The Pros and Cons of Web-to-Print


It is a fact that the Internet has created a massive number of opportunities for people looking to start a business as well as many opportunities for those looking to enhance their business and take advantage of services that are out there. One such service is web-to-print. If you have a printing business then web-to-print is undoubtedly one of the services that you should be offering because the revenue it could generate is incredible.

However, before you start to offer web-to-print services, you have to find out a little more about it. For example, you need to know what it is, how it works and what advantages and disadvantages it offers. Read on to find out everything you need to know!

web to print process

What is web-to-print?

Web-to-print is effectively the use of websites in the print business. Also known as remote publishing and print e-commerce, it allows people to submit, preview and print their own materials online via easy to use interfaces on the service website. So, for example, a company may want business cards. They can upload their own logo, design the card itself and input their own personal detail such as name, address, phone number, email address and website before previewing it and then choosing to order 100, 500, 1000 or even more business cards from the printer whose service they chose to use. It really is that simple. The design is totally a result of the individual customer’s wants and needs.

Of course, it does not have to specifically be business cards that people order from web-to-print businesses and services. There are numerous items available because it caters for business customers and the general public too. Individuals can choose to print postcards, promotional flyers, brochures, stationary, posters and a whole host of other paper goods. Some even offer t-shirts, mugs, keyrings and other promotional items as well. This is like a one stop shop for those businesses looking to promote offers, brands, products and services and can bring in huge profits for the print business.

The benefits of web-to-print

Speaking of profits for print businesses, there are numerous benefits of web-to-print that you should be aware of before adding it to your list of services. The following benefits are the most important for this method:

  • Customization appeals to end users, meaning that it allows them to interact with and make all decisions regarding their printing needs. However, it also has the major benefit of enabling you to set the templates for them to choose from so that you can retain overall control and offer a limited number of options.
  • Web-to-print is a great tool that can help you to reduce costs and enhance profits by automating the estimating process and offering viable solutions. This can really help you to improve your bottom line. For example, it reduces the number of processes you need to print business cards, postcards and so on, so you can save money without reducing the quality.
  • Web-to-print usually makes for happier customers because of the ease of the shopping cart process and also because they can monitor their orders online. This is an essential service today because it allows people to interact far more with a business. This, in turn, often secures repeat orders.
  • You can choose to cater for retail customers or corporate and business clients. It is entirely your decision, although this largely depends on the volume of print orders you can cope with. For example, if you are just starting out then it may be a good idea to start with retail customers because you are likely to get orders to a level that you can comfortably fulfill but if you are just adding to your established print business’s services then aiming for the business market may be a better idea.

The minus points of web-to-print

As you can see, the benefits of web-to-print are comprehensive but that is not to say that there are no minus points for you to consider. In fact, there are several that may not be immediately apparent but are vital to consider if you want your web-to-print venture to succeed. They include the following:

  • Web-to-print software modules can cause problems with other systems that are integrated into your print business, especially if you choose several modules at once. However, this problem can be avoided if you implement the modules one by one and instigate several different tests and print runs prior to sending the system itself live.
  • The system has to be simple or else it might not work. For example, elaborate finishing for statuary items could drive up the cost so it is not quite as transparent as customers may like. Multiple shipping locations could also prove to be problematic.

Web-to-print services are undoubtedly the way forward for print businesses, whether as a primary or additional service. The benefits far outweigh the minus points, the latter of which are infinitely avoidable providing that you plan properly, so there is no reason why you cannot improve your business by taking full advantage of web-to-print.