The Web2print market

We’re familiar with B2C and B2B, and we’ve agreed that while they serve a purpose they don’t comprehensively describe the various ways in which print is sold on-line.

But before we introduce new terms that will move us in the right direction, let’s take a step back and think about what’s actually going on when print is ordered on line; this will help to clear up some confusion and tee up some new terminology.

Who’s the Web2Print Client?

We’ll start with the client.  They could be an individual, a SME, a large corporate, anyone at all … and of course they could be an individual within a large corporate, ordering business cards for example but adhering to pre-defined brand guidelines.  They could be ordering anything from a vast range of printable items.  They might tailor an online template, upload their own artwork, or ask the printer/graphic designer to create the artwork for them.  It becomes clearer that we need new terminology to help us.

And let’s not forget that the client could be from virtually any market segment – retail, banking, wholesale, you name it.  We’ll see the significance of this later on.

One more thing – the storefront. The client may enjoy specially negotiated prices and commercial terms and/or be able to select from templates that only they can access via a secure login.  This type of functionality is expected by most larger corporate organisations – highly protective of their brand identity and acutely aware of their purchasing power.

What are their Requirements?

Client activity all goes on at what we might call the “front end” i.e. what they see on the printer’s website.  Creating the environment to service these clients, i.e. providing them with the information they need to place orders, is taken care of in what we call the “back office”.  This is where the products, prices, ordering methodology and so on are all set up by the printer.

Tony Rafferty has coined the phrase “B2ALL” which is just as all-encompassing as it reads.  Essentially it dismisses B2C and B2B as inadequate, and rather than segmenting the clients as consumers or businesses (and as we’ve seen the reality is more complex) it segments them as follows:

  • does the client want a private client storefront, or will they be ordering from a public webshop which anyone can see?
  • is account management required, or are they satisfied with a pure online experience?
  • how will the Web2print solution be promoted?

B2ALL covers all types of client and all types of requirement, but a further segmentation is possible which caters for those corporates that do demand a private storefront and account management; Rafferty categorises this as “B2Client”.

And getting the terminology right matters because, as in all types of business whether online or not, the better we understand our customers and how they want to be looked after the better the relationship we will have with them – inevitably leading to increased loyalty, more repeat business, and more opportunity to cross and up-sell.

Flex 4 have been providing best-in-class Web2print solutions and digital marketing services for print and graphic design businesses since 2004.  We have numerous satisfied customers right across the country.  We are UK-based – all of our team work out of our office in Kendal.  We pride ourselves on our customer service, flexibility, and desire to please – we would love the opportunity to show you what we’re capable of.

If you’d like more information on our company please click here, or here for our contact page, or call us any time on

020 7952 8160

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