We are in the digital age, time when trend is for everything to happen online. So why the printing business would not follow the movement? That's where the web2print started !
The printing industry is huge, as is its evolution and development. From Gutenberg's invention up to now, the printing industry has undergone major changes. Among them, the web2print technology.
Demand implosion for printed documents for individuals and professionals in the graphic arts, marketing and other sectors of the media industry has created new challenges. The recovery of these challenges would hardly have been considered without relying on new technologies. Web2print softwares were born in this context !
Web2print : How does it work ?
A web2print solution is a suite of web-based technologies, print production capabilities, and fulfillment services that automate many of the processes relating to the procurement, management, and distribution of printed materials. A comprehensive web to print solution is essentially an outsourcing arrangement in which the solution provider assumes responsibility for several components of a company’s supply and distribution chain for printed materials. The diagram below shows the major functional components of a web2print solution and illustrates how a W2P solution fits into the print supply/distribution chain.
Web to print solutions can be used to manage virtually all types of printed materials. A partial list would include :
It’s also important to understand that web2print solutions can be used to manage materials that are not printed prior to distribution or are not printed at all. Therefore, webprint solutions could also be described as “web-to-file” or “web-to-screen” solutions.
Here’s how a web2print solution works. A web 2 print solution includes an online catalog that contains digital images of the printed materials a company uses. The system also provides a central repository for those materials that can exist in digital form. A robust web2print solution will provide a flexible security model that enables the company to regulate user access and permissions at a granular level. This allows the company to determine which materials an individual user can access and what actions the user can take with respect to those materials.
When an authorized user needs to order printed materials, he or she logs into a secure website, selects the desired materials from the catalog, specifies the desired quantity of each selected item, and submits the order. If an item is revised or replaced, the new version is added to the catalog, and the old version is removed. Therefore, the online catalog always contains current versions of the company’s printed materials.
A web2print solution also provides powerful customization capabilities. If a particular item can be customized, the online catalog will provide access to a dynamic template for that item. The template identifies the content elements that can be modified and may provide a
set of preapproved customization options. Once a user has customized the item as desired, the system provides an online proof for review, and the user simply approves the proof and submits the order.
The print on demand solution provider uses digital printing technology to produce materials on an as-ordered basis and then packages and ships the completed materials. On-demand production means that in most cases there is no need to maintain a physical inventory of printed materials. In those cases where economics don’t allow for materials to be produced
on an as-ordered basis, the web2print solution provider will provide warehousing and inventory management.
A robust web 2 print solution can be configured to support a company’s business processes and rules relating to the purchase of printed materials. For example, if orders for materials that exceed a specified dollar value require certain approvals, the W2P solution can incorporate and enforce those rules and processes.
Most webtoprint solutions also provide extensive, real-time reporting capabilities that approved users can access via online dashboards. These reporting capabilities enable companies to monitor and track the usage of their printed materials by item, individual user, business unit, and other criteria.
Web2print and Evolution of e-commerce
When it comes to boasting the merits of high-tech, the United States still hold the first place for the right model...
According to a recent study by BigCommerce, 51% of Americans prefer to shop online and 96% of them have already made their purchases at least once online. E-commerce is growing by 23% each year and 46% of Americans with a small business still do not have a website.
This goes the same way for the printing market. When everyone prefers to buy online, why not give clients the ability to print their documents online? It's time to go online, it's time to go further when you know that more than a half of the world is on the Internet and is looking for something to buy. In other words, if you work in Graphic arts, it's time to join the herd of Web2print and then create a Web2print shop .
But before that, do you know what is Web2print or web to print? It's a very broad term, which means, in short, that you're printing on a website. This allows you to give your customers a web platform on which they can order their printed materials online via a Web2print shop.
For example: you have an online printing t-shirts business. Previously, your customers bought the t-shirt in your store and you only had a few printing options. But if you choose a good platform like Magento or Prestashop to build your online web2print store, your customers can choose the t-shirt online, personalize it, order it and you will deliver it to them in white label. Isn’t an amazing way to attract more customers? But what do you need to have in your Web2print shop ? You must make a good documentation before selecting an e-commerce platform to which you will have to integrate your web2print package.
