Last month I was on a Tweet Chat with the @printchat group, a gang of print industry enthusiasts that meet on Twitter Wednesday afternoons. As usual, the topic drifted to the future of print and where the hot spots would be for growth and innovation. Surprisingly, one prominent member stated that Web2Print would be an area that would see significant growth over the next few years.
This is an interesting observation because Web2Print has been around for many years, but it seems to maintain a low profile. It flies under the mainstream print radar! Could it be that we printers haven’t done a good job of explaining one of its main benefits: minimizing the customer burden? Conventional wisdom suggests that print clients, and maybe clients in general, are less interested in direct interaction with sales and customer service reps. This could be due in part to the influx of web-savvy, miles-a-minute Millenials into the work force, especially at levels where print purchase decisions are made.
Studies suggest that reducing the customer burden is a necessary component of customer loyalty. Making it easier almost always makes it better. Utilizing the Web2Print process does exactly that. With a true Web2Print software platform, end users have a private, custom portal where they store frequently used print and support assets. These often include templates for identity items, brochures, forms, sell sheets, name badges, manuals, and host of other marketing items where size formats rarely change. The client simply logs onto the portal and orders the product needed. No more getting on the horn to speak with the overzealous rep about ordering yet another batch of business cards and brochures.
The benefits and ease of utilizing Web2Print are organization-wide and permeate the marketing department. Having a single provider protects the brand and centralizes all execution and logistics support. This allows all marketing personnel the time to focus on strategy, creative and analytics. No longer is there a need to manage multiple vendors and the logistical needs of everyone in the organization who requires marketing and communications material. A Web2Print portal also provides reporting functions necessary to track and measure the efficacy of marcom expenditures. The reporting functions allow marketers to build data that they can use to adapt strategy and messaging, as well as provide insights into their customers’ needs and wants.
So while print reps have a deep level of knowledge in all things print, the landscape is changing for the ways customers choose to interact with their reps. Printers need to keep reminding their clients that Web2Print online portals are a perfect fit for the right customer. They offer customized solutions that make it easy to order print, track, and maintain brand compliance. But more importantly, it allows them to manage their print and support assets without excessive interaction with their print reps. It’s okay, we’ll find something to do!