Before talking about whether customers are using mobile for printing, let’s have a look at the growth and adoption of mobile usage statistics. As mobile and internet penetration increased, customers’ advocacy towards mobile usage for different reasons increased in direct proportion. Here are some statistics showing the same –
- 83% of mobile users say that a seamless experience across all devices is very important.
- 88% of consumers who search for a type of local business on a mobile device call, visit the website or go to that business within 24 hours.
- 83% of B2B marketers said mobile apps were important to content marketing.
- 40% Of Mobile Searches Have Local Intent.
- Mobile Offers are Redeemed 10x More Frequently Than Print Offers.
- Tablet devices account for the highest add-to-cart rates on e-commerce websites at 8.58%.
- Apps account for 89% of mobile media time, with the other 11% spent on websites.
Stats Source: https://www.impactbnd.com/blog/mobile-marketing-statistics-for-2016
With all these statistics, it is clear, mobile holds an important place for customer journey but is mobile to print is also witnessing the same growth path?
A research indicated that 83% of organizations are interested in deploying mobile printing capabilities for their organization but only 14% have deployed a mobile print solution. The reason behind the lower adoption in mobile printing solutions is lack of understanding its potential and difficulty to find a solution meeting the business requirements.
However, as compared to retail mCommerce, there are some extra challenges involved in adoption of mobile commerce by print vendors as well as their customers. As for printing orders, customers do not have an off-the-shelf product to just add to cart and buy. One has to either upload their artwork or design it in place to order it for printing. And this challenge is addressed by web to print solution that allows customers to design their artwork, send it for approval and then order it for printing all from a centralized customer panel. This reduces time in back and forth process of communication for artwork approval and gathering design assets in required resolution for printing. However, because of limited screen area in mobile devices, it becomes a challenge to offer a full matured design studio component to prepare professional designs. One is required to offer a limited edit design feature within a mobile application to let customers choose a design template and customize it with personal information.
The second challenge is the size and type of artwork files as generally high resolution vector files are used for printing purposes. However in mobile devices, limited supported file types , storage capacity, screen resolution, varying screen size pose certain restriction to offer full feature mobile to print solution. Moreover, mobile to print apps will hold less importance in comparison to social messaging apps, online shopping apps and travel booking apps and hence people will tend to visit the website and order their prints rather than storing the app in their devices. So customer adoption and download is a big challenge too.
Winning the Mobile Game for Print
Despite challenges, we have started seeing the bright prospects of adoption of mobile app by print service providers and customers. Mobile can be termed as one of the technology affecting every business or digital landscape. Printing is nowhere different. So, it’s a right decision to look for a move to mobile-to-print and it can offer early mover advantage for printers who have already adopted it or are on path to adopt it. Now, there are certain parameters that have to be taken care of while you are offering mobile to print features to your customers:
1. Asses your business growth
In present times mobile to print can’t replace web to print completely. Asses if your internal team has successfully implemented your web to print solution and are ready to go learn and implement mobile to print for your business. Also assess what percentage of your investment have you recovered from your web to print software and if customer adoption is in place, or you are still educating your customers to adopt web to print for placing their orders. If your customers are still facing challenges in adoption of basic web to print, adding one more channel will lead to more confusion.
If they have adopted it very well, then interview or survey a set of customers whether they are looking for more personalized services from you in form of mobile app. If survey results are encouraging, it’s the time you prepare yourself for the moving your business to mobile app.
2. Market and Customer Segmentation
Segmentation of your target markets and customers can actually give you an idea about their expectations. Also study your competitors and specially those who have adopted mobile to print. From your analysis, prepare your initial pitch while launching mobile to print app for targeted customers. Note that with power of mobile app, you can send push notifications, app only offers and discounts as well as exclusive product catalogue for mobile users initially to boost its adoption.
3. Mobile to Print Solution Vendor and Technology
Most of the web to print vendors claims that they can provide mobile to print solution as well. But asses their technical capabilities with respect to offering cutting edge mobile applications as well as feedback from their existing customers. You can also visit mobile website or download apps of their customers to verify the quality of solution they provide and whether they would be able to meet your business requirements with mobile technology at its best. Go for vendor who has past experience in implementing web to print and have a good clientele. Also, as mobile implementation comes with a challenge of deciding between mobile web vs. native app development vs. hybrid app development, get proper consultancy to choose the right technology path to avoid issues with upgrades and maintenance of apps.
4. Be ready for challenges
Though mobile to print is sure to open new channel of customer acquisition and retention for your business, be prepared for challenges it will pose to your production team. Some of them could be dealing with low resolution images from mobile, incorrect font sizes, spelling mistakes etc. while other side can be upgrading your apps constantly with changing devices and mobile OS upgrades if you go mobile app route. Think if mobile web app can be answer to some of these challenges and invest wisely.
Though it’s early to predict or assure that mobile to print will get encouraging response from print service providers and customers, but one must consider the exponential growth in mobile eCommerce transactions in recent times. First movers can take advantage of this technology but they have to sense the waters before investing time, money and efforts on it. In my view, complimenting your web-to-print solution with mobile to print can offer an omni-channel presence to your business, thus enabling your customers to order prints from anywhere anytime.
Please share about your thoughts on mobile to print as advanced version of web to print via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org