By Lisa Guerriero
Today’s Web to print (W2P) market is mature and rich with options. Print professionals choose from entry level to advanced offerings. Those looking for more than an ordering portal find customized storefronts, scalable solutions, and automated functionality. With so many choices, printers can find a provider that matches their needs as well as their price point.
The January issue of DPS magazine offers a look at the latest trends in W2P and factors currently driving the market forward. This two-part article highlights products and differentiating features for the digital print space. Part one features solutions from A to O and part two features products from P to Z.
Options for All
Aleyant Systems, LLC serves a range of print settings, from commercial printers to in plants and print brokers. The cloud-based Aleyant Pressero enables print providers to create and manage multiple storefronts within a single administration area, without the need for HTML or Web development skills. Features of the hosted solution include search engine optimization, file transfer, integrated shipping and payment, discounts, kitting, and order approval. Aleyant offers integration with third-party software such as preflighting, accounting and management information systems (MIS), workflow systems, and imposition.
“The result is not simply a W2P storefront, but a complete, streamlined workflow capability from customer to press,” says Steve Ciesemier, account manager, Aleyant. Pressero also delivers mobile ordering for the end user.
Aleyant eDocBuilder, an online design engine, is available for creating and proofing print items and generating print-ready PDFs. It is included with Pressero and is also available for integration into another ecommerce system. The design function is HTML5-based, so it works on mobile, tablet, laptop, and desktop configurations. An Adobe InDesign plug-in is included to enable print providers to create and publish templates to the site for customers to utilize. PDFs can also be used to create eDocBuilder templates.
Amazing Print provides packages for quick print, sign making, marketing, wide format, in plant, direct mail, and many other printing segments. They have both hosted and licensed solutions, with options for a variety of storefronts, including retail, business to customer (B2C), and variable data printing (VDP).
The company offers online design, cross media, inventory management, online file error checking, approval capabilities, and brand management, as well as numerous job submission functions. They also have numerous third-party integration tool sets to communicate between MIS, data, mailing, and inventory.
Slava Apel, CEO, AmazingPrint.com, says clients enjoy a variety of templates and images, as well as fast deployment, whether the user is working in VDP, marketing, or anything in between. “Our systems have a large usage on mobile interfaces—including Apple iPads, iPhones, etc., as well as kiosks,” points out Apel.
Avanti offers a complete workflow solution, Avanti Slingshot, which incorporates W2P functionality within its print MIS solution featuring business intelligence, production planning, warehousing, and shipping and billing into one easy-to-use, easy-to-implement system.
B2C Print LTD offers hosted solutions popular with clients focused on print-related ecommerce and business automation. However, “our systems are very flexible, we serve and target all segments,” explains Refael Royz, co-founder /CEO, B2C Print LTD. Its W2P software includes online design, ecommerce, print automation, FTP services, online payments, print optimization, and mobile functionality.
Cendix offers a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution, which is customizable for print shops, commercial printers, and enterprise marketing, and includes wide format. The company aims its Print Shop Portal tool at local print shops. When deployed with the ecommerce option, it delivers an online shopping cart, uploading files, quotes, and opportunities to manage the online content.
Commercial printers use application program interfaces (APIs) to integrate with existing systems, allowing print providers to automate product ordering and payments and customize processes for different customers. It features a production control panel to view new orders and manage the fulfillment process.
The Cendix enterprise-marketing tool allows channel partners to browse pre-approved marketing materials and order online. It enables quick customization of co-branded materials through the same interface. The portal’s administrative control panel provides instant updates for key functions like pricing, discount schedules, and order authorization. Modules are available to specific application types, such as direct mail.
EFI serves numerous digital printing companies, as well as in plants, quick printers, and packaging converters. Large format inkjet signage and graphics providers are a growing market for the company. Its product, EFI Digital StoreFront (DSF), offers end-to-end integration from the storefront through production and messaging back to the end buyer. It features buyer and operator workflows and bi-directional integration to Fiery, as well as to other prepress workflows through job definition format (JDF). For larger shops, EFI provides tight integration with its own MIS solutions, which, in turn, then talk to various devices.
DSF supports licensed and EFI-hosted licensed solutions, as well as EFI-hosted SaaS models. Clients can create unlimited customized storefronts using EFI’s HTML5-based system for Web browser compatibility. Ad hoc workflow—customer-uploaded files with ticketing and real time pricing, catalog, VDP, online design, inventory, and kitting, are among the popular features.
