As per an independent research, the global commercial printing industry generates about $825 billion annual revenue and is forecast to experience annual growth of 2% through 2020. The drivers behind the growth are raising demand in emerging economies, packaging printing, digital printing and 3D printing revolution and value-added services such as variable data printing. With all these statistics, the one thing which comes out clear is the evolution of printing industry year by year.
Still, printing is considered as one of the most unorganized sector because of lack of adaptability to changing consumer behaviour and tedious pre-press processes. However, with so much of technologies around, new age printing is now revolutionizing and web2print is one of the flag bearers in technology advancement of printing industry.
Printers are however sceptical about adopting web to print implementation because of two main challenges – Understanding Technology and Required Investment. We will try to address each of these challenges in the article.
Most of the printers consider web2print just like extended version of eCommerce, but there’s a lot more to it. A full grown web-to-print solution does not only offer you an online website but automates your critical pre-press processes like artwork approvals, job sheet management, production workflow handling as well as drop-shipment. It also offers print MIS for quotations, waste management and efficient utilization of your printing equipments.
Instead of investing in such valuable software which can provide them with ‘n’ number of benefits, printers always keep investment on upgrading their printing equipment, machineries and tangible infrastructure at top priorities.
With infrastructure investment, printers are just improving their product quality or product portfolio, but with a business solution like web to print they can add a new channel of customer acquisition and client servicing with added benefits of reducing prepress cost and increasing staff efficiency. Savings are earnings in disguise.
While tangible infrastructure investments get depreciated every year, the web to print technology is an operational expense and its worth grows with time as more and more customers will adopt this channel of placing orders thus increasing customer lifetime value for business. Also, with efficient MIS, you can control cost aspects of your production plan and save money that can be further invested elsewhere.
Thus, printers need to evaluate actual costs versus ROI before making investment decisions. Some of the benefits which come along with web to print implementation are –
- Global online channel of customer acquisition
- Centralized platform for client servicing and retention
- Centralized administration of jobs and orders
- Efficient waste and equipment management
- 24*7 availability with online quotes and payment options
- Gives you organized way of doing business
- Introduce extra value added services like DMMS, VDP etc.
Most of the printers refrain from adopting web-to-print for their business, considering their lack of technology exposure as a hindrance. Some of their challenges are:
- Finding a reliable web-to-print software vendor
- Finding suitable solution as per their business needs
- Choosing between hosted vs. licensed solution
- Skills of in-house staff for implementation and adoption
- Attracting customers to adopt online channel of doing business
Also, lots of failure stories of web-to-print implementation aggravate their doubts about its success. However, one must consider that success or failure of any endeavour depends upon one who implements it and not on the solution or vendor.
Web2print technology not only simplifies life of printers but of their customers as well. So what is important is, to first define an internal plan for adopting web to print with at least one stakeholder who is ready to dedicate his efforts for implementing web-to-print. Once the person is appointed, next comes looking for a right technology provider with a right-fit web-to-print solution.
To simplify process of zeroing on the right solution for your business, one must gather as much as about the solution provider as needed to support the decision making. Both, too less or too much information may lead to unfavourable consequences. For more details on this topic, checkout our webinar on preparing yourself for adopting web to print solution – How to prepare yourself for adopting web-to-print for your business?
Here are some key consideration one should follow while choosing a right technology partner to implement web2print software for their printing business:
- First put down your basic requirements like products you would like to offer online, workflows to automate and your output file requirements for online orders.
- If you already have in-house IT team, check if they will have technology preference for selecting right solution.
- If you already have a technology stack (a collection of software you are using) check if the new solution can integrate with your existing applications, so that you do not need to manage several disintegrated applications.
- Once your requirements are laid down, do a Google search for providers offering matching web-to-print solution. Always explore at least 2 competitive solutions to compare.
- Always check live demo or trial version before making a choice based their product specifications.
- Always ask for references and check their customer feedback. No one is more reliable to get a feedback than a customer who is already using their solution or services.
- Before signing off the purchase, ask for clear pricing proposal and list of included features and services.
- Focus on training your internal staff or key people who are going to be responsible for its successful implementation.
There will always be excuses not to adopt a particular technology or solution for your business. Also, deciding the right time when user business needs to be upgraded is not easy. Making software implementation decisions are tougher than the infrastructure investments as one cannot do direct cost benefit analysis. This is also driven by fact that you get a feeling of possession while buying something tangible while technology investments are intangible. The returns of technology investments are also not immediate and need consistent efforts for adoption by internal team and customers. However, one must realize that human race has evolved from ages at all levels riding on the back of technology. Hence look for the right moment to take your business to next level with power of technology and automation and be prepared for the change.