Does web-to-print add value?

Web-to-print solutions can add value to a printing operation; however, that’s not always the case. The value answer depends, says NAPL senior consultant Howie Fenton, on what you’re printing. “Printers ask me all the time why they’re not selling [web-to-print] better or why more people aren’t using their web-to-print,†Fenton reports. Consider whether it’s something that your customers can work with, and ask yourself, he says, “Does this take away from my value proposition?†Most web-to-print solutions include estimating, preflighting and proofing components. For example, PagePath Technologies’ MyOrderDesk is an eCommerce solution that combines web-to-print, automated proofing, automated pricing, reordering and more. It seamlessly integrates into a printing organization’s existing website or can be used as a standalone site. (For a demo, go to Avanti Systems, too, offers a full suite of web-to-print software, including online estimating. Other vendors add on job tracking tied to MIS systems. Many industry insiders contend that web-to-print technology is best used for low-value, commodity orders, such as 500 one-color business cards, which is true, Fenton agrees. And let’s face it: A lot of non-consultative sales reps and CSRs are fearful of what web-to-print could mean for them. It’s not only about driving cost out of the equation, he adds. There’s always value-added potential. “About 90% of business cards are something you can’t add value to,†Fenton notes. “But what if your customers can do the design?†Web-to-print enables printers to automate this process, offer one price, and guarantee consistency. Globally Boundless Plus, there’s the portal side of web-to-print. “Perhaps your people sell other products as well,†says Fenton, and web-to-print is part of a broader strategic positioning. Canada-based printer Globally Boundless (GB) has developed proprietary, web-to-print marketing engines for franchise organizations. The modular, scalable e-storefronts give local franchisees, agents, stores or operators control of their own marketing spend, while customers maintain control of their message and valued brand. The firm provides integrated marketing systems that support franchisees while providing relevant, real-time frontline marketing information that franchisors use to make effective, on-demand business decisions. GB manages customer life cycles by deploying technology and processing, according to Boyd Liski, president of the $10 million printer. Its solution is an expeditor, helping multi-unit organizations go to market faster. True to its name, Globally Boundless services the franchisor/franchisee relationship in nine countries, targeting enterprise clients including College Pro Painters, Mail Boxes Etc., 1-800-GOT-JUNK, Whataburger, WineKitz and Turf Holdings/Weed Man. The firm won an integrated program for Whistler, BC in conjunction with the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. GB does far more than put ink on paper. It helps customers strategize, while reducing their marketing spend by as much as two-thirds. By using complex marketing tactics and delivering analytics, Liski says, they guarantee better results. For more on choosing and using web-to-print – and print-to-web – see my article: