In the most recent NAPL State of the Industry report, when the question was asked, “Which of the following do you expect to grow fastest over the next 3 years,” the number one response was Digital Variable Data Printing. While variable data printing will increase the effectiveness of pieces sent, another way to increase the value of the work is by automating the ordering and transaction process using web-to-print solutions.
Web-to-print is a group of technologies that allow the customer to work with the print provider in a faster and more convenient way. Web-to-print allows a printing customer to create, edit, monitor and approve computer-based online work during the ordering and manufacturing process. It can include online storefronts or catalogs to facilitate the ordering and reordering process.
Web-to-print systems are also expanding to handle variable data printing and distribution of other marketing materials such as presentations, seminars, logo items, and even email and other electronic media. This change is driven by enterprise clients seeking a single repository/tool to manage all marketing efforts including print. The second highest response in our State of the Industry report was web-to-print. In fact, web-to-print has skyrocketed in the listings from ninth place with 19% in 2006 to 41% this year.
And there may be a synergy created when a web-to-print solution is combined with a digital press. A report by InfoTrends stated that volumes of color digitally printed pages increase after implementing a web-to-print solution. The increase was different based on the speed of the device but for the fastest devices it was about 25%.
In seminars I discuss my experiences with clients that show that web-to-print increases your value and often increases volumes. But in a recent seminar a conversation was started with people in the audience who said that they were not seeing increases in volume with their web-to print-solutions. Now to be thorough this would require more in-depth research into which web-to-print services they had implemented (shopping cart) and how fast and user friendly was the service.
But lets take an informal poll. If you have a shopping cart or ordering type of service, what do you think? Has your web-to-print solution increased your digital printing volumes?