Web-to-print, electronic-commerce, mobile, and social applications are becoming part of normal business operations. Within 18 months, print jobs fulfilled by web-based ordering systems will nearly double over the number from 2009, according to InfoTrends research statistics. Indeed, “e-commerce is...
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Ciesemier added that Aleyant will show automated workflow integration and unveil some newer online storefront technology this fall at Graph Expo in October. “We’re trying to bridge the digital divide between online storefronts and back-end devices,” he said, “making it as seamless and hands-free as possible.”
In Dusseldorf, Agfa demonstrated its :Apogee Prepress App, which provides a quick check of a specific job during production on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. “A convenient status overview of the prepress equipment, including proofers, CTP systems, and other output devices, can also be displayed …,” said Erik Peeters, :Apogee marketing manager. Following an extensive period of rigorous testing, the :Apogee Suite version 7.1 now is certified as JDF-compliant for MIS to prepress connections by the CIP4 Organization. The new :Apogee Suite 8.0 also has been certified for digital print connections.
Also smartphone compatible is Pageflex iWay 6.0, which brings with it the award-winning NuDoc composition engine for sophisticated variable-data personalization. Plus, the new Create Order Application Programming Interface (API) enables printers to meet their customers’ needs for unique workflows by developing custom interfaces that drive orders into iWay's “back-end.” Version 6.0 also includes globalization features that help printers to better meet the needs of customers who service an international market or who have customers with locations in different countries using different currencies. These features include the ability to send out different emails and notifications in different languages, the ability to handle multiple currencies in one storefront, as well as tools for managing translation strings for custom fields.
Meanwhile, XMPie’s uStore now has capabilities in job submission and advanced reporting with Excel templates, including charts and pivot tables, said the Xerox company. Pre-drupa, it announced Version 6.0 of its enterprise-class web-to-print offering. For the first time, uStore will include a document-submission feature, enabling the full range of capabilities for out-of-the-box e-commerce storefronts, as well as more complex marketing portals. With document submission, uStore supports the uploading and production of customer-submitted documents in Microsoft Word (MS Office Suite 2010 and latest browser versions), PowerPoint, or PDF format. This expands the reach of uStore to a broader market, addressing the needs of most print service providers today and enabling a rich set of applications from flyers to booklets, said XMPie. Adding personalized covers, variable data tabs, and other enhancers allows for unprecedented versatility and added value in fulfilling the production of customer-submitted documents.
In the future, said Datatech SmartSoft’s Wold, “relationship marketing will drive an increasing share of buying decisions. Cutting-edge marketers will explore the use of AI (artificial intelligence) agents that will sift through mountains of data looking for correlations and opportunities to trigger communications. If printers still want to be around 10 years from now, they need to overhaul their workflow now so they will be able to participate.”
Cross-media Help for Sale
In early August, MediaExx, Inc. (MX) introduced its marketing services company and launched a new website (www.mediaexx.com). The Connecticut-based firm offers customized marketing solutions for small and mid-size printers seeking to differentiate themselves by expanding their service mix into cross-media marketing. Printers can use MediaExx to market their own companies and increase their own market share, as well as subscribe to MediaExx to create tailored-made programs for their own customers.
Using robust and cost-effective Internet technologies, MediaExx analyzes, creates, communicates; schedules, tracks, reports, and delivers each project without the bricks-and-mortar overhead typically built into agency price quotations. MediaExx is a virtual marketing hub that is lean, flexible, efficient, and effective. Monthly subscription program fees range from $295 to $950.