Almost all of the major digital press manufacturers are featuring their variable data printing (VDP) capabilities. Printers now have the option to complete the VDP projects in-house or integrate the project with an online solution to merge form data, database files, and images online. No matter how simple or complex, printers now have the ability to sell personalization services and one-to-one messaging that can be delivered either online or on paper.
Even with the rise of Web-to-print services, a number of printers will be investigating using an Internet presence for the first time. Turnkey Web solutions such as Printerpresence.com and Printsites.com are also on display. Even as Web commerce grows, a number of commercial printers still don’t have a Web presence. The special websites for printing companies can provide printers with an e-commerce solution. Most software site vendors offer customer portals, automatic PDF file creation tools, online design capabilities, and online ordering. Even the smallest printer can project a large presence with the right combination of online services.
Prepress is becoming more important in most printing companies especially as many prepress functions now integrate into Web-based services. Prepress has moved closer to the customers through Web-based order entry. It has moved closer to production because of automation. It has become the bridge that ties all the printing functions together, including sales and customer service. Print owners need to evaluate how they communicate with their customers and what services their customers need to exchange information with their customers. Printing communication is changing and is being integrated with other media. This year’s GRAPH EXPO shows you how the future can be handled today.
John Giles is a consultant with CPrint International and a regular columnist for Quick Printing magazine.