If you are considering a web-to-print solution, we’ve got you covered in this post.
Web-to-print is a must-have requirement for the modern print business. These e-commerce platforms make your products and services accessible 24/7 and can be critical to winning projects from current and prospective customers.
Our all-in-one web-to-print solutions are designed to help you create and manage online print stores and marketing portals that lower operational costs and automate order acquisition. You can learn more details about our specific offerings in this blog post, but to help you better understand what to look for in a web-to-print solution, we’ve outlined the top eight factors to consider:
The first step is to identify the architecture that will work best for your business. This consideration should be based on your current projects, your workflows and future plans. Do you need an off-the-shelf solution because you don’t need much custom development? Or a solution that’s built with an open software architecture so you can integrate with other internal and external systems and customize your portals accordingly? Or do you fit somewhere in between?
2. With or Without Variable Data Printing (VDP)
Today, personalization is quickly becoming commonplace in many print applications. The ability to offer template-driven documents with personalization elements such as variable data, personalized images and other customized options gives your customers unprecedented versatility. It’s an opportunity for you to add value and rise above the competition.
Ask yourself: ‘if I don’t include VDP, will I be missing out on these value-added service opportunities or hindering future growth initiatives?’
3. On-Premise or SaaS
You may be wondering whether it’s better to run the solution on-premise or in the cloud. The answer will be dependent on your business structure, though each option has a specific set of advantages.
With an onsite solution, you own the software and are in control of your Web-to-print destiny. It’s part of your eco-system, and ensures optimal JDF job ticketing, delivery and MIS integration. It also provides seamless “light-out” production automation ensuring business profitability.
On the other hand, a SaaS solution lowers the barrier for entry into web-to-print with easy maintenance and little to no IT investment required. By running in the cloud, this solution enables a convenient and cost-effective way to create and manage e-commerce web sites.
4. Print for Pay vs. In-Plant
For both Print for Pay and In-Plant shops, Web-to-print solutions are similar in nature and there is a general market trend for vendors to unify the overall experience. So when you’re considering a Web-to-print solution, choose based on the applications you’re running and integrations you need, rather than whether your business is a Print for Pay or In-Plant Shop.
Getting into the Web-to-print space is a big step and understanding all that it can offer will greatly benefit your print business in the long run. It’s an investment that will transform the way you run your business and help you compete against your competitors in this always-on digital world.
Be sure you uncover all that you can about the solution and its capabilities. Is the software updated regularly with new functionality – and if so, how frequently? Is it customizable to meet specific business needs that you may have? What can it offer that your competitors may not be currently doing?
6. Revenue sharing
Find out if the vendor offers a ‘Perpetual License’ model or a ‘Pay per Use’ model. Pay-per-use provides flexibility because you pay for only what you use but a Perpetual License model gives you absolute control of the software and does not hinder your business as you grow with more customers and volume.
7. Large or Small Vendor
There are a variety of vendors and Web-to-print options on the market. It’s important to do your research before committing to any one solution as Web-to-print will shift 50% of your business online. The big question becomes ‘who am I going to trust with 50 percent of my business?’.
Ask A LOT of questions. How long have they been providing web-to-print solutions? What are some recent customer successes they can share? How is the solution going to help your business hit the ground running online? Can they offer personalization or multichannel communications? Will it tie into your existing workflows efficiently?
8. Growth path
Next, ask yourself what opportunities this may bring to your print shop. Can you add new applications or target markets that you haven’t in the past? If you have a future vision in mind, make sure it aligns with the vendor’s capabilities.
For example, if you’re planning to expand outside of printing business collateral into highly tailored, personalized direct mail and catalogs – tell the vendor that. If you want to add email capabilities to your store – tell the vendor too. Can they help you reach that business goal – and if yes, what does that path look like? How will the solution simplify the process?
Are you considering moving your print business online? Request a free demo of our Web-to-print solution using the form below.