Web to print storefronts – your starter for 10 …

In a previous article we talked about the differences between straightforward e-commerce and a fully-fledged Web to print solution.  Essentially, e-commerce is buying anything on the internet, using a secure payment system.  Most of us do this as consumers all the time, and it’s popularly known as a “B2C” transaction (i.e. business to consumer).

If we now consider the requirements of a “B2B” environment (business to business) we’ll see that we need some additional functionality.

We’re obviously concentrating on printing here …

First of all, we would expect our clients to have their own secure login and access to a dedicated area of the site, which no other client can see.

Different categories of user can of course have different options once logged in.  Some users may only be able to order certain items with minimal tailoring (for example their name and contact details on a business card), while others (the system administrators, marketing department and so on) may be able to change designs and add new templates.

This dedicated area could be branded and personalised, so the users feel “at home” and are familiar with its look and feel.

Rather than paying for each order using, for example, a credit card, in all probability a simple process would have been set up to trigger regular invoices.

Pricing would be specific to each client.  Clearly different clients may have negotiated different pricing based on, for example, how much business they place – and apart from the question of confidentiality it could clearly lead to some awkward questions if clients could see what other clients were paying!

An absolutely key component of any Web to print solution is what we call the storefront – an on-line catalogue of pre-agreed and pre-priced templates for the user to select from.  The storefront will protect the brand (as the designs will have been pre-approved and cannot be modified by users without the necessary authority), and will save time and cost as the design work will already have been done.  If we take the business card example again, all the user needs to do is log in, enter his or her contact details, press SUBMIT … and that’s it!  There’s no need for any additional effort or administration, and the cards will arrive at the designated address within a few days.

You’ll see that the creation and maintenance of these templates in the storefront is a vitally important function, and it is therefore essential that this is quick and easy to do.  We’ll be covering this off in a future article.

We like to keep things simple!

Albert Einstein said that “the definition of genius is taking the complex and making it simple”.  As you’ll guess, there’s an awful lot to say about storefronts and templates and all the other aspects of Web to print … but our approach is to keep things straightforward.

So, we’ve now provided you with the basics – and we feel good to go with a look at this whole area of “brand protection” next time.

In the meantime if you would like more information then please click here for a direct link to our home page, here for our contact page, or call us any time on 020 8031 0840

and as always we will be delighted to answer all of your questions and give you all the help