Is this a right time to opt web to print solution for your print business?


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Print businesses are often confused about their investments in hardware, equipment or software and technologies. The confusion is fair; printing business has always been a back end industry supporting almost every industry such as consumer goods, packaging, media and entertainment, education, research and many more. It is tough time for printers to realize that with latest technologies it is time to be at forefront of the B2B as well as B2C print businesses.

Here’s a different perspective looking at the technologies, industry, changing customer preferences to opt for web to print solution for printing businesses.

Technology for every specific process
Technology advancements are so rapid that every possible process has some technology associated with it to make them more smooth. Digitalization is overtaking printing businesses and web to print is propelling it to grow at a faster rate than any other technology. As per a report by Markets and Markets, the digital printing market is expected to reach USD 28.85 Billion by 2023 in comparison to USD 22.18 Billion in 2017 with a CAGR of 4.48%. The reduction in per unit cost of printing with digital printers and technologies is one of the key factor to drive the web to print businesses for both B2B and B2C printing businesses. The reason is the capability of web to print to take digitalize printing businesses.

Often web to print is just considered equivalent to have a web to print storefront but there are so many peripheral around it. Advanced print MIS, shipping and tracking, dedicated customer accounts, print marketplaces (Like Vistaprint) etc are other crucial aspects of web to print systems.
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As we are talking about different technological advancements in printing industry, graphic design software deserves a mention. Web to print collaborate with sophisticated graphic design software with wider range of features and tools with easier workflows, better file compatibility, and easier collaboration between printers and end-users. Without need of extensive engineering and designing knowledge, end-users can create their designs and put them into production reducing pre-production to few hours from days.

Similarly, high-resolution print ready files are generated for print service providers and all thanks to design software and tools made readily available via web to print. End-users are adapting to these design tools with a steeper learning curve but print service providers who will invest early will see the benefits.

The future of printing businesses
We are living in exciting times and industries are witnessing changes like never before, It’s time now to enter into the world of new possibilities with technologies like Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, 3D printing and hybrid printing. The beauty of technological innovation in printing industry is that printing remains at the core of it and printers should take advantage of it.
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A report by the Idealliance “Capital Investment Report, Fall 2017” studied about the investment priorities and future plans of commercial printing companies. The highlights of the report are:

The top investments during the past three years for printing firms has been digital infrastructure such as (workstations, servers, networks etc.) and workflow softwares. On the hardware side, toner-based and cut-sheet digital presses investments are leading the front. The top capital investment objectives will be around more efficient workflow, reduced labor costs/increased automation and reduced steps, touches and turnaround times. The trend is going to continue and its the best time for businesses to onboard with web to print softwares.

Customers are getting digital
Being online is the key to reach customers or help them find you when they are looking for your products and services. Online presence does not mean just having a website that has not been looked after for years or getting registered in local business directories. Though this can be one piece of your digital plan, it is imperative that either you hire a team or retrain existing one to use digital platforms with print software having wide range of features and tools looking to their usability for end-users.

Customers, both B2B and B2C are looking for wider choice of products, additional finishes, perfect binding and finishing. Web to print provides the right channel to showcase all this at one go with customized pricing rather than mailing them pricing sheets and have them go through each one of them and calculate pricing. Evaluating that whether customers have moved from offline buying to online buying is not worth now as the risks involved with online buying has already been addressed with efficient checkout processes, order history, reviews and recommendations, corporate and individual accounts etc.

Innovation, and why you should care
Research is the key to innovate and understand new printing technologies and explore how they fit into your business model. With so many technologies and solutions printers need to seek advice from software vendors, customers and other stakeholders to adopt a sustainable business model with better compatibility and cost-effective methods.

Print manufacturers have plenty of opportunities to expand in online print segment with higher value products that helps in achieving a better margin. There’s need to be collaborators rather than manufacturers to keep prices low and exploit this opportunity of volume bases business. These are the innovations industry is looking for and print service providers need to adapt to cater to the changing industry dynamics.

Why web to print is most relevant now
Printing industry is moving from equipment based business to communication facilitating business model. Businesses are looking for new ways to communicate and for printing businesses this means to invest in talent, technology and transformation practices. Web to print complements the communication business model as it provides an integrated way for client communication and more ways of achieving hyper personalization. Initial adoption of web to print software application may lead to some hiccups in the journey but early movers will have a greater advantage in the increasingly competitive market.

Abhishek Agarwal
Design'N'Buy has years of expertise in designing and delivering Web to Print solutions. We ensure all the aspects of web-to-print are covered and online design tools or print applications are implemented with utmost perfection to enhance user experience.


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