By Cassandra Balentine
Web to print (W2P) tools help automate many parts of the ordering processes for print providers, which can bring big benefits relative to productivity, efficiency, and even customer loyalty.
However, wide format print service providers (PSPs) are historically slow to adopt W2P due to time constraints and concerns with customer service. In this segment in particular, David Graves, VP of sales and marketing, Aleyant, says there are numerous options for projects and some shops are dependent on traditionally estimating jobs.
“Wide format businesses are typically very busy and have been slow to spend the time on setting up a solution. Having said that, the ones that do spend the time have seen great improvements in order entry, automatic pricing, as well as speed to completion,” shares Graves.
The time commitment—whether real or perceived—is one hurdle of adoption. Graves admits the time onboarding and time typically spent to get a W2P solution up and running can be 45 to 60 days, depending on number of products, templates, and pricing parameters.
The ability of immediate pricing based on different options involved, order entry, immediate payment, and automated file processing into current workflow are key storefront features in demand among wide format print providers, comments Graves.
Further, integrations into current workflows, RIPs, enterprise resource planning, and fulfillment solutions are additional features that wide format print environments look for from a W2P.
While it is difficult to generalize the return on investment (ROI) , Graves says most companies can see a ROI on as little as ten orders a day. “In this case, customers can expect to see a 500 percent ROI based on current order entry versus W2P.”
Above: PressWise by SmartSoft includes unlimited web storefronts, designed to help users capture more business, lower service costs, and retain valuable accounts.
For PSPs that have taken the step to incorporate some portion of W2P, the value is apparent.
Rapid Printing is a digital print provider located in Kelowna, BC, Canada. The shop offers a range of applications, from printing and copying to wide format offerings and canvas prints to banners stands and rigid signage for indoor needs, as well as banners, yard signs, magnets, A-Frame signs, and rigid applications on materials like aluminum panels and coroplast for outdoor demands.
When Rapid Printing decided it was necessary to simplify ordering and reordering for customers it reevaluated its W2P set up. It had been using multiple W2P solutions for more than a decade, but none of these options were quite what it needed to allow the company to achieve its goals.
In addition to W2P for ordering, the shop wanted a provider that could offer the technical support needed to get to market quickly. Enter OnPrintShop.
With the implementation of OnPrintShop, Philip Walker, owner, Rapid Printing, says in a case study by OnPrintShop, that clients easily personalize products with an easy-to-understand backend. Additionally, automated updates and notifications attract new customers through effective communications and personalized customer service.
The OnPrintShop team helped the print provider set up products on its storefront to expedite online ordering.
“The website is a valuable tool for a business moving forward. In order to compete in today’s market, you need a great online presence with an easy to navigate website, and OnPrintShop offers a complete package,” shares Walker.
Online ordering brings Rapid Printing increased productivity through easy order processing, reduced labor costs due to order management automation tools, as well as increased repeat orders.
Wide format environments have many options when it comes to W2P. Here we highlight a few.
Aleyant offers W2P solutions through Pressero; management information system/estimating/scheduling with PrintJobManager; as well as prepress automation with tFLOW. With these solutions, Aleyant allows for quick, consistent pricing, W2P capabilities including pulling pricing from PrintJobManager for consistent pricing, personalization, and file upload to job management. When an order/job is created, it can then be automatically preflighted, fix issues—including missing bleed, and have an automated proof sent to the customer. Once approved, automated finishing scripts are applied to the job—adding printer marks or enacting simple imposition—and then sent directly to a RIP or hot folder from completion.
For the sign and display industry, the eProductivity Software Midmarket Print Suite is a comprehensive solution designed for sign and display companies that want to take their operations to the next level. Its features are designed to help users optimize workflow, enhance customer engagement, and help achieve business goals.
Design ‘N’ Buy’s wide format printing software enables online print shops to offer design and print management services for large-sized print products.
Firespring helps users create and print custom signage and displays as well as creative store signs, banners, window graphics, and vehicle wraps. Stand out from the crowd with signage that inspires and engages.
Infigo encourages PSPs to create branded W2P storefronts to target different markets—from custom suitcases to promotional banners. The solution offers a range of customizable products and allow customers to tailor designs with its personalization software. PSPs are able to show instant live pricing and take payments securely from an integrated ecommerce shop. Behind the scenes, users are able to create automated workflows for seamless print production and automatically email customer updates on order status progress for any sized product.
InkSoft is the all-in-one ecommerce platform designed for print, promotional, and decorated apparel businesses.
OnPrintShop offers wide format printer software to assure its clients deliver customers 100 percent customizable products in a fast turnaround time.
Using artificial intelligence and machine learning, Ordant can intelligently coordinate the cost, customer, job, and invoicing data needed to complete complex, multi-item projects within tight deadlines—and at a profit. Employees can track the status of all jobs in progress and proactively prevent missed deadlines and unsatisfied customers.
PressCentric’s pricing engine includes support for large format products. All of its editions come preconfigured with a variety of products to get users started. From banners to coroplast signs and oversized posters, the system provides live pricing with easy to set up pricing based on calculations that PSPs are used to.
PressWise by SmartSoft includes unlimited web storefronts, designed to help users capture more business, lower service costs, and retain valuable accounts. For print providers that already have customers on other W2P products, PressWise integrates seamlessly with most leading web storefront products and many customers use both PressWise storefronts and third-party storefronts to serve their clients.
Printmatics is a sign estimating and order management software designed to streamline workflow and improve bottom lines.
Racad Tech offers overarching technologies ePOWER and Web to Print CLOUD. The company addresses W2P for wide format similarly to the way it addresses the rest of the industry in general.
RedTie Ltd. has developed W2P software delivered as a SaaS for over ten years. It specializes in software that is easy to use, feature rich, and cost effective.
ShopVox allows users to price by the square foot or time and materials with premade product templates. Track production with custom workflows to never miss a deadline.
A Leg Up
Although the benefits of W2P are well known, there is still a lot of hesitation in wide format print environments. Is it time to reevaluate your order management strategy?
Dec2023, DPS Magazine