Why do you need an ecommerce platform for your web2print business? Several good reasons can be listed:
In order to sell more and retain customer loyalty, you need a tool to help you set up, present, and promote your products. In most cases, the web2print software providers are limited to the technical aspect of the solution, which usually deals only with design features. Nevertheless, marketing options need to be more interesting. Indeed, you can offer glamorous designs, if they do not reach the prospect in a well thought out format with a presentation tailored to your customers, your efforts will simply flow into the water. Hence all the interest of investing in a good e-commerce platform that will make a good deal
Web2print documents : Easy design and Standardization
In a web2print shop , you will no longer need to re-read the documents each time and so instead of wasting your time doing the same things again, you will invest your good minutes in other tasks. This also reduces catastrophic errors that can cost fortunes when it comes to reprinting large quantities.
The optimization of cash flow induced by Web2print technology guarantees maximum productivity following the elimination of repetitive tasks. This lowers the cost of production and gives your web2print shop huge opportunities to beat the competition by both quality and price!
Web2print : How to choose the right platform for your online print shop ?
Making the decision to start your web2print shop is not the end of the debate, it is rather the beginning of a whole winning evolution strategy, if it is conducted wisely.
As a printer who wants to take advantage of the evolution of digital printing through a web2print shop , you need to think about your decision and ask yourself first the platform you want to choose? It may seem very easy and straightforward to have an online web to print portal, but it is essential to first understand if the chosen e-commerce platform will fit perfectly with the chosen web2print software.
There are 4 main open source or free platforms that work perfectly with most web2print packages: Magento, Opencart, PrestaShop and WooCommerce. But all have their restrictions depending on your needs and the requirements of your online print shop. Ask yourself the right questions before making any choice, both for the software package and for the support platform! In particular, can the resulting web2print shop help you achieve your sales goals? Will your print shop grow with the use of this symbiosis? Is it easy to set up and customize some essential options ? Etc. Let's see some possibilities, case by case !
Web2print : Magento Platform
For any business, creating an ecommerce platform is a challenge in itself. A web2print shop is anymore an exception to this rule. You may want a new website, you may want to update features, and so on. Or you will want to implement a new technology. The reason could be one, but your main concern should be to build the web2print shop on a solid foundation or a platform that will not restrict you.
Since its inception in 2008, Magento has experienced incredible growth in e-commerce platforms.
Web2print : Benefits of Choosing Magento
Fully Customizable Interface
Magento Platform provides Back-End Management that makes it different and better than other online business platforms. This allows you to adapt the interface according to the needs of your site by giving more power to your Web2print company.
Magento is an open source solution for e-commerce platform where you have freedom to choose the hosting of your choice according to your business. It allows you to have a multilingual site depending on the countries you are targeting. This can be a golden opportunity if you want to build a Web2print network of print shops around the world!
In Web2print industry you must keep multiple items in stock. Here, with Magento, you can download a set of products at once on the Web2print website. You do not need to enter them again as you did in the past.
You can also add the description of your products, images for illustration, reference numbers, etc., in one time. Along with this, you also have the option to add various pricing options. This means that discounts and promo codes can be active immediately after the product is downloaded.
Improved customer engagement features
Web2print customers may always have a wish list. When they connect to the platform or when they are offline, sending them notifications on the new low rates can increase sales.
You must therefore ensure that this feature is added to your web2print shop . Magento is renowned for having the best features to increase engagement and provide customers with a rewarding buying experience.
Web2print : Disadvantages of choosing Magento platform
Magento solution is known to offer world class features with customization and scalability, but it requires a huge investment. An owner of a small web2print shop may not understand the need to spend so much money. Where some can invest, others will not be able to because of high prices.
Although adapted to the needs of a web2print shop , Magento needs specialized in-house developers with deep knowledge of Zend to be able to set up customizations. That's why it's a bit complex, because most developers have no work experience in Zend Framework. Engaging someone especially for this will inevitably make you spend more money.
WooCommerce for Web2print business
WooCommerce is just the ideal platform for small businesses especially in web2print industry. This is a WordPress ecommerce plug-in which has gained popularity for its customization and easy-to-use features.
As I said before, WooCommerce is a plugin for WordPress with a stunning content management system and multiple features. It's better for those who cannot afford Magento or PrestaShop. The features are easy to use and you will know them well enough.
And since WordPress has been around for a long time, most of Web2print business owners may also know it and use it easily. The fact that woocommerce is totally free provides a huge advantage for most of Web2print business owners who do not have huge budgets to spend on an ecommerce licensed solution.
Aside from being easy to install and use to set up your web2print store , Woocommerce is highly secure. Indeed, when doing business online, it is important to have sufficient security to avoid cybercrime, especially for the protection of your Web2print customers' banking data. The WooCommerce sales system regularly updates the software web2print to avoid any problems or anomalies that may impact on your sales or leave your secure data to corrupted sources.
