The global eCommerce sales is growing exponentially, driven by strong customer demand and printing industry is no exception. There are now many successful online printing enterprises for whom online revenueues have surpassed their offline sales. Despite this, many printing e-commerce businesses find it challenging to manage increased order volumes, ensure consistent quality of deliverables, deliver superior customer service and execute reverse logistics including aftermarket customer service and order fulfilment, specially during peak times.
The answer to these problems is print outsourcing, with it printing companies can expand their reach to expensive printing machines and advanced printing technologies with domain expertise while reducing risks. With print outsourcing, you can tie-up with multiple speciality printers with set quality standarads and customer service thus expanding your product portfolio and oferring your customers a one stop solution to all their printing needs. Now, when print outsourcing is implemented with a web2print technology , it on a whole, enables the print service providers to customize their services and communication exactly the way their customer wants, leading to stronger brands and customer loyalty. Though they are outsouring orders at the back-office, they can offer single point of contact to their customers with centralized order management system.
Out of the many reasons to consider for print outsourcing, few of convincing ones are to reduce the total cost of printing and delivery, leveraging emerging printing technologies that may not exist within your production facility, and ability to focus on core competency and leveraging vendor network to offer a wide-range of printing products at affordable costs.
What can be outsourced by using Web-to-Print?
Printers have known the advantages of outsourcing for years. Also print brokers and sales agents are in market since long time and they just do print outsourcing by taking print jobs from market and give it to printing houses thus making hefty commissions on the way. Generally, there are two broad types of strategies that lend themselves particularly well to outsourcing. One strategy is to expand a print shop’s capabilities by outsourcing print jobs that can’t be done in-house and other one is to outsourcing tasks that are critical to your operations, and not a vital component of your strategy.
Say, that your company manufactures customized t-shirts. While you need to deliver finished products to your customers, how you choose to do so is unlikely to impact the people who ultimately buy your t-shirts. Given that there is little strategic advantage to shipping the product yourself, this might be a task that you outsource. If you can ensure that your deliveries will be cost-effective and timely – thus avoiding unnecessary extra delivery and storage fees – outsourcing may be able to help you more efficiently complete this task.
The second strategy for outsourcing has changed dramatically with the industry that is outsourcing the printing jobs. Many print veterans, especially in the metro areas, will remember regular operational items such as products to be personalized, printing plates, and color separations items for routine outsourcing. Other ‘printers’ are brokers who outsource everything except answering the phone.
With using web-to-print technology there are following areas of your operation that can be outsourced which you might not have thought of while going the traditional way and they are:
Pre-Press and Finishing Operations
Outsourcing prepress as well as finishing operations is the best-available way to reduce your print run costs. You can improve efficiency across your print enterprise, and thereby help increase your profit, with the help of a prepress and print production team.
There are companies that provide highly skilled print production staff who are experienced in prepress and post press operations. Their print production team is qualified and experienced to do variety of back-office support for commercial printers. Those skilled print professionals can handle printing process efficiently to meet the deadlines of today’s times.
With a centralized web-to-print system, you can assign role based access for print jobs to these people and thus keeping all communication and order progress centralized within core system. At any point of time, you can check current status of all orders without needing to communicate externally.
Designs, Artwork Approval and Proofing
There are graphics artists or designers that can create professionally designed editable artwork templates that you can offer to your customers on your web to print store for personalization. Not only designs but there are pople that provide layout and designing services to printing companies on request too. A good layout can change the beauty of any design, be it single fold leaflet or a multi pages corporate brochure, the layout is vital. With a web-to-print solution, you can register all your graphics artists and designers and allow them to publish their designs on your website. You can in-turn offer them commission if their designs sells. This way you can make the optimum use of the resource and skills to serve you for your creative needs.
As a well created artwork guarantees the printing quality. Artwork creation is something which needs creativity with utmost perfection. There are many designers and even companies that perform all types of prepress artwork corrections utilizing new technology and advanced correction software such as artwork size issues, bleed problems, overprint mistakes, missing font errors, processing colour issues, resolution problems. They even take full responsibility of communicating with the customers, if required, and to pass the job for printing. Outsourcing the artwork correction jobs not only saves the print service provider from the extensive work but also allows the customer to seek the best fit design.
On the other hand, you can integrate any artwork proofing software at back-office of your web to print application for auto proofing and correction of the artwork files available with orders. This way you can eliminate any need for manual artwork corrections and can ensure that your artwork file approves to printing profile required by your production machinery. This can help you immensely in reducing re-print jobs as well as printing wastes.
You can even outsource your customer support activities. Many companies now a days provide full customer support for your clients from uploading or creating artwork, assisiting them to place their orders online, as well as in making payments. As a back-office for press, with an integrated online help-desk system they also take care of customer queries and issues. With centralized system they can escalate order issues and customer queries to your print production staff and get them resolved. They work as a bridge for your clients and you can afford to have a 365x24x7 online support without investing in staff or infrastructure by outsourcing your customer support.
Sales and Marketing
You can even outsource your sales to a trusted source for selling printing products with affordable sales commissions. With a mature web to print solution, you can allow your print resellers to open a store at your web to print marketplace and earn by selling the customised products on your behalf, where you on the other hand can focus on your core competencies.
Also, apart from the sales, with technology, knowledge and experience, many digital marketing agencies these days can execute the perfect online print marketing strategy for your press. They can derive unmatched website visitors for you with the help of paid online campaigns, SEO, e-mail marketing and social media for your printing press when competition is tough and hence you need not bother about the other aspects of the print business.
Whether you are a beginner or well-established printer in the print eCommerce business, shipping and fulfilment is the first thing needed to make sure that your business is growing. Making sales is the prime concern of any business but what about the order fulfilment. It can be very challenging to do it all on your own as it requires a lot of skills, investment, infrastructure and time.
There are companies having great business ideas but they do not want to handle the order fulfilment as not having enough expertise in printing or want to free themselves from the printing, packing & shipping troubles. Such companies look a solution where they can focus on customer acquisition and business growth while a third party fulfilment agency can take care of this hassle for them.
Companies like Cimpress, SunSky and SanMar are known for their quality of their services and having the capability & scale to produce large volume of customized products as well as serve small quantities. They have already collaborated with well-established print service providers and have made the fulfilment process easy and hassle-free. The best part is all of such fulfilment agencies offer their APIs which you can integrate with your web to print and eCommerce systems, thus offering their full catalog to your customers without any manual intervention. The orders received are automatically forwarded to their FTP sites by the system for further processing and delivery.
Print outsourcing or collaboratiove printing is the next wave of growth for diving printing industry. Reducing operations costs, enhance quality of deliverables and excellent user experience are need of the day to grow your printing business. And if outsourcing is done with the help of a centralized web to print business solution, it eliminates human errors and can help you in making informed decisions with centralized acces to all information, to take your printing business to next level.