Web to Print Continues to Evolve
One of the biggest myths about the printing industry is that its’ yesterdays technology or “old media.” Having worked in the printing industry for some 20 years now I can assure you that there are very few industries that have evolved and adapted to change as much as print has. At the heart of this adaptability is a willingness to seek out new technology and production methods to make print communication more accessible and relevant to our customers. One area that has made significant advancements in the past few years is in web based print ordering portals, often referred to as Web to print (W2P).
A lot of people would be familiar with web based ordering systems from vendors using a secure login and the typical shopping cart- proceed to check out web- based buying experience. Quite often these systems would spit out an order via email to the printer from the customer to be logged into the printers system manually. Within the industry these solutions were often referred to as “web to email” or even worse “web to nowhere”.
Having been involved in developing and installing web based portals for our customers since the early 2000’s we have often felt the disappointment, pain and frustration of knowing that the whole experience could be so much better for our customers and for ourselves. Thankfully there has been much progress in the functionality of such systems in recent years.
Today there are secure web based systems that can allow marketers and procurement to work collaboratively across many areas of marketing communications. Today not only can web to print handle the ordering and reporting upon all of your print collateral but it can also be extended to include the design, editing, proofing, storage and distribution of digital assets.
Web to print systems today have also evolved to allow the user to upload, edit, proof and go to print on many standard template brochures. Real estate agents for example could have user defined templates editable with pictures and copy details for each new house listed for sale and brochures set up to reflect corporate approved branding guidelines.
The benefits for the customer can be numerous such as time saved, ensuring brand conformity, fully transparent reporting and audit trails, 24/7 access from anywhere along with clear line of sight of all collateral that is used across their business. Many web to print systems can now be fully integrated with the printers MIS system further reducing lead times and human touch points. This will enable many simple and repetitive tasks to be automated and deliver correct press ready artwork direct to the printers’ output device.
If you wish to know more about how web to print solutions can make your companies print collateral more effective we would love to hear your thoughts.