Everybody’s talking about web-to-print software and how such software will revolutionize the way the printing industry offers products and services to its customers. Well, the revolution is already happening and it’s not just the printing industry that is gung-ho about this software, there are plenty of online retailers who are as excited about using web-to-print software. But, just because everybody is singing praises of such software and all the benefits it brings to the table, it doesn’t mean it’s a good idea for your business. As a business owner, you must make an informed decision.
It’s important not to follow a herd mentality while choosing such software. The decision must be based solely on whether or not your business needs it. But how do you judge on that?
Here are a few pointers you must keep in mind that will help you make the right decision:
1. Do your research
The fact that you have never used this software before means you need to find out more about it. Do some research on how it’s helping businesses improve their services and whether the implementation of this software has led to business profitability. Will the implementation of this software allow you to streamline your existing printing services? How will you leverage the use of this software to boost business growth? These are just some of the many questions you must ask yourself while conducting research on this software.
Another aspect of research is to know more about ecommerce and how your offline business will profit from an online identity. If your print business doesn’t have an online presence, you will need to choose web-to-print solutions built over specific e –Commerce platforms. In this case, you will also need to research the working of ecommerce and how you can optimize the potential of your ecommerce site.
2. Calculate the costs
What are the costs associated with this product? If you are already providing printing services, then you will have a printing system in place. In this case, you won’t have to invest in a printer. But, what if you are an apparel retailer, who’s chosen to go with T-shirt design software? In that case, you will have to invest in a printing system, which might be an expensive proposition. Are you willing to make this investment?
Another cost that you have to take into consideration is that of processing the orders that are coming through the internet and shipping them to the customers who have placed this order. Also, you might need to hire new personnel to process these orders which will increase your total cost.
One of the better ways of calculating costs is by talking to the people who have already implemented these systems. If somebody you know is using this software, ask him/her everything you want to know about the costs of using the software. However, if you don’t know anybody who could personally tell you about the costs of implementing this system, search on the internet for such people. Ask your network on social media whether they know anybody who has used this software. Tap into all your sources to find the information you want.
This sounds like a lot of effort, but to get a very clear idea of the costs associated with implementing the use of this software, you will need to talk to businesses/people already using it.
3. Will your customers appreciate the software?
Just because you are excited about using a web-to-print software, it doesn’t mean your target customers will show the same enthusiasm. First, think whether the audience demographic you are targeting wants personalized designs on their products. Secondly, check whether they will make the effort and take out the time to create their own design using this online design tool. And thirdly, will they be able to optimize the use of the software? Its usage will deliver financial results if and only if your customers will like using it or want to be in charge of the printed designs on their products.
So, try and get into the minds of your customers. Ask for feedback from your existing customers. Check whether they would love to use web-to-print software. If the feedback is positive, there is no harm in choosing the software. But what if you get an iffy feedback from your existing customers? In that case, you will have to be very confident about your ability to convince customers that using the web-to-print software on your site is a really good idea.
4. Think about what could go wrong
Before choosing any product or service especially something that is going to impact your business, you must conduct a thorough risk assessment. Go to the site of any company selling such software products, and you will see glowing reviews about the web-to-print software that the company is selling. Now, there is no doubt that the product might be good, but what you should be more interested in knowing is how and why businesses fail to get the benefits of such products? Which are the mistakes they have made while using this product and why their customers weren’t keen on using this product? By knowing about the mistakes they made, you can take steps to try and avoid these mistakes.
There is no doubt that web-to-print systems are a good idea for most businesses, but there will be businesses that haven’t been able to experience its benefits because of certain mistakes they have made. The idea is to learn from their mistakes and not make the same mistakes. So search for businesses who have shared their experiences of not benefiting from the use of such products. The internet is a huge resource for such information. All you need to do is search for it.
5. Do you have the patience to wait for the results
The use of this software does call for some investments to be made, and if you use it right, it will deliver high returns on investment. But, such returns might not be immediate. It’s important to note that web-to-print solutions are only just becoming popular and not all your target audience will be excited about using such software. Some customers might not have the time to use it, others might not be very confident about their designing skills, and there will still be others who want to stick to what they were doing earlier while ordering printed products. This is a concept that will still take time to catch on amongst users; but catch on, it will. You will just have to wait for some time. The idea is to be prepared for change. You can’t wait till your target audience is attuned to the idea of using this software. If you wait too long, your competitors might run away with your customers. As we mentioned earlier, the revolution is already happening, but there will still be some time before the revolution becomes the norm. So, do you have what it takes to wait!
6. Choosing the right software is crucial
There are plenty of companies who are coming up with web-to-print software. So, you have a wide variety of options to choose form. This can create a lot of problems as you will be under pressure to choose the right software for your needs and requirements. If you don’t know which web-to-print solution is the best fit for your business, make a list of features you believe accommodate your needs, find the software that supports them and try out their demo versions or subscribe for their free trial offer. Judge the merits of the software based on its features, its usability and its admin controls. Both you and its end users must be able to optimize the use of the software. It must have a minimal learning curve so that everybody can use it with relative ease.
AN ONLINE PRINTING SOLUTION IS JUST THE BEGINNING
Don’t think of web-to-print software as the end of your attempts to provide personalized solutions to your clients. This is just the start of a long journey that will see your printing business continue offering clients a range of services that will go a long way in improving customer connect and loyalty. Remember, it’s a buyer’s market out there and your target customers have the option of choosing from a huge list of printing services providers. So, you will need to keep differentiating your offerings from theirs. This is why you will need to keep making use of the latest technology to improve your services. Web-to-print software is just one of these technologies.
We are sure, that after you have considered all the above mentioned pointers, you will decide that a web-to-print system is definitely a good idea for your business. The whole idea behind this article is to make sure you make an informed decision while opting for such software. You don’t want to make the wrong decisions purely because you didn’t make the necessary effort to get the right information. So make sure you know everything there is to know about web-to-print software, the kind of software available on the market, their popularity amongst target customers and only then go on to decide whether you really need it or not.