Web-to-print software can be a real game changer for print service providers, helping expand their operations and fatten their bottom lines. There are few limits to the benefits this technology offers, from enabling PSPs to serve a much larger population of customers to helping them boost the automation of their operations. For many print providers, the results are higher sales, greater efficiency, print-on-demand capabilities and more productivity and profitability.
Wide-format imaging companies were behind the curve in embracing Web-to-print, for reasons ranging from file size in wide-format to the industry’s later adoption of digital technology. But they’re making up for lost time now.
Here’s a look at just a few of the wide array of products available to PSPs seeking to create e-commerce storefronts for their printing businessesz
EFI Digital StoreFront
EFI Digital StoreFront from EFI (www.MyPRINTResource.com/10005156) is a scalable, Web-to-print eCommerce platform that can be deployed on-site or from the cloud and offers tools, add-on modules, and integration to Fiery-XF servers, EFI Print MIS solutions, and EFI wide-format printers to help customers in the market capture more print work, reduce the number of touch points per job, and achieve a higher return on investment.
The Digital StoreFront platform currently supports standard, oversize, and wide-format product types. In addition, support of an additional product type, DSFdesign Studio, is to be unveiled at Graph Expo, reports Dave Minnick, product manager. DSFdesign Studio introduces “on the fly” design functionality, giving buyers, in a web-browser-based online format, the creative ability to produce custom print products. During the shopping experience, a print buyer can build a tradeshow banner, for example, by inserting imagery, uploading a logo, changing the background color, adding text copy, as well as editing the title directly in the product template using a free-form design tool—without the need for a professional design application, design skills, or software training. The resulting artwork is automatically produced into a production ready PDF and can be sent to the wide-format output device for printing.
Digital StoreFront differentiates from other Web-based eCommerce tools in two critical ways.
“Number one, Digital Storefront has an intuitive user interface that makes online ordering of print products easy, even for a novice print buyer. When ordering an ad hoc job (customer uploaded content), the buyer is introduced to the Visual Product Builder—a single-screen, interactive tool that guides the buyer through the job submission process with visual cues, real-time pricing updates and online proofing of the job specifications ordered,” reports Minnick.
“Number two, end-to-end automation. Specifically, in Digital StoreFront, you get online, real-time pricing as you are configuring the job ticket. And those same job ticket settings are communicated down into operations. Tight integration among EFI’s portfolio of products ensures that the job specifications are communicated in real-time from Digital StoreFront to the server, the print management system, as well as the wide-format printer—a solution that makes dollars and sense for our customers.” he says.
How can printers benefit from using Digital StoreFront? Let’s look at the example of a PSP hired by a big retailer to produce creative signage for various retail locations, some of it needing customization at the specific store level.
Individual retailers can go into the system and introduce pricing specific to their stores. The printer is able to incorporate all those orders in a mass production run and distribute them to the various retailers, Minnick says.
Many orders are repeat orders in the B2B environment. That points to another advantage of Digital StoreFront. “Rather than printing everything you need for six months, you can print on demand,” Minnick says.