An HTML5 design supports mobile devices. “The mobile experience includes our ad hoc workflow, which allows customers to upload content to DSF from sites like Dropbox and GoogleDrive as well as our own EFI PrintMe Mobile that allows files to be emailed to the cloud as attachments,” says Dave Minnick, Web2Print Solutions director, EFI. He adds that in response to clients’ needs, EFI is extending W2P into data collection and analysis, company-wide automation, cross-media marketing, and marketing automation. The latter is enhanced by EFI’s 2014 acquisition of DirectSmile.
EPrint Direct Ltd’s solution is Skyline Web 2 Print, which is available as a hosted service or as an in-house license. The product targets professional in-plant and commercial print rooms, and most clients are in the educational, government, and corporate sectors. In addition to competitive pricing, benefits include easy installation and workflow, and the ability to switch Skyline between a hosted or in-house installation as needed.
EPrint Direct’s in-house design service helps clients establish the storefront’s appearance, functionality, and branding. Skyline strives to create a buyer experience that is as simple as shopping online, where users can order prints in less than five minutes from a desktop or mobile device, and can easily track orders, browse, share, and reorder. Jobs are tracked by status within the workflow as well as by account code, user, and organization.
On the client side, print room processing is improved through automatic downloading of document orders displayed on screen along with status, job ticket details, and any specific instructions. All licenses deliver full functionality for an unlimited number of users. “Our licenses are cost effective and offer accessible entry prices. Skyline Hosted, Start, and Premium all deliver full W2P functionality. This includes features such as the ability to select from a range of ‘ready to go’ Web page themes or create your own bespoke design and maintain full control of your day-to-day Web page content as you require,” explains Chris Camp, managing director, EPrint Direct.
Hewlett-Packard (HP) offers HP SmartStream Director, a licensed solution that runs locally on a dedicated server. SmartStream Director is a B2B ecommerce system targeted at commercial printers, quick printers, and in-plant operations, as well as marketing service providers, packaging/label printers, wide format printers, and the direct mail market. End users order products on any Web browser, including mobile devices.
An end-to-end W2P system, SmartStream Director’s functions include storefront and product catalog creation, pricing, preflight, online payment gateway, production management, tracking tools, client email updates, and automatic creation of shipping labels for leading shipping companies. It comes preloaded on an industrial grade, HP ProLiant server, for easy addition to any existing network.
HP SmartStream is integrated with bidirectional JDF/job messaging format communications to HP Indigo digital presses. “Every event and activity on the press is communicated to HP SmartStream Director, so end-customers can view the exact status of their jobs from submission to printing and shipping. The system can also email end-customers at several stages of production to provide project status and updates, including tracking numbers once items are shipped,” observes Bob Raus, North American category manager for SmartStream and Partner Programs, HP.
Keen Systems provides licensed solutions designed to help small- and medium-sized printers get online with public and private storefronts. Mobile ordering is available for end users. The company works with commercial, digital, sign and banner making, wide format, and apparel printers. Through its PrintMo.co marketplace, they also help customers find and place orders with local printers in those same segments.
“Keen’s W2P solution is a completely turnkey solution for print shops looking to create both public and private stores. Including all aspects of credit card, electronic check, and PayPal transactions, full UPS and FedEx integrations, built-in analytics, and advanced design in the browser functionality,” describes Vitaly M. Golomb, founder/CEO, Keen Systems.
OnPrintShop by Radix delivers W2P solutions for digital printers, print brokers and resellers, photobook printers, publication house, marketing agencies, and in plants. Clients have option of starting with an SaaS model and migrating to licensed for greater customization. Its solutions support online ordering, print personalization, and reordering on mobile devices.
OnPrintShop functions include integrated order management that supplies role-based login, automated email generation, shipment tracking, online design capabilities, print-ready PDF generation, shipping label and invoice generation, and workflow automation using XML. The client manages the storefront though an administration panel with real-time dashboard and reports. The solution integrates with existing customer relationship management, MIS, accounting systems, and third-party APIs. Add-on modules include Workflow Automation and Book Module.
The company handles installation and any upgrades needed, and provides IT support 24 hours a day, five days a week. “Being an IT outsourcing company and providing customized solutions since last 14 years, we have a 300-plus team to offer custom solutions, design services, image editing, store setup, quality assurance, and support,” says Naresh Bordia, VP of sales, OnPrint Shop.
PSPs have many options in terms of commercial W2P solutions, each offering price points and capabilities suited for every need. Next week we continue our W2P round up, looking at solutions by vendors from P to Z. dps