The quantity and loyalty of today’s printing company customers is intrinsically tied to the way the company’s web presence is organized. Over the last few years, companies and customers across a wide range of industries have grown accustomed to paying online for everything from mobile communication to medical consultation — and, since online payments save time and effort, companies are increasingly favoring eCommerce systems over traditional store-based platforms. Thus, it stands to reason that a print shop customer would expect to receive the same safe, convenient online tools for creating, ordering and purchasing printed materials.
The way in which small and mid-sized businesses search for suppliers has also changed. Previously, vendors were found via catalogues, and referrals were crucial. However, in today’s world, having a “first page” position in the search engine results is most important. This means that a print shop’s website and web applications must be developed with clear code and a customer-friendly interface and navigation.
Growing a printing business in today’s world also requires automation, so that the business can be as omnipresent as possible. The core business processes of every leading international printer are automated, from order placement to shipping. Automation has become essential for large printers due to 1) a global customer base, 2) huge order volumes and 3) sophisticated logistics.
So how can an up-and-coming digital printer meet these new challenges? And how can collaborating with an IT outsourcing partner simplify the solution?
The client-oriented features of any web-to-print system are intended to provide the client with an exciting and convenient ordering experience. Sure, some companies might offer a different number of these features, and differing levels of complexity, but ideally the core features’ primary function is to allow the customer to navigate the system as quickly as possible. Any additional features outside of the core group should be considered a bonus.
There are two big reasons why it’s a great idea to collaborate with an IT outsourcer when creating a web-to-print system. Firstly, it’s very likely that an outsourcer has experience in developing web-to-print systems; in fact, the outsourcer may already possesses ready-made modules which can be customized to your business and launched quickly. Secondly, in cases of iterative development, you won’t have to worry about staff-related overhead. You only pay for the time the outsourcing team works — not for downtime, or time spent measuring your modules’ efficiency periods.
And speaking of modules, the core modules of any solid web-to-print system are as follows:
The end-result is a happy client who’s been converted from a website visitor to a customer, thanks to a classy web-to-print functionality. Now, what can we do to ensure he becomes a repeat customer?
Customers could potentially use a custom printing service on a monthly basis, i.e. sales representatives who order promotional items, and individuals who order gifts for others, or items for personal use.
In order to become the go-to supplier for these types of customers, your web-to-print system should always be readily available to the customer, accessible in one click and thereby much faster and easier to use than your competitors. To reach this goal, a desktop and/or mobile app is a great solution. Once the customer downloads your app, your services will always be just a click away on their device, thus meeting today’s dominant tendency for resource-saving and internet connection independence. And by contracting with an IT outsourcing company that employs specialists covering a wide range of different platforms, you can be assured that any application can be efficiently developed for any platform.
From a printer’s point of view, a web-to-print system is mostly about full business automation intended to minimize human intervention across the process chain, from ordering to production to delivery.
The back-end portion of your web-to-print system could be developed module-by-module, and be as feature-rich as you desire:
The more processes you automate, the shorter your order completion time and the higher your cost-efficiency will be. Through step-by-step automation, a little print shop can become a huge multinational custom printing enterprise — and Sibers has the clients to prove it!
Sibers has worked with the printing industry since 2005. Our team has an acute understanding of digital printers’ wants and needs, and we’ve developed a variety of custom printing websites as well as online, desktop and mobile editors for photo book creation, custom apparel and favors, order processing systems, bookkeeping and financial systems, order status tracking, warehouse management tools and internal instant messages.
Once upon a time, a young American launched a tiny print shop where people could order custom-printed apparel. In the beginning, the shop had a couple of customers per day, and orders came in via fax, sometimes hand-drawn on paper. Fast-forward a few years, and this tiny print shop is now a huge international custom printing enterprise that processes more than 1,000 orders per day. The question is, what happened during those few years?
Since this is a true story whose protagonist happens to be our client, we already know the two answers: experience and automation. Of course, printing competency is the core necessity of any print enterprise, and must be the foundation for future success. But sitting in second place is automation, and when speaking about business expansion and cost optimization, it’s the most essential tool.
To learn more about Sibers’ experience with developing winning platform solutions for the printing industry, please view our Case Studies.
Founded in his rural garage in Australia, our client’s printing business has blossomed into a successful company with hundreds of partners and thousands of clients nationwide.Case study in details
Colorado Timberline’s facilities are now shipping over a million units per year. Sibers’ platform has helped the company position itself among the custom apparel design field’s top players, turning it into a wholesale print-on-garment enterprise offering inkjet printing, sublimation, laser etching and embroidery.Case study in details
Matisseo is a popular French photo book publishing service. With Matisseo, a user can create, share and purchase photo books online. Sibers provided the client with four solutions: in-site photo book sharing and preview functions, an online photo book editor, an order processing system, and prepress automation.Case study in details
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