This article is sponsored by Design ‘N’ Buy as part of WhatTheyThink's Print Software Product Spotlight series. In preparing this article, the WhatTheyThink Print Software Section editors conducted original, in-depth research on Design ‘N’ Buy’s product suite. This Product Spotlight describes what the editors feel are the product suite’s strengths in the marketplace. Design ‘N’ Buy reviewed the final article for accuracy but had no editorial control over the content.

Web-to-print is defined in many ways, one of the more common definitions of web-to-print is “print e-commerce”. We all know that selling print online is not as simple as selling widgets off the shelf. You can’t simply license a generic e-commerce solution and expect the accurate capture of your customers’ requirements, personalization, and the reliable delivery of file assets into your custom manufacturing production system. Your web-to-print needs to solve two core challenges, the challenge of e-commerce and the unique challenge of selling print online.

Most web-to-print vendors sell direct to printers so the focus naturally tends toward the “print” part of print e-commerce and not so much on the “commerce part”. Remember web-to-print isn’t for the printer, it’s for the printer’s customer so we need to make sure that we prioritize the needs of the printer’s customers OVER the needs of the printer. If your customers don’t adopt web-to-print, there is nothing to automate or make easier for the printer. The customer’s needs are always the most important because their adoption is absolutely required for success.

Design ‘N’ Buy took a different strategy for getting to market with a print-enabled e-commerce solution. They left the e-commerce part to the open-source community by proactively integrating with the most popular open source e-commerce platforms including Magento, nopCommerce, PrestaShop and OpenCart. In addition to these “proactive” integrations, the solution can of course be integrated into any custom solution. This is a very interesting strategy because it allows Design ‘N’ Buy to avoid building and maintaining all the “expected” functionality of traditional e-commerce. The open source community around these four solutions is vibrant, active, and constantly moving the platforms forward. Design ‘N’ Buy simply makes these platforms “web-to-print” ready through their out-of-the-box integration.

Because the e-commerce ecosystem is constantly evolving; I see this strategy as a strength of Design ‘N’ Buy because they are delivering the value of these platforms to you without additional costs (open-source is free). Through Design ‘N’ Buy integration with all these solutions, you benefit from their expertise on the specific platform you choose. This is a best of both worlds scenario, a trusted partner to call for support while utilizing a vibrant open-source platform.

Each printer has different needs and most importantly each printer has varying degrees of access to technical resources, one product does not fit all printers. Some printers have robust technical resources who could choose to develop their own solution and simply license and integrate Design ‘N’ Buy’s PrintCommerce plug-in. This would enable personalization of products within any existing storefront. On the other end of the spectrum, some printers prefer a single, out of the box solution that includes complete functionality (e.g. support for multiple stores, online quoting, preflight, and multi-vendor management etc.) all in single solution.  For this situation Design ‘N’ Buy built out a complete web-to-print package called All-In-One Designer on top of Magento’s Community Edition.

With the advent of the “shared-economy” and crowd sourcing, Design ‘N’ Buy’s third product offering enables you to create marketplace where you can connect buyers, designers, printers, and resellers/brokers. Most solutions like this in the market today have been built from the ground up which takes time, expertise, and money. With this product from Design ‘N’ Buy you can launch a marketplace and put all your focus on building your community rather than writing code. 

There are many ways to get to market with a web-to-print solution, there are always different ways to solve the same problem. I’m a big fan of defining the customer challenges you want to solve and then finding the right “pieces” of the puzzle to solve them. You don’t necessarily have to build all the pieces; most new software solutions out there are mashups of several pieces of technology integrated together to solve specific business challenges. Web-to-print needs to continue to evolve as customers demand to order more and more complex products in a self-service fashion, e-commerce continues to evolve as customers rely more and more on their mobile devices as their primary connected device. Anything vendors can do to keep up with this constantly evolving ecosystem gives them an advantage. One of Design ‘N’ Buy’s advantages is their ability to incorporate best of breed open source e-commerce into their solutions.

To learn more about’s Print Software Product Spotlights, please contact Jennifer Matt, Print Software Section Editor at [email protected].