WEB TO PRINT : The Definitive Guide Part 1 : What Is Web-to-Print, How Does It Work and Why Should I Care?

Web to print guide

With more than 20 years of combined experience in the printing industry, we realized we should write a step-by-step guide for our customers and printers from all verticals of the domain with one aim – to help them fully understand what web-to-print means for their business and how they can implement it successfully.

It took us many months of numerous discussions, copywriting, and editing to come up with this series of blog where we will share most important insights you can find.

The worldwide expansion of the internet has contributed massively to the growth of ecommerce as a retail platform for many goods and services across the globe. 

The rise in sales is inevitable, given that consumers can shop 24/7, have access to more commodities and suppliers, and can choose from the cheapest of deals, besides enjoying the convenience of not going to brick-and-mortar shops anymore.

Furthermore, the internet has boosted the demand for next day and same-day delivery services, and consumers are now increasingly using mobile channels and voice-activated smart speakers to make purchases.

online purchase

So far, 40 percent of worldwide internet users have made at least one purchase online, and forecasters expect over two billion online shoppers by 2020, reports Statista.

Therefore, it isn’t surprising to see all kinds of printed products being specified and ordered through the web-to-print (W2P) technology.

Today, a simple search enables consumers to browse through hundreds of web-to-print websites – each of them offering great service and value. Not just that, they can choose print-ready items from unbranded suppliers at the lowest price.

The user experience of web-to-print technology can’t be ignored, given how it builds an environment of conveniences for all consumers. But before we delve into that, let us get down to the basics.

Listen to a podcast interview explaining the One to One Discussion with Web-to-Print Expert on “Print Business Amid Covid19”

What is Web-To-Print & How Web-to-Print Works?

what is web to print

Web to print solutions is a service to offer printing products and services online through ecommerce storefront.

Orders are placed on a website or portal, choosing from a catalog of products and then uploading the artwork files or creating the artwork using the online design tool app available within the website. 

Typically, these systems then provide live estimates, accept payment, receive orders, and produce print-ready artworks (verified through an automated production workflow with pre-flight) as part of the process.

From commercial printing to photo books, customized apparels, promotional as well as gift items, and more – a variety of products can be designed or customized and printed on demand with the help of this technology, which is also known as ‘remote publishing’ or ‘print commerce’.

Web-to-print enables online printing companies to maximize their efficiencies by automating the production of printing materials and enabling live quotations and faster order fulfillment – thereby building stronger customer relations.

Web-To-Print at a Glance

Today, the global web-to-print market is valued at $24 billion of print sales and is predicted to grow at an average of 5.1 percent CAGR to $30.5 billion by 2023. North America, specifically, is slated to become a $20 billion market for web-to-print technology by the same year. (Association for Print Technologies)

web to print trends

Almost 57 percent of online printers attribute to this ecommerce software their increased sales and subsequent profitability. [NAPL]

Naturally, web-to-print technology has opened doors to well-designed and high-quality print items for individuals and small businesses with little to no design skills, and has brought them closer to printing companies that can deliver the final products, on demand and digitally.

Benefits of Implementing Web-to-Print for Customers

Benefits of Implementing Web-to-Print for Customers

The increased adoption of internet and technology by consumers has enticed online printers to leverage the full potential of web-to-print technology to increase their revenues.

In this section, we will discuss the benefits it provides to end customers:

A. Convenience

Ecommerce printing stores provide potential customers access to an online catalog of products as well as the ability to place orders from the convenience of their homes.

Whether it is a professional business card or an invitation or booklet, a web-to-print storefront enables even a non-designer to customize any ready-to-use template, choose the type of paper, and place an order conveniently – all on a single website.

B. Self-service portal for placing orders

online shopping

In traditional print ordering, if a consumer has a ready design then he has to supply the artwork file to the printer in person or via email.

In case he does not have any design, he can choose a design from a set of options offered by the printer or ask the graphics designer to create it as per color and other preferences. They then have to wait for the printer to give a quotation after which they place an order.

But, with web-to-print technology, they can now skip many of these steps, save money and time, while also creating a design of their liking instantly without any external help.

Consumers can either choose from a set of predesigned templates and personalize it or upload their own design and preview and proofread the final design before placing an order.

Since the web-to-print store acts as a self-service portal, consumers can place orders anywhere and anytime, thereby eliminating the need to go to a physical print store.

C. Live pricing feature

Choose any web-to-print software, and it will provide an instant quotation feature that enables consumers to choose details of their order – such as quantity to print, material type, and size of the artwork – to find out how much the printing job will cost. Real-time quotations saves time for both customers and print service providers.

D. Seamless payments

payment getways

Did you know that 63 percent of customers exit an app or a website if they find hidden costs or are unable to make payments the way they wanted to? (PayPal)

The good news is that the web-to-print storefront provides consumers with a seamless and hassle-free buying experience.

Simply put, you can keep a tab on a customer’s browsing history, including if they get stuck in the purchase cycle or simply abandon the shopping cart.

Not only can the concerned team get in touch with such customers and help them complete the process, but they can also offer them multiple options for making payments, which could include cash-on-delivery (COD), debit/credit cards, net banking, PayPal, and more.

E. Push notifications

mobile push notification

Push notifications have an opening rate of 90 percent, which means if a web-to-print software has this feature, potential customers can receive constant updates about the status of their orders, shipping details, and delivery dates.

