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Purchasing a Web-to-Print Solution

You purchase software to solve business problems. When evaluating software, keep your focus on the challenges you want to solve. This will keep you open-minded about all the possible ways your challenges might be solved, rather than attachment to one specific solution.


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About Jennifer Matt

Jennifer Matt is the managing editor of WhatTheyThink’s Print Software section as well as President of Web2Print Experts, Inc. a technology-independent print software consulting firm helping printers with web-to-print and print MIS solutions.


By Trevor Cocks on Jan 22, 2020

Love it!... I've been banging on about this stuff for years.

B2C is NOT a magic bullet, buying a B2C web solution is the easy bit, it's what happens next that is the hard (and expensive work).

B2B is a logical step and adds value for you and your customers... "locking" them in. When used right (sold - yes demoed by the printer!) can attract NEW business contracts etc. It's a key differentiator that can be used to great advantage - a USP.

The mentality of most B2C buyers is driven by price - nothing more - quality & service are a given, or at least the expectation is lowered as the price goes down.

You end up with lots of "one-off" low-value, low-margin jobs - with little customer loyalty or repeat business. If you have to "touch" those jobs in any way by human hands you start to lose money - how many are truly fully automated?

In the B2C world you are up against the giants in this sector, who have multi-million $ budgets to spend on SEO and web advertising. You will initially be "invisible" - and don't think that "local" customers will prefer to use you... they wouldn't be searching the internet to buy print in the first place if they wanted to deal locally - the whole point is they "don't care" where you are.

I agree it is best to get fully up and running with a B2B solution BEFORE considering a move into B2C.

Don't delude yourself that those B2C orders don't COST money, they are a "bonus", the "cream on the cake" - they're not, they are some of the most expensive orders you will ever win. So then you clog up your production facility with loads of low-value non-profit B2C jobs from customer you'll never see again because they're only celebrating their 50th ONCE - and are start letting down your existing retained customers - Is that good business?


By Mark Myers on Jan 22, 2020

Wow... We at Estimatorcloud.com have been preaching this for a long time...

The problem with existing B2C solutions is that they are all geared specifically to the customers predetermined list of printing needs...So how about this...

The customer logs on the printer’s site, can select from a template and place his order ... but what if he wants something different?...

How about if he can order any quantity of any item he builds from scratch and when he accepts the price ... ALL of the printer’s workflow items are completed... from Job-Tickets all the way through invoicing without any intervention except to accept the order.

A truly start-to-finish solution for any size item and any configuration on any stock... this is the real industry game changer we have developed... and we offer a live demo and complete setup for the client to test...

I know it sound like a commercial but we have been developing this for 2-years and would like to offer it as a beta for the 1st 10 WhatTheyThink members to test for the rest of the year.
Mark L Myers 203-682-6436


By Naresh Bordia on Jan 23, 2020

Right to the point and very well explained.

This is the case with Printers already using multiple w2p & online platforms. Since 2008 we are offering Web-to-Print at OnPrintShop.

Every Prospect we come across, when we ask what is the percentage of orders you get online vs offline(email/Chat). It ranges from 10% to maximum 30%.

So there is a big chunk of B2B/Existing client orders/Quote request they still manage via Email/Phone and manual entering in to MIS and sending quotes. Also we found many Printers upsell their finished products specially promotional on Amazon. So they also fulfill orders as seller on Amazon.

Recently we have launched module called One-Click Automation to push offline email/phone orders in to Web-to-Print which creates all user accounts, orders, job tickets, files in minutes vs seconds

With the help of this, Many Printers have achieved 70 to 90% orders online for existing B2B, Resellers & walkin clients on Web-to-Print


By Robert Godwin on Jan 23, 2020

"online ordering for B2B customers is the new differentiator." Yes, I love to pick out the gems in your articles, and the quoted sentence is one. Beyond convenience, business strives to reduce as much back office tasking as is possible. B2B software integration SHOULD provide for a punch-out of some sort into a medium to large company's procurement system. The reporting is real time. For the customer’s accounts payable and inventory status this is crucial.
One company in the hospital/health care sector relies on its print provider to manage the inventory for them for their mass mailings of plan changes and appointments. Envelopes, for instance, have to be in inventory for a mailing to be scheduled. And, they have to be the exact right type of envelope. Sound easy? It is not. B2B integration makes keeping track of these things efficient, reliable, and in real time. It also adds a service, which may not actually be printing, to the product portfolio. Oh, did I mention MIS integration????????


By Nidhi Agrawal on Jan 27, 2020

Right blog at the right time. It's the start of the year and ending of a decade that challenged the viability of print. And now everyone in the industry has to be ready for an overhaul because "either you grow or die a slow death". And none of the printers want it any other way than beating the odds.

So yes, focus on B2B is the catch. Printers should not only try to make print ordering easy for their customers but also enable one-click re-ordering. Allowing customers to have their online artwork repository with the ability to edit artwork before ordering will shorten the ordering cycle. And on top of that, with an efficient web-to-print solution, you can offer pre-configured editable private design templates locking corporate brand elements for print consistency.

In addition, a strategic focus on niche B2S/B2C customers with the self-service portal can help in accepting short-run jobs to utilize in-time between big jobs and reduce idle machine time. As Jen said, a web-to-print solution that serves both customer segments is a huge advantage.

Online printing may not sound relevant, given early failed attempts, but its soon going to work as a major influencer on bringing customers to your business, whether online or offline. Times are changing, and so should everyone selling prints.



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