needed and meet their needs in the best possible way.

The End of the Line: Store and Distribution

Once a product or product line gets to the store and distribution level, the keys to success are:

  1. Providing expert advice to the end-user
  2. Being able to manage tinting operations and maintenance of the color-delivery machinery

These teams need to maintain customer records for future orders, solve potential problems, and offer stellar customer service. They also have to maintain ongoing product knowledge, including tinting operations.

The Right Tools for the Job

We designed Datacolor solutions to work across departments and meet a wide range of retail paint needs. Here’s a look at how the departments above can leverage our solutions:

Match Pigment Software

Our flagship matching software, Match Pigment, helps you prepare formulations and improve match rates. It’s equipped with a technology called SmartMatch that reviews your entire formula history and learns how to improve your first-shot matching—which increases accuracy and matching speed. Match Pigment also comes with a feature called Gamut Mapping. This allows you to quickly review potential palette colors and decide if they can be produced in the desired product and colorant options.

Departments: Research and Development, Manufacturing

 Match Pigment Workstation

Match Pigment Workstation: A more budget-friendly alternative that’s streamlined for use in production. While Match Pigment Workstation does not have advanced features like being able to create colorant sets, it’s the perfect supporting tool to Match Pigment because it offers all the formulation options, quality control tools, and additional features that manufacturing requires—at a reduced cost.

Departments: Manufacturing, Store and Distribution

Tools Software

Using our Tools QC software, teams can digitally store, access and duplicate their color data for easy evaluation—along with simple access to similar colors that they’ve already manuactured. Tools gives users access to a color standards library for in-depth color analysis. It also comes with advanced shade-sorting capabilities and side-center-side color variation reporting and works in tandem with our portable spectrophotometers and our ColorReaderPRO.

Departments: Research and Development, Manufacturing, Marketing, Stores and Distribution

Lab-Grade, Close-Tolerance Instruments

Our lab-grade, close-tolerance instruments (the Datacolor 1000 and Datacolor 700) allow teams to measure and communicate colors when the highest possible accuracy is needed.

Departments: Research and Development, Manufacturing

Datacolor 200 Spectrophotometer

Our Datacolor 200 spectrophotometers offer reliable desktop color measurement in a retail paint store environment. They’re affordable, easy to use and their color measurement data is compatible with other Datacolor sphere instruments.

Departments: Retail Store and Distribution

Datacolor SpectraVision

Datacolor SpectraVision makes it possible to measure textured, three-dimensional, small, or multi-colored samples which could previously only be measured visually. It allows teams to separate colors on-screen for individual evaluation.

Departments: Research and Development, Manufacturing

Portable Spectrophotometers

Our suite of portable devices enable customers to take remote measurements and upload them to a formulation device. Our Check3 and 45G devices are also designed for quality control.

Departments: Research and Development, Manufacturing, Outside Sales and Distribution, Store and Distribution


With its iOS and Android app and fleet management software, the ColorReaderPRO is a marketing team’s best friend. This small, portable device lets you scan any color and find it in the company’s electronic color library. It also gives team members access to trending colors. For sales and distribution teams, ColorReaderPRO reduces time spent shipping color samples for testing, since this can now be done on the spot.

Departments: Marketing, Outside Sales and Distribution, Stores and Distribution

Putting it All Together

When paint companies connect the dots with teams and technology, color matchin, formulation, dispensing and more becomes simpler and more accurate, formulas stay up-to-date in real-time, and tremendous value is gained—both for the company and for the customer.

You can learn more about our solutions for the retail paint industry here.

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