Web2print: Drawbacks of WooCommerce
Requirements in coding experience
Although you can perform updates yourself, you may encounter problems if you are not good HTML programming.
Cost of additional plugins
It's easy to set up WooCommerce with basic features, but if you need additional features or plugins to fully customize your web2print store , you have to pay extra fees for these features.
PrestaShop for Web2print
Prestashop is an open-source platform for ecommerce websites including web2print stores . With PrestaShop, you can create a free website. All you have to do is to buy a theme. Therefore, it comes with advanced features. It's perfect for large companies. If your Web2print business is a medium to large business and you have a flexible budget, you should choose PrestaShop.
Web2print: Advantages of choosing Prestashop
Add unlimited products
You can add as many products and categories as you want to your web2print shop .
You can do it easily from the administration panel without anyone's help. Prestashop is really easy to handle. You just have to download and install it. You can refer to the demo site to download and install the same version.
Elegant and organized dashboard
It is very easy to navigate in the Prestashop administration panel. It is well defined and organized according to your needs. You will not encounter any difficulty in using it. This will be the same for a web2print shop designed with Prestashop.
Ultra-practical reporting tools
If you choose a web2print software that can be integrated with Prestashop, you can view the performance of the site from the dashboard itself. It will give you an overview on the number of orders, sales, etc.
Web2print : Cons of choosing PrestaShop
Few customization possibilities
The PrestaShop web2print software only allows a few customizations specifically related to graphics. Which may be a handicap for some operations on your web2print shop.
Prestashop has some compatibility issues. The developer of your web2print software should pay attention to testing the compatibility of the web application offered from different angles before validating your Web to print system.
NopCommerce for Web2print
NopCommerce is an open source e-commerce software. It has many features, such as a customizable catalog interface, a shopping cart, and an administration tool for managing and monitoring your web2print shop . Since it is an open source e-commerce platform, you can customize it to meet the needs of your Web2print business.
Web2print: Benefits of opting for NopCommerce
Quick and easy installation
Open source software, NopCommerce is easy to install, configure and use. It is also possible to add additional features according to the needs of your web2print shop.
Any Web2print site based on the Nopcommerce solution adopts a responsive design that is both optimized for pc and for mobile devices. Since the majority of customers use smartphones, it will free you from having to pay extra money for the development of a dedicated mobile application.
The biggest advantage of NopCommerce is that you can set up multiple web2print shops by installing NopCommerce once. This advantage rivals Prestashop , which manages a single store in several languages. It is always interesting for multinational web2print shops network.
Web2print : Disadvantages of opting for NopCommerce
Extra cost for extension
If you want to have more extensions for additional features useful for your web2print shop, you must pay extra fees.
Nopcommerce does not have a lot of features, so you will have limitations.This platform is therefore only useful for small Web2print businesses, and not for large online printing companies. Choose it, only if you do not have flexible budget !
Is web2print good investment for you ?
Perhaps you still doubting if web2print solution would be a good investment for your business ! The answer to this question will depend on several factors, but 4 considerations stand out in importance.
The first consideration is the level of fragmentation that exists in your printing supply chain. How many departments, sites or functions of your company are
involved in the creation, purchase, management and distribution of printed documents? How many external creations, production and do you use suppliers for printed documents ? The most fragmented is your workflow, the most your supply chain will probably benefit from a web2print solution.
The second important factor is the number of printing requests materials you receive, process and fill regularly. It's a critical factor because the number of requests you process causes the how much time and money you are currently spending on these activities. And the more you spend, the more you will earn from investing in a web2print solution.
The third important factor to consider is the level of obsolescence you are currently living . How many printed materials do you throw every year because of obsolescence ? How much did you spend for these wasted materials ? If your obsolescence rate is high, you are
more likely to benefit from a web2print solution.
The fourth factor to consider is how often you personalize impressions materials for sellers, distribution partners, branches, employees or customers. As stated previously, a Web-to-print solution can greatly streamline the personalization process. So, if you customize, it is common for you to take advantage of a web2print solution. You should also consider whether your marketing efforts would benefit from using more personalized marketing materials. A web2print solution not only makes customization easier and more cost-effective, it also helps vast customization.
The final decision as to whether a web2print solution is appropriate for your business should be based on a complete audit of your existing supply and distribution chain for printed matter. The audit estimate the financial benefits of a web to print solution and
quantified based on your unique circumstances. If you are not quite ready for a full audit of the supply chain, you can start your assessment process by thinking about the questions
in the table on the next page. This table contains a sample of the questions we use when analyzing the print supply chain.
