We are very happy to welcome back industry expert Matthew Parker. Matthew is the founder of Print and Procurement, a consulting and training company that offers practical print advice for the W2P industry and more. The advice from Matthew within this blog comes from years of industry experience, and years of helping businesses understand how to stand out from their competition – in order to grow revenues.
What type of cheese do you like most?
These days there is a huge choice of cheeses available. A trip to your local supermarket dairy produce shelves offers a massive range of different options. There is everything from bland factory-processed cheddar through to fine artisan cheeses. Whatever your taste in cheese there is something to suit you.
Naturally, there is also a big variety in price points. The standard cheddars usually have a low price. They are one of the most competitive products in the supermarket. The artisan cheeses come at a much higher price point and profit margin.
There’s a lot in common between web-to-print and cheese
Just as with cheeses, there is a big difference between different flavours of web-to-print systems. You can purchase basic level entry systems through to hugely complicated, enterprise level solutions.
We all know what the standard systems do. They are about as interesting as a bland, factory produced cheddar. If you want to stand out when selling web-to-print based solutions you need a solution that is more like an artisan cheese.
A web-to-print system like this means that you can create more unusual solutions that will be more interesting to your customer and more profitable for you. Effectively, you can produce more unusual solutions for your customers: ones that stand out, are valued and come with a higher profit margin.
Naturally, the web-to-print market is constantly developing. Systems are constantly adding new features and services. Here are three areas that are important to look at if you want to be able to offer your clients the types of solution that most companies are looking for these days. The first one is one that isn’t yet thought of as much as it should be.
A good web-to-print system will be optimised for mobile devices
More and more buyers are going mobile these days. This isn’t just consumers: it’s business buyers as well. According to the Demand Gen Report 2016, 82% of buyers use smartphones to access content and 56% use tablets. If you want a system that is going to be used by buyers, then it has to be optimized for these devices.
Incredibly, there are still a large number of web-to-print systems that are not optimized for mobile. It’s also an issue that is often not thought about by people who are purchasing the software. Make sure that this question features on your specification list.
Mobile is simple. The next issue is a little more complicated.
Integration is an important web-to-print trend
These days few web-to-print systems operate on a standalone basis. At the very least you will want a web-to-print system that integrates with your MIS system and production workflow. Remember, web-to-print and personalisation will soon become much more commonplace in the packaging sector. So, if you are planning any activity around packaging, make sure your web-to-print system integrates with packaging focused software as well as commercial print software.
However, integration should cover far more than your own workflows. The right integrations will create new opportunities for you and your customers. A good web-to-print system will synchronise with marketing data and photo libraries. These can create extra opportunities for your customers and extra revenue streams for yourselves.
Finally, consider a web-to-print system that partners with intelligent print recognition systems. These allow you and your customers to create automatic campaigns that generate very impressive audience engagement.
The final area to review when looking at a web-to-print system has nothing to do with software at all.
The right team is as important as the right software
There are many, many printing companies that have purchased a web-to-print system and then failed to sell it successfully. There is a big difference between purchasing a system like this and making sure that it works successfully for you.
Some vendors sell you software and simply walk away. A good web-to-print supplier will help you with the right sales and marketing advice and strategies. They can help you come up with the right potential solutions for your customers. They will also help you create the right sales strategies to give you the best possible chance of making a successful sale.
They can also help you expand into areas where you may not have previous experience. This may give you the opportunity to offer personalised packaging solutions, or to become involved with the B2C sector – or both!
The right help shouldn’t end there. Some companies also help you to offer a more complete solution to your customer. They can help with the right marketing activities for a B2C web-to-print based website. They make sure that the site gets the maximum exposure to the right target audience. They also ensure your business is gaining the most value from the software, through a customer success team that are experts in the print industry (they aren’t just a bunch of tech geeks), and truly understand the clients’ needs and uses of the software.
One example of this is in action was described by Infigo Software’s customer success director, Greg Young. “When I visited a client, it became clear that they were using our Catfish platform’s email notification feature to alert their entire organisation about an order. The web to print software was being used across their entire business systems. Understanding this usage was invaluable for our team and only possible due to the close, active relationships that we have with our clients.”
So how do you actually find the right supplier?
Here are three action points to make sure that you end up with the right web-to-print system, as well as a good software partner.
- Decide how you want to use your web-to-print system. Make a list of the products and services that you want to sell. You might even include the actual prospects.
- List the functionality that the system will need to create the right products and solutions.
- Create a shortlist of web-to-print companies that offer the right functionality.
- Ask for case studies from your shortlist on how they have helped their customers grow their businesses.
Make sure you include Infigo Software’s award winning web-to-print solutions. Naturally, we score well on all the issues covered in this article. We also have all the functionality you would expect in any web-to-print system, as well as a whole host of features that will help you create even more compelling solutions for your clients. We’d love to show you our range of compelling case studies on how our customers have grown their businesses through our web-to-print solutions. We’ll make sure your W2P offering is as keenly valued as an artisan cheese!