In addition, printers can publish notifications for new product launches, offers, and promotions for ensuring consistent engagement with the consumers.

F. Brand consistency

Brand identity is a pivotal contributor to the success of any business. And one of the ways to create one is through print marketing materials such as logos, business cards, product brochures, eBooks, and so on. Maintaining consistency and uniformity in colors and fonts of different print materials concerning a consumer’s brand becomes more straightforward with the use of a web-to-print software solution.

Any consumer can prepare a set of editable templates with consistent brand elements, which can be customized every time there is a need, thereby ensuring brand consistency and high-quality prints.

Exercise 1: Take a survey amongst your employees and ask them to list down potential benefits that Web-to-Print Technology can offer to your end-customers.

Benefits of Implementing Web-to-Print for Print Service Providers

Benefits of Implementing Web-to-Print for Print Service Providers

It is clear that this technology is a beacon of convenience for customers. But how does it impact online printers? Let us take a look:

A. Reduced pre-production timelines and cost

cost cutting

Traditional print workflow, irrespective of the amount of work (250 business cards or 10,000 flyers), is time-consuming. On the other hand, web-to-print technology enables a much tighter process both in terms of cost and timeline.

The ‘price talk’ gets eliminated, and the ordering process becomes faster and shorter, thus leading to more sales and more profits.

Besides, the web-to-print software saves you from spending on hiring a designer, because even those having no design skills can customize ready-to-print templates easily and place orders.

Besides, many features such as ‘placing a request for a quote’, online artwork proofing, order notifications, and easy reordering help eliminate manual intervention and customer interaction, thus reducing timeline and workforce needs. As a result, printers can invest their resources in growing sales and processing more orders per hour.

B. Eliminated artwork errors and print waste

Since the web-to-print storefront allows consumers to upload their artwork, it strips away the traditional approval process, which includes coordination among multiple teams in the printing company – a process that takes time to complete.

With web-to-print, even if the consumers create new artworks from scratch or by using pre-designed templates, the ball is still in their court. Meaning, it is up to them to view the online design proofs and give the go ahead. Any mistakes in the design are caught early, and that reduces faulty printing.

Additionally, integration with applications such as pre-flight and RIP auto-detects and notifies if the artwork does not comply with the set printing standards. So, the chances are slim for processing any faulty design.

Because everything is predetermined when it comes to web-to-print software – approved artwork, print materials, colors, fonts, and finishing options – there is minimal scope for rejects or print wastage, which is a massive win for online printers.

As a result, the whole process gets shorter for both the parties involved – all thanks to web-to-print technology. The job gets reviewed, printed, and delivered faster!

Learn Also: How Design’N’Buy Helps Print Companies to Grow Sales: Tips For Large-Format Printer

C. High volume online print orders

Gone are those days when sales representatives would go from one office to another, taking print orders. Back then, the sales were also limited by geography. But not anymore. The internet has shrunk the world. Today, the sky is the limit quite literally!

The sales team can accept orders online or create it on behalf of their customers. Also, consumers can place their orders via desktop or smartphones at any time of the day – thanks to web-to-print technology.

Such storefronts allow printing companies like yours to process a higher print volume quickly because the orders get queued up for production through an automated system that gets completed in a short period for prompt deliveries.

This technology quickly eliminates the lengthy conversations that take place during order confirmation – finalizing quotations, artwork approval, and updating the delivery status. Web-to-print makes the process of taking orders not only smart and efficient but also profitable.

D. Increased brand visibility by leveraging SEO

SEO digital marketing

Whenever you set up your web-to-print storefront, it can be personalized as per your brand guidelines. Complete with a beautiful website theme, an intuitive user interface (UI), and user experience (UX), it will also comprise built-in controls for maximizing your content for SEO.

You can not only customize the page titles and enter metadata but also create keyword-rich product page URLs and use powerful URL redirects to help prevent loss of page rank. With measured digital marketing, you can get targeted visitors on your website and turn them into customers by offering them your unique services.

Learn Also: How To Give Your Printing Business A Competitive Advantage

E. Boosted customer loyalty

There is no doubt that web-to-print technology handles multiple orders simultaneously without breaking a sweat as compared to traditional offset printing, which can only take the load of one customer at a time.

Also, by helping your customers to configure their digital assets on your website for the first time, you ensure that they will become your repeat customers and keep ordering.

With the software, you can not only churn out orders faster but also know exactly what your customer wants and when. For instance, you can strengthen a customer’s marketing supply chain by printing brochures for a high-in-demand product swiftly in emergencies.

This would not only increase your loyal customer base but also ensure a steady flow of revenues.

Exercise 2: Take a survey amongst your employees and ask them to list down potential benefits that Web-to-Print technology can offer to your printing company.

What's ahead?

In this blog we learned what Web-to-Print is. In simple words Web-to-Print is everything you need to sell print service online. In order to succeed knowing just what web-to-print is not enough. We will bring to you the A to Z process on how to implement Web to Print to your workflow along with various checklist and activities to help you take step in right direction. 

Subscribe to our LinkedIn page to stay tuned with the next part of this series of blog. Consult our web to print specialist at inquiry@designnbuy.com

This blog is part of a series.

Read others: Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 |

Originally published on Aug 11, 2021 & Updated on Oct 6 ,2021