Everything you ever wanted to know about Web to Print
Article updated June 2018
Let’s start by agreeing what to call it shall we? Is it Web to Print? Or Web2Print? Or even W2P? Or any combination of all of the above? Well, as far as we’re concerned it’s all of them, and as there’s no agreed standard, it doesn’t really matter. Probably best if we move on.
We’ve been thinking about it (the technology, not the name!) a lot in recent months, fuelled by some very interesting conversations with our clients, the ever advancing technology and what it’s capable of achieving, and a desire to provide a single and regularly updated repository of valuable information on the topic, covering all angles, in an interesting and (we hope) enjoyable way.
So what is web to print?
Web to print is a web-based technology that enables the client to specify what they want to be printed over the Internet – with no need for human intervention (i.e. it’s all on-line)… and the printer then prints and delivers it!
It’s still possible incidentally, and sometimes desirable, for humans to intervene of course – for example if the client wants something proof-checking or if the requirement is complex – but the whole point of the technology is that it’s not absolutely necessary every time.
Web to Print operates equally successfully in the B2B and B2C worlds.
In business to business, the technology opens up a rich array of additional commercial opportunities for both the client and the printer. For example, the uploading and merging of mailing lists with automated feeds into Direct Mail campaigns (“Ah what wonderful efficiency!” I hear you cry!). Or the presence of private on-line web to print storefronts, with pre-agreed templates, to streamline the ordering process of things like business cards while still protecting the brand. To name but two!
In business to consumer, it’s mostly about the convenience, ease-of-use, and value-for-money of a 24/7 automated service.
You knew all that? We thought so, but we wanted to ensure that we’re all on the same page to begin with.
The main advantages of Web to Print technology
Easy online print management
As web to print technology is all web-based, the need for human intervention at the printer’s end is eliminated, and the input can be carried out at a time and location to suit the end-user. Furthermore, as we shall see, the process is designed to be very straightforward.
The fine details may vary, but the broad brand guidelines are set in stone. Thus your brand is protected, and moreover you can set and control any amendments to your branding rules quickly and easily and all in one place, and disperse them through the organisation quickly
Within these agreed brand guidelines individual and local details can be personalised (such as business cards, material for specific locations, and so on)
The simplified and streamlined ordering process, via an online portal, can result in significant time savings.
Saving time saves money too, as does removing costly human intervention from the process. But there’s more! You only print what you need, when you need it… and you still receive volume savings as you still use the same printer. It’s everything that you’d hope for from a super-efficient print-on-demand service.
Specific budgets can be set up for individuals and/or areas to ensure that costs are known and kept under control.
With Web to print it’s easy to keep track of stored materials and re-print only when necessary.
As we’ve seen, Web2print is an excellent way of protecting your brand identity. Furthermore, you can build in a pre-agreed approval process to retain ultimate control.
Is web to print really that good?
Well, yes it is – which isn’t to say that it’s perfect (after all, what is, technology or otherwise?). You’ve arrived in the perfect place to have a discussion about how Web to print can help your business, whatever your business, and whatever your role. How good is that?
How do you decide on the right web to print provider?
If you were a business looking for a web to print provider what would you look for?
We’re asking this because, as with so many technologies available on-line, there are a vast (and increasing) number of printers offering the service, and it can be (and probably is) at best daunting and at worst downright confusing for the client to understand what the differentiators (if any) are especially – and this goes to the heart of what Web to Print is all about – as there is no (or minimal) actual dialogue because it’s all online.
So, how would you decide? Well, let’s start with some of the more obvious differentiators:
An easy to use website or portal
You’ll want to find what you’re looking for quickly and easily.
Good choice of templates
If you’re not supplying your own artwork you’ll want a wide choice of material to select from (signage, point-of-sale, QR codes etc.)
Easy upload process
Simple to upload your own artwork, logos, photographs, images, illustrations, templates etc. for brand consistency.
Simple to edit
The ability to make changes quickly and easily, and then check what you’ve done
Straight forward pricing
A straightforward pricing structure removes any confusion and ensures an efficient ordering process.
Can you differentiate between one Web to Print solution and another?
Well, we’re certainly not saying that it’s easy – which is all the more reason why you need to select the right provider. And by “right” we mean having all of these characteristics:
- expert – not just in print management solutions but in finding additional ways to generate revenues
- track record of success
- giving you the ability to extend your range of services, for example by offering web-sites
The right provider will be able to guide you through all the things you need to think about, and come up with the perfect solution.
So how do I go about finding the right provider?
For starters, the fact that you’re reading this tells you that you are very close indeed to finding your perfect Web to Print partner.
You can us any time on 020 8031 0840 and our team of creative experts and Web to Print gurus will be delighted to answer all of your questions and give you all the help that you need.