Commercial printing industry has been experiencing an upward curve with touch of technologies. With debate still continues around the profit and margins in commercial printing industry, printers are still not sure about web to print investments.With changes in customer preferences and behavior, it is necessary for every business or industry to change the way they are working.
Commercial printing combined with web to print technology is on the rise. Though there are no recent numbers which support the same, but statistics from past decade supports the rise of print ecommerce.
What They Think cited data from The Commerce Department which found that printing shipments in August 2015 exceeded $7 billion in market value, and that represents a 3 percent rise over 2014, when inflation is accounted for?
Statistics suggest that between July and August 2015, US commercial printing shipments were up by $2 billion compared to the same time period in years prior, with American printing services earning upwards of $57 billion. The numbers seems pretty impressive. Even more impressive, the source explained that printing shipment compound annual growth rates are better than the U.S. gross domestic product’s own figures, and the industry has shipped $86 billion in product between August 2014 and August 2015.
Industry numbers seem promising but technology adoption is very low. Commercial printers still believe in investing more on infrastructure rather than technology. There’s no debate between investing in either of them but all the formats of commercial printing can be redefined with going online. Right from screen printing to digital and offset printing, all the formats are well supported by online printing.
Printers are worried about the online adoption for their commercial printing setups. Online printing technology powered by web to print is designed keeping all the parameters of traditional printing businesses in mind. Web to print is based on specific needs of print service providers as well as customers. This technology is based on servers, HTML interfaces, SaaS, databases, scripting engineers with security and permissions schemas, automated FTP servers, slow digital presses, templates and catalogs and automated reporting. Additionally, web to print software service providers customize their offerings as per the market variables of commercial printing such as unique custom automated billing models, obligatory pricing, shipping methods and a unique set of customer services challenges.
Let’s touch in detail the advantages which an online commercial printing has than the traditional commercial printing –
1. Online is the new mode of any business
The first thing any business should do is capitalizing the areas where there customers are dwelling and printing is not different. Commercial printing has been a local business and thus printers think of operating it in offline mode. The same set of customers keep on coming to them with same requirements and orders and businesses keep on moving. But there are some printing businesses which experimented with going online and catered more customers.
Custom Logo Cases, a normal printing store offering custom logo cases started using web to print in 2016 and experienced change in overall business dynamics.With 10% increase in sales and 50% cost reduction in pre-press job handling, Custom Logo Cases reported 20% overall cost reduction in business.
Custom Logo Cases is no different than the normal pop and mom stores in printing industry but their approach towards business changed with customer expectation and advancements and thus, reaped benefits also.
2. Think Beyond Printing
When it comes to printing, there are so many innovative business ideas which can be knitted around it. Direct mailing services, Personalized printing, Print marketing agencies, Print Marketplace solution and B2B and B2C printings are some of them. Online printing is the base for all these printing business extensions. Printing is one such industry which can be innovated by going online.
3 Ps of profit in printing
Product, Personalization and Printing are the 3Ps which leads to profit in printing. Personalization in printing industry is necessary as requirements and tastes vary from one person to another. Moreover in B2B printing industry also, brand elements for each business will change according to their end customers and industry. Thus printers need to give their end users all the freedom to experiment with their designs, ideas and templates.
The normal offline business would not be able to cater to such changing needs and expectations of business. Moreover they will not be able to create a central repository for different customers so every time they don’t need to mail or send files to printers for printing. But with online printing business backed by web to print, it is possible.
Shorter turnaround times, personalization, 24*7 customer accessibility, easy approval workflow and cost benefits are some of the advantages of commercial printing going online. With all these advantages, the very first step of going online is having a website from which customers can directly order their stuff. The next step is offering online personalization for customers to design their own stuff, order them and receive it directly at their doorsteps. Once online business is in place, there are so many innovative business ideas which can be turned into action with printing as the base.
The only way to test the waters in online printing industry is to begin by yourself, implement technology in your business and adopt it to serve your clients better. One key takeaway with all the above discussion is that printing industry runs on margins, costs and customer service. The only way to create product differentiation is doing things backed by technology and going online is start of creating these differences.
Amy Watson has completed her education in Information Technology sector and then she has started working in eCommerce web to print research & development segment at Design’N’Buy. After getting more than 5 years of experience in web-to-print technology as well as Print Commerce product customization software development & solution she found best interaction model about it. She really enjoys her success in research and development for start-up business by extending current model with highly reflective ROI model.