While doing our customer database analysis recently, I was going over the case studies and client testimonials and one thing caught my attention immediately…
For all of those customers, who have been using our web to print solutions successfully for their business, there is one common aspect in their feedback or testimonial– The success of their online web to print implementation is a result of team work, and DNB worked as part of their team, analysing each business requirement and suggesting the best possible implementation strategy.
For example, Mr. Luis from UK says “I had a lot of questions and it took me a while to get my head around the system but DNB support team guided me through via Skype and made the learning a lot easier and more enjoyable.” While Mr. Toni says “The team at DNB is very proactive in asking question to understand my business, they provided suggestions/recommendations to consider and when I made the decision on the path forward, they were able to make it happen.”
While for others, who licensed our online web to print solution but could not implement it for their business, the common aspect in their feedback or testimonial was – The solution does not fit our business requirements and is complex to learn and adopt.
Above contrary feedback left me thinking, why those customers who implemented the same solution successfully did not talked about technology or solution features? Do they really fully credit our technically advanced solution for successful adoption? I think NO! Rather it’s majorly attributed to how adoption process was fully executed as team work and bringing a new perspective to business. The successful adoption of any automated solution (not only web to print) for your business depends on how well you are prepared and what ROI you have defined to measure its successful implementation.
Based on my whole analysis, I think we can divide the whole process of deploying web-to-print solution in 3 major milestones, thus assuring its success if all milestones are achieved in order. Here I explain each milestone in detail:
Planning is the key milestone where you define:
- First of all you need to define why do you need a web to print solution? Many business owners commit a mistake of considering web to print as a technical project and handover overall responsibility to a person who knows technology and nothing else. This is not the case as sales people who will contribute to your online business growth as well as most of the customers whom you expect to use it are non-technical. In my opinion web to print is a business initiative for sales growth and better customer service that involves technology. Your customers won’t care what the technology does; they only care what it will do for them to get their orders with 100% quality, in-time and with lowest price guarantee. So with web to print, your sales team can speak to them of benefits like self-service platform to design and order prints, 24X7 online ordering and status updates and WYSIWYG editor to let people design and order products without any creative assistance. So the owner of the business has to play the pivotal role in first communicating with his team and key functional managers to define the clear motivation behind adopting web to print.
- Now you need to choose the right technology partner who has an existing and well proven web to print solution, which can understand your business requirements and derive a solution that fits your budgets and timeline. Choosing the provider is crucial, as they have to be involved at each step to ensure you fully implement and adopt the solution.
- Once you have chosen the right technology partner, define your key evaluation factors to measure successful adoption and communicate it well with your partner so that they align their efforts and commitment with SLA. This will help in final stages for both parties to put coordinated efforts for success.
The next step is to ensure effective implementation. Web2print software is actually a fundamental change in the way you do the business, hence people from every department per say sales, marketing, customer support, production, shipping and delivery, accounts and billing etc. have to be involved from early stages of implementation.
Yes, you definitely need a skilled technical resource to coordinate and work with the provider for implementation of the project but you also need a skilled manager or leader who can guide, influence and coordinate with people from all functional areas of your business to ensure they are well acquainted with changes to be brought by web to print in the way various departments coordinate and function.
Also consider that not every product you offer is suitable for web to print design tool, so prepare the right strategy for which products and services you would like to offer online and which are to be processed offline, thus avoiding complicating the system to accommodate every product.
Once the system is fully implemented and configured and before you are ready to launch, make sure that you involve key people from all functional areas to evaluate how system solves their day to day challenges and how they get benefitted from it. This will help you build internal team confidence and go to market with positive perspective.
Finally, once the system is fully implemented and live, the biggest challenge is adoption. Adoption can be defined at 2 levels as internal and external.
Internal adoption requires that you prepare a very effective training program in coordination with your solution provider for your internal staff to educate them on how to use the system and its features. Also make sure that the provider has efficient and dedicated support staff to help your team in overcoming early stage technical issues with quick turn-around time.
External adoption is a must to ensure your customers use it. Customer adoption is the only key to the success of your print shop management software initiative. And here the role of your marketing and sales team comes to forefront.
Your sales team would have to understand your customers buying behaviour, their skills and resourcefulness to adopt online ordering and thus preparing an effective marketing plan to encourage your customers to go online and place orders using self-service platform you have built for them. A strong marketing and training program can ensure that your customers understand the benefits this new initiative brings for them and adopt it with ease to place order.
Also keep your customers informed from time to time about new products, offers and updates you are bringing to your online storefront thus keeping them informed and well engaged to look for more.
I believe that if all 3 above milestones are achieved in order with effective leadership and involvement by all key people for any business, the success is a sure shot. The high growth rate of eCommerce in last 5 years proves that the customer today wish to order any product or services they need from the comforts of their home or business or while on the go, then why printing industry should not get benefitted with the new trend? And the only way to leverage this growth is successful planning, implementation and adoption of web to print for your printing business.
Nidhi Agrawal is the CEO of Design’N’Buy, a web to print solutions provider with clients world-wide. For more consultancies on this topic, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org