It’s a sales and marketing tool that enables your company to join the evolution in internet-enabled entrepreneurship and merchandising – and could make the mix of printing technologies offered by individual companies increasingly irrelevant.
Our special "SWOT: Changes & Challenges" issue brings industry experts together to consider strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to screen printing. Fritsch headlines the "Weaknesses section," raising the question of whether the world of web-to-print could render screen printing irrelevant.
“Web-to-print software” means different things to different people. The term probably dates back to the late-1990s when the internet was in its infancy and analysts tried to envision how print businesses might benefit from the potential disruptions of electronic publishing and e-commerce. But “web to print” is now a well-established phrase that printing companies use to search for all types of e-commerce-related software online.
Today, web-to-print software can be used for many different tasks such as estimating, online order entry, online proofing and approval, and the creation and operation of online storefronts for your customers. In some highly automated shops, web-to-print software is the funnel through which orders flow into the “touch-free” production, finishing, and shipping of standard-sized documents.
The primary reason to adopt web-to-print software is to better serve your customers. A well-constructed portal will allow users to place orders 24/7 without having to contact a salesperson or customer-service rep first. Web-to-print software can also streamline administrative tasks within your office by gathering and storing the data you need to set up, deliver, and get paid for the job. If proofs require approval, all system users will know to whom the proofs should be sent. Or, preflighting a job during the upload process can reduce the workload for your prepress staff by automatically notifying customers that certain file issues must be resolved.
But online order processing is just the beginning.
Web-to-print software can also be regarded as a business expansion, retention, and reinvention tool. It can expand your reach globally, helping you partner with printers outside your region or get actively involved in the explosive growth of e-tailing and creative entrepreneurship. In some cases, you can sell web-to-print services to startup and small design businesses and makers who want to develop and sell their own brands of products.
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