Blog / Is Web-to-Print adoptable for large format printers to grow their business online?

Nidhi Agarwal 677 Views

The answer is YES. We, at Design’N’Buy has helped prominent large format printers to not only implement web-to-print but scale up their printing business with the help of fully automated print workflows.

Large format printing is one of the most vibrant markets in the digital print industry. There is still a high rate of technological development in this segment of the print industry. New applications are unfolding as new substrates, inks and marking technologies continue to be developed, leading to new opportunities such as packaging, interior decor, soft signage and garment or fabric printing and a wide range of customers in addition to the established signage and display graphics markets.

As in other parts of the printing industry, large format printing work is also seeing a significant increase in the number of jobs handled every day, while individual job runs are becoming shorter day by day. This is partly because of the ongoing trend towards increased customisation and more tightly targeted print runs and also because of the increasing speed of LFP devices. This means that the print time decreases as a proportion of the total time that a job takes, while the job set-up and pre-flighting, finishing, shipping and installation are assumed to be of greater importance in determining the job’s costs. Automation of manual processes and optimisation of job management decisions therefore have an increasing impact on productivity and profitability for these printers.

Major wide format printer’s managing B2B & B2C face challenges in last minute ordering & need quick turnaround to handle jobs with small personalized orders, pricing pressure and managing shipping. Everyone needs different designs and convenience of online ordering anytime from anywhere using any device. Also, customers want to see how it will look before printing. If given an opportunity, they would also like to upload their own high resolutions images or mix and match with different images before it goes for printing.

The answer to increasing expectations for both printer and customers is implementing a web-to-print solution so that customers can place orders online and in-turn printers get print-ready files to process orders. The expectations are many, but it also brings technical hurdles. As wide-format printing or large format printing, the digital file size becomes heavy, it becomes difficult to view the actual size on monitor screen, phone or on tablet. If the system is not powerful, it becomes challenging to offer such large-format design template to the customers for editing and hence, this is where you need a web to print software specially designed for wide format online printing which provides the ease not only to the printers but also to their customers.

Looking to the challenges faced by the large format printers, Design’N’Buy scaled up its flagship ALL-IN-ONE DESIGNER solution which can be affordable to a sufficiently large number of PSP which apart from simplifying orders for customers, the customers can easily create customized prints based on their own high-resolution graphics using PSP format templates and preview it in real-time, thus eliminating some of the traditional prepress and proofing steps. Here I have includes website references of some of our customers offering wide format printing services online.

Highlights of the solution include a variety of features and some of significant ones are:

Multi-store Setup with Centralized Administration

Ability to create multiple shops under centralized back-end administration, where you can configure different products and prices for specific customers or target markets with various product categorization features and unlimited numbers of categories and sub-categories supported.

Readymade Templates with Custom Height & Width

The solution in the course of time has empowered PSPs to offer ready to order standard products as well as customized products with editable templates that can be personalized by customers in their specific custom height and width & also quickly order them. Also, offer ready to use template with variable data printing.

Quotation Workflow

Another distinguish feature is quotation module where you can allow your customers to place quote requests for individual items or group of items with direct upload artwork as well as personalized design, the complete workflow allows admin to convert a quotation to order in simple click once quotation is approved by customer, thus saving time and effort of both sides.

Offer Products in any Shape and Sizes

Another concern for the large format printers is demand for products in any shape and sizes. With our solution, admin can create irregular shape templates for the customers with mask and overlay. We made all of this possible with our solution and it even generates full RGB and CMYK print ready and layered vector output files. So the artwork may now be in any background, color and image.

Options based Pricing

One factor that differs from commercial printing is that for the wide format printers, the price of the product may depend on various factors e.g. quantity ordered, artwork size, paper, proof selection and now along with all this you can also calculate live pricing based on other custom options like material, size, finish, printing method (1-color, 2-color, 4-color etc.), size of artwork, number of printable sides and any other custom options such as (Margins, Rounded Corners, Paper Type, Finish) etc.

Complete Support for B2B Customers

Also, across the print industry, there are many B2B clients are looking for print service providers who can manage branded templates & simplify complex ordering process along with their unique needs. This is where, Design’N’Buy offered their clients a flexibility to offer customized branded corporate storefronts in order to manage specific order flow, approval rules, order injection, third party integrations and multiple shipping and payment options. The user can even save their designs in the user account for further editing as well as re-ordering and can even share the design they created on social media if they wish to.

Inherent Artwork Approval Workflow

With large format printing the chances of an error in the image increases adversely. But with the artwork approval workflow, customers can easily place their notes while ordering for production. Whereas, the admin can check notes, do artwork corrections and upload soft-proof for approval. Now, the customer can download and view proof files, check history of comments and changes and finally approve proof or make new comments if required. In case, the customers decide to directly upload the ready artwork file the format of the files can be pre-decided and even the quality of the artwork or any image uploaded is checked in order to prevent a drop in the image quality as images designed for the web typically cannot be used for printing as they have a low screen resolution.

Color Management

Another major issue that the large format printers face is that of color management as the number of colors may vary from product to product and hence need limited color options. This worry was also taken care of as now the printers with our solutions can manage different color palettes and offer limited color options based on the product material they offer for printing e.g. vinyl, canvas, fabric or flags. One can even configure their own library of fonts and clipart to let their customers use standard icons to create their products.

Shipping and fulfilment is a major challenge and especially when you deal with your large format customer’s needs and keeping this in mind our solutions comes with various on demand third-party integrations including fulfilment partners such as Cimpress, Sanmar, 4over, etc. The large format printers can automatically outsource jobs to external drop-ship vendors and handle order fulfilment with little effort and without manual intervention. For each vendor one can easily configure hot folder or external FTP site to push order details and print ready files.

Print Workflow Management

We have been providing robust print workflows that can automate the print order and production management once order is placed. The large format printers can never lose track of job status and get notifications at each step until order completion. They can create various workflow users based on production stages or different departments with access to only those orders which they need to work on and process further. Not only the production team can see the status of any job, but even customers can track the status over the web with right information access.

ERP and System Integration

Another very strong feature that our customers have used is its capability to be integrated with their existing ERP systems like Odoo, NetSuite etc. along with other desperate applications like accounting software QuickBooks or fulfilment partner APIs like SanMar, 4Over or PromoStandards etc. This helps large format printers to keep their earlier investments done in other 3rd party applications and implement a web-to-print without need for re-investment or training to their staff, thus reducing the overall cost and timeline of implementing web-to-print.

Ideally, wide format printers or any print service provider for a matter of fact should go for a custom developed solution where they can easily communicate how the workflow should be designed as per their convenience. As for any print service provider the custom graphic template design should be possible within the solution and that too requiring no design expertise. Hence, it is important to try the solution out, as the software interface should be both feature-rich and simple to use.

Keeping all these aspects in mind, the team at Design’N’Buy has lately helped many large format printers to enable their print business online and needless to say at Design’N’Buy, we are capable of handling all kinds of web-to-print requirements for anyone in the print industry who is willing to take their print business online. To know more about our solution for the wide format printers and the possibilities of having it integrated with your existing store or a new web-to-print solution, please connect with us at inquiry@designnbuy.com. Until then, we’ll keep exploring new ways to offer easy, adoptable and expandable business solutions for anyone and everyone in the print industry.


CEO and Co-founder at Design'n'Buy.

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