When it comes to Web2Print, it’s certainly easier to say ‘no, not right now’ and join those sitting on the fence, determined only to invest in it, when the opportunity arises; usually due to client demands. So, for those who can feel the proverbial splinters poking them in the backside, or for those that are waiting for the splinters… I’d suggest it’s time to climb down off that fence! Experience shows that trying to play catch up, or taking a knee jerk approach to a customer’s request for Web2Print, does not produce an effective outcome, for neither you, nor your client.
Vpress are well versed in rapid turnaround customer deployments and projects, and what we have noticed is that there are often a number of areas that reveal gaps in the project thought process. These typically fall into the categories of lack of forethought, poor technical qualification of the customer and a lack of understanding of the ‘brand’s’ real needs. Beware, if executed badly, these could jeopardise the long term returns possible, when using a Web2Print platform to secure a customer.
If you’re still deciding on whether or not to invest in Web2Print, then you need should be considering the following five questions:
1. Can we afford to risk losing a customer to a competitor, already offering Web2Print?
2. Am I already having conversations with customers about the benefits of Web2Print?
3. Do my customer focused team members understand Web2Print and how to communicate its relevance and benefits to customers?
4. Have we considered the other areas in the business that would benefit from the introduction of Web2Print, or the automation it can provide to the business?
5. Can I accept and justify that the financial investment needed to integrate two or more technologies, in order to give me a tangible Return on Investment (ROI)?
After honesty, comes truth.
Print companies often seem to be shy when it comes to educating customers on the “art of the possible”. Think about it, having a discussion with a customer about how you can help them reduce production and management costs by implementing Web2Print, positions you as a valuable partner. Web2Print can also help your customers increase revenue through personalised and targeted marketing, further increasing your value to their business.
If you’re not having these conversations with your customers, chances are one of your competitors will be, so don’t lose out.
Customers aren’t the only ones to benefit from Web2Print, the automation it can trigger reduces the need for manual intervention across the print production process, by improving efficiency and reducing time and cost. This provides a very tangible ROI to your business and can increase margins significantly, or seen another way, ensures you remain competitively priced, whilse still retaining healthy margins.
The key to maximising these returns is integration by linking into internal systems, such as MIS and production workflows. Although achieving this is subject to a robust planning phase, involving a thorough evaluation of your business processes, repetitive manual tasks and associated areas for improvement; the returns can be staggering.
Planning is imperative. Don’t be misled into thinking that a Web2Print platform is only suited to large and multinational customers. Web2Print can be suitable for companies of any size. Remember, the more customers manage their data through an online shopping/procurement platform; the more likely you will be in securing their long term business and increasing your profits.
Web2Print enables businesses to eliminate many of the ‘grey’ areas associated with manual/silo based processes, which often leak cost savings made in other areas, so look carefully and don’t ignore them just because you don’t currently account for them. If you plan correctly, even a ‘no’ response from a customer can offer a positive outcome. Taking a more holistic view of your technical infrastructure in relation to the many previously unconsidered aspects of your business, is a valuable exercise. Very few companies just decide on a random Wednesday to link together every system and tool within their organisation, they have spent time analysing the cost savings and are making a sound business decision to employ Web2Print.
Get out and about and speak to people who have successfully migrated from more traditional methods to Web2Print. If you are investing in an MIS, speak to the MIS providers’ customers to find out how well the installation really went. If you already have an MIS, or a more home-grown system (of sorts), ask for guidance from the manufacturer and ask to speak with their customers too. There is no better reference, than one from those who have experienced the process first hand.
It’s also useful to start talking to your customers. Look at the systems they use, do they use an intranet, or an internal system, such as SAP, Oracle etc? Maybe they are using something more home-grown? Will they allow a Web2Print platform to link with their system? Do they acknowledge the benefits this would give them, in terms of time and costs savings, as well as eliminating uncontrolled stock, maverick spend and error?
Having examined all of these aspects, you should now have a more solid argument for implementing Web2Print within your organisation, for the benefit of your customers and your business. In addition to efficiency gains and cost savings, you’ll add a new robust service line to drive revenue increase and you will be tying customers in longer term.