How Do You Sell Web-to-Print?

By on November 27th, 2013

Whatever you call it — Web-to-print, branded customer portals, print commerce — Web-to-print is now operated by 40% of U.S.-based print shops [1] and 25% of European ones [2].  We’re used to thinking about the cost savings from these solutions from a printer standpoint, but there are big ones from the client’s standpoint, too. Here are some I have listed in “State of Web-to-Print (2013).” Can you add to them?

1. Time savings.

Template-based design (or ability to customize pre-designed documents) saves time, period.

2. Reduction in fulfillment errors.

Errors cost money. Fixing them once they are out in the field costs even more. When large companies switch from manual fulfillment to Web-to-print fulfillment, the cost savings from error reduction can be substantial.

3. Reduction in duplication and errors in design.

How many of the same document are being tweaked and customized individually by different agencies, distributors, and agents, each at their own cost? What can be saved by creating one template and reducing the duplication in effort? By centralizing templates and design, MFS Investment Management, for example, saved $350,000 within the first few months of implementing W2P for its 401(k) sales proposal kits, even though its fulfillment volume rose by 58%.

4. Savings in production costs.

When Tiffin University switched its student inquiry packets from 9×12-inch folders with four to six preprinted inserts to slim, highly personalized booklets printed on demand from a W2P interface, its printing and postage costs dropped by 50%. Jobs also can be ganged, creating another path to efficiencies.

5. Savings in postage.

Printers are often able to co-mingle jobs, including those of multiple clients, achieving greater postal discounts.

6. Faster response times.

The faster follow-ups get into customers’ hands, the greater likelihood of conversion. It’s a soft savings, but an important one. The University of Nevada, Las Vegas used to take weeks to produce its fundraising materials. By developing its own a Web-to-print solution, its fundraising campaign directors now produce its donor literature (including personalizing down to the donor level) in less than 30 minutes.

7. Administrative cost savings.

One telecom and wireless services provider deployed the same solution and saved 7,500 man-hours per month and $750,000 in monthly order administrative costs.

What areas of cost savings do your customers receive?


[1] “U.S. Production Software Investment Outlook,” InfoTrends 2012

[2] “European Production Software Investment Outlook,” InfoTrends, 2012

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    One Response to “How Do You Sell Web-to-Print?”

    1. David Dodd Says:

      Hello Heidi,

      Great list! Here are a few additional cost savings examples. Some of these may be included in one of your categories, but I didn’t see them mentioned specifically.

      – Reduced internal request processing costs-In my experience, this can be the largest single area of savings in some companies. For example, suppose that a company has 100 sales reps or channel partners, and each rep/partner makes one request for marketing materials per week. That’s 5,200 requests per year. If it takes, on average, 20 minutes to process and fulfill each request (telephone call, finding the requested materials, packaging the materials, etc.), and the average fully-burdened labor cost of the employees performing these tasks is $54,000, implementing a web-to-print solution will eliminate about $45,000 per year in internal request processing costs.

      – Inventory storage, management, and carrying costs.

      – Lower obsolescence waste.

      This isn’t a cost savings, but it’s important to remember that a W2P solution can also improve marketing effectiveness by enabling the cost-effective customization of marketing materials.

      Great post!