Blanks USA has taken the Uber-izing of web2print to a new level for the creation of die cut products such as door hangers, labels, boxes, cup sleeves, bottle hangers, tab dividers and more. The company offers more than 10,000 pre-built templates as well as the ability to begin with a blank canvas. Thirty years ago, Blanks USA began its life selling door hangers and raffle tickets. Today, the company has evolved into an industry-leading supplier of security paper and die cut paper products.
“There are a number of dynamics in the printing industry that have made it more difficult for web2print companies to grow their businesses,” said Andy Ogren, Owner at Blanks USA. “One of those is the increasing quality and capability of office and workgroup printers, resulting in companies producing print in-house that might have gone to an outside printer in the past. This trend has impacted print volumes for many shops, and they are looking for new applications and revenue streams to offset this decline.”
To address this challenge, Techtoprint offers a portal with an integrated design tool and online editor that empowers users, even those with little design experience, to create professional quality materials and export their designs into a print-ready PDF. The company offers a white-labeled portal to printing companies that enables them to quickly and easily create these products for their customers, significantly reducing design time and design skill required. Techtoprint also offers high quality preconverted stock using its patented Lift-Off™ die cuts that reduce the manufacturing time and increase the quality for die cut products. While files generated on your site can be printed on any substrate the user chooses, the files are imposed to work perfectly with Techtoprint substrates.
“Our large variety of product selections required a robust online editor,” Ogren added. “We needed something that was easy to use for those with limited design skills but was functional enough to meet the needs of professional designers. We also needed a very cost-effective model, preferably cloud-based, and a solution that could be integrated with other modules for seamless, end-to-end operation. This includes 100% capability to change any element in our templates, as compared to other web2print solutions where portions of the template are locked down. To accomplish this, we partnered with many printing shops .
In explaining our web2print solution to potential customers, Ogren points out that even for experienced designers, production time can be cut by as much as 40%, and the resulting product is of higher quality especially when the Lift-Off substrates are used.
“One packaging printer we work with was thrilled with this solution,” Ogren reported. “Hand labor for his die cut boxes typically took three minutes per box to remove the product from the matrix and get the box ready for assembly; we can reduce that to 20 seconds. Boxes are stronger, because the substrate has a laminate on the inside. In addition, our Lift-Off die cuts are clean – there are no ties as you might see with a traditional perfed pre-converted material. He told us he could see easily producing a million boxes per month without any increase in labor using this solution.” And with his cloud-based configuration, Ogren can offer unlimited access to the portal for a mere $20 per designer per month. “We designed this web-to-print offering to Uber-ize the production of die cut products,” he said. “It’s a game changer for us and for our customers. They save money on design and end up with a higher quality product; and, for printers, new revenue streams. Plus we make money on substrates when they choose to acquire them from us.”
While those previous implementations functioned, our current configuration is much less costly and even more robust, and that allows us to make a compelling offer to our customers. And we are seeing great response from the market.”
Lessons learned from Blanks USA include:
Have a clear understanding of the business objectives you are trying to achieve and the price elasticity in the market. A robust online editor that allows 100% capability to change any element in templates rather than having locked-down portions by default increases flexibility. Of course, customers should be able to lock down portions of their own web2print templates as necessary to protect brand integrity.
Users should be able to create clean-sheet designs from a blank canvas as well as use templates.The cost model is critical – cloud-based modules that can quickly and easily be integrated to create a full solution typically preset the most cost-effective and flexible approach.
Think out of the box. Consult and brainstorm with software providers to better understand what is possible, and then stretch the limits of those possibilities for new and innovative approaches. It is critical to have partners who are willing to work with you in this manner.
By making the system easy to use, robust and flexible, and by giving users lots of options, the solution is likely to generate more return business. Even though in the case of Blanks USA, not everything is printed and what is printed might not use substrates, the company has still seen growth in volume printed through its network of printers and using its substrates because of the attractive cost model, quality and efficiently of the process and final product, and their willingness to let the web2print customer be in the driver’s seat as much as possible.
Depending on the size of your web2print shop , you will be able to choose one or the other e-commerce platform. It is essential to know the functionalities you will need before you start looking for a web2print solution and make a choice of compatible e-commerce platform.
However, if you want to go through an easy and ultra-smart Web2print business, you can choose all-in-one web2print solutions . There are several, but you will appreciate like us Techtoprint solutions. Need more info? Feel free to contact our web to print experts !