Web-to-print processes use digital files created with customer specifications and submitted over an online portal. Unlike traditional printing press methods, this option does not involve lengthy steps for editing and rendering. It also does not come with the high inventory costs for supplies, and web-to-print technology gives each customer a great deal of control over the finished product.
Since software replaces printing plates, large scale ink rollers and associated equipment, print company owners can concentrate on completing and shipping each submitted order more efficiently. This type of program allows customers to select every design detail about the print projects they want to order, and they are also able to make easy changes with a few basic menu selections.
The Process of a Web-to-Print Service
This kind of printing service involves a web-based customer interface for buyers to manage their individual print files. They can select from preloaded templates for business cards, brochures, flyers, catalogs and much more; they can also upload their own customized images or graphics if they prefer.
Web-to-print software is user-friendly and does not require anyone to have extensive graphic design experience. Customers can simply log into their accounts and select their preferred designs, colors, lettering and paper measurements from a set of menus, just as with any other modern software program. They can make as many edits and changes as they see fit, and they only need to pay for their submitted print orders.
Previews of edited print projects are major selling points of web-to-print software interfaces. Instead of traveling to a print shop’s physical location to view finished proofs, customers can log in and view clear previews of their print orders from any location with an Internet connection. A number of print shop owners are seeing rises in their client bases from adding mobile versions of web-to-print software that can be used on tablet computers or similar devices.
Timeliness and Cost Effectiveness of Web-to-Print Software
Adding a customer interface to an existing print company website is an initial expense, but many print business owners find that it pays for itself rather quickly. Without the minimum print quotas of the recent past, they are able to offer their customers more order flexibility without incurring profit losses. This kind of print-on-demand structure can accommodate small, medium and large print order volumes without delays or extra workflow steps.
Web-to-print software and print services also remove traditional geographic limits for a print company’s customer base. Clients based in different states, regions or even countries can create accounts with a print company that utilizes this technology. They may need to pay higher shipping costs for overseas print orders, but the overall expenses for both the printer and buyer are still lower compared to many orders rendered with traditional printing presses.
Print business owners who offer web-to-print options also eliminate many of the transportation costs that come with using a commercial printing press. They may need to meet with a client for a design consultation in one location and then have the print proofs couriered to the printing press housed in another location.
If a client wants any later changes to the original design, this translates into more face-to-face meetings and wait times for the edits to be rendered. Web-to-print workflows cut out much of this process and move the editing online, giving each customer greater flexibility and final say in the finished print project’s appearance. This web-based print design technology can even allow for last-minute extra orders for customers who realize they did not initially order enough copies.
Web-to-print has helped to bring ecommerce to the print business with excellent results. The easy online availability of editing workspaces for customers is a big selling point because it places more control in their hands, which allows for more personalization from one client to the next. Many business owners across different industries are realizing that a “one-size-fits-all” approach is no longer sufficient for building a lasting customer base. People now want as much customization as possible, particularly for print materials. Print businesses that feature web-to-print options are able to make this happen.