Is web to print all that it’s cracked up to be?
So much is now written about it, and the technology has now reached such a critical mass, it’s arguable that some of the benefits are, if not being overlooked, then certainly being underestimated …
… but are they? Are web to print solutions really as good as all that? Are customers entirely happy with online services, devoid of human interaction? Is the software up to it? Is the online dependence a worry? What about the templates? Are the end products good enough? And what about the printers themselves? Are the management processes adequate? Can the right level of support be provided? What is the right level of support? Ultimately, are clients getting what they want how they want when they want it and at a price they’re comfortable with?
Surely this last one is the key question – so let’s answer it!
From the customer’s perspective
Essentially there are three broad benefits, which we’ve mentioned before but are worth summarising:
- cost-savings. Since the web to print process reduces the cost of order processing for printers, clients will naturally expect some of those savings to passed onto them. And in the hyper-competitive market in which we all operate, it is inevitable that to some degree this takes place. Printers, of course, need to be careful that they don’t over-commoditise the service, particularly as it’s all online. All this will do is drive margins down for everyone.
- brand protection. We talked about this last time. It’s a hugely important area. Protecting and then reinforcing the client’s brand through the effective use of pre-agreed templates and designs is an absolute must for all business customers – particularly those who devolve a degree of decision-making from head office to branch level.
- business efficiency. This follows on from cost-saving, but takes in more elements. Administration reductions, improvements in internal reporting, inter-departmental collaboration, all have a part to play.
From the printer’s perspective
We’ve seen that there may be a driver to reduce margins, so why would printers be interested?
- cost-savings. Mirroring the client benefit, an online ordering system will reduce administration time and people costs, thus saving money and therefore – providing the sale price can be retained – increasing margin. This particularly applies to smaller orders, where the cost of order administration can at best eat into and at worst outweigh the profit.
- client retention. If a client uses your solution, and is happy with it, it becomes second nature to them to continue using it. After all, why would they change if everything works satisfactorily? So the printer has the opportunity to secure a longer term commitment from the client, and sell them more and higher value products over time.
Are there any disadvantages?
We hinted at some in the questions we asked at the beginning of this article, not least the possibility of driving prices and margins down. So how realistic a threat is this?
You’ll have to read future articles to find out!
But in the meantime if you’d like to know more then our experts are on hand to help and advise you. 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
We’re looking forward to having a “win-win” conversation with you.