Online Printing In 2021: 4 Top Suggestions By Experts at PRINTING United 2020

PRINTING United, a leading expo of printing technologies, is held in Atlanta, Georgia, annually. However, this year, the event did not happen due to the COVID-19 pandemic and is now scheduled to happen virtually, starting from January 31st, 2021.

The year 2020 was a challenging year. The world succumbed to multiple waves of the Coronavirus. Everyone started working remotely. Many business growth plans were trashed. Many new disrupting ideas were conceived. We survived and thrived.

We are now on the brink of entering the New Year with various vaccines in the picture. Adding to that chain of thought, it is clear the pandemic has not stopped the industry experts from weighing in where the print industry stands at the height of disruption.

Online printers have had to pivot and keep up with customers’ and suppliers’ demands and beat the competition. This year has tested how businesses handle recovery and define their reputation for many years to come.

So, what do the experts at PRINTING United have to say about the future of online printers? Let us have a look:

1. Ecommerce, thanks to web-to-print solutions, will be bigger than ever.

If printing companies are not prepared to compete in the eCommerce space, they will have a hard time growing. Research shows that 70% of online printers witnessed a steep decline in print volumes since the Coronavirus pandemic.

The scenario was even worse for the office print industry in the first week of April—at the beginning of the lockdown—as reported by 69% of survey respondents. However, the pandemic has also presented them with an opportunity to use more web-to-print solutions.

For online printers, three things have become clear:

  1. The advantage of accessing information remotely
  2. The need to reduce operational costs
  3. The importance of a digital presence

With a web-to-print solution, online printers can make their offerings available on custom W2P storefronts. From taking orders online at any time of the day and enabling consumers to personalize ready-to-print templates—web-to-print solutions have made it possible to make money 24/7.

Moreover, customers can choose from a massive catalog of products online through the web-to-print solution, decide on a budget using the instant quotation facility, personalize items using the online designer studio available at the store, and place orders with ease.

2. Automating print workflow management has become necessary.

According to a study, 80% of print service providers in the UK, US, and Canada agree that automation in the print workflow management increases the profitability on the job. The study further reported that these businesses implemented automation to the extent of preparing for the print-press job. In fact, many online printers agree that automation does the following:

A. Lowers the number of touchpoints

This is evident in web-to-print solutions where consumers do not have to coordinate with sales teams for quotation or designers to get approvals on the artwork. They can do it all by themselves on the W2P storefront, and save time.

B. Reduces operational costs

Online printers do not have to invest money in hiring sales reps or designers to do the job. The web-to-print solution does everything for them. This saves a lot of money!

C. Eliminates errors and duplication

Due to less human intervention, fewer mistakes are made when rekeying data—whether it is regarding designing artwork at the designer studio or inputting the right contact details.

D. Rise of advisory jobs

Since whatever human resources online printers have are free from doing menial tasks, they can focus their expertise on tasks that bring more revenues to the company and spend much time building relationships with customers—thanks to print workflow management.

With web-to-print solutions, online printers can meet operational challenges and keep up with the changes in buying behaviors influenced by the pandemic and the lockdown.

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3. Investing in digital printing technologies over offset is vital.

The pandemic has invariably dented the marketing budgets of all businesses. Even though they want to market themselves, they are avoiding making any long-term and large-scale plans—keeping in mind the uncertain times.

That is one of the biggest reasons why digital printing services have taken precedence over offset printers as the former enables printing companies to turn around shorter print jobs faster, even in smaller quantities, and help businesses in need.

Financial resources are limited and marketing spends have to be undertaken with cautious optimism. Even though the average orders on signage, brochures, flyers and banners has gone down, their demand has not fully diminished.

According to the experts, the adoption of digital printers has increased in all printing segments such as t-shirts, mugs, stationery items, photo albums, greeting cards, banners, marketing materials, and so on.

Moreover, Digital-To-Garment printers are also becoming more popular as compared to traditional screen printing due to their capacity to take smaller print jobs, cost-effectively. The same way, small format and wide format printing segments (e.g. digital inkjet printers) have taken precedence and are now fulfilling the short-term requirements of end-clients.

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4. There is a need to become a one-stop-shop for all customer requirements.

Today’s customers are incredibly enterprising. They are also demanding, so online printers must increase their business offerings and provide value-added services such as marketing, web design and development, graphic design, and more.

Online printers are no strangers to transformation. They have a long history of overcoming adversities and reinvention, and today, they are adopting the new digital reality. They have moved beyond offering custom printing services to their customers and offering more to boost the retention rate.

They have to satisfy a broader range of client communication, which does not only include printing. According to Idealliance, 32% of printers expect that their future revenues would come from something other than printing, such as marketing, web services, fulfillment, database management, and so on.

For instance, adding marketing and digital media services or expanding to growth segments (e.g., signage, packaging, labels, direct mail) or markets require new skills and expertise. Many online printers offer a full range of commercial printing services apart from email marketing and mailing and related data management support.

Such businesses have witnessed an increase in the average order value and grown consistently, with a loyal customer base.

To become a one-stop-shop, every online printer must:

  1. Think strategically about their business
  2. Be ready to invest in technology that will act as a catalyst to business growth
  3. Focus on the right opportunities – short-run, on-demand, personalized print runs

Summing it up

As the economy slowly limps back to normalcy and growth, online printers are also evaluating how they will propel themselves to success, if not move forward at a glacial pace. The way consumers engage with businesses has changed, but that does not mean the demand for printing services has been wholly eliminated. The key is to think digital and disrupt the print workflow management to appeal to the customers even when they feel they do not desire it.

If you are looking to join the web-to-print bandwagon, Design’N’Buy can help! Connect with us on +1-347-647-9799 or write to us at [email protected]. Visit for more information on our brilliant web-to-print solutions.