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Setting Up Web-To-Print – Is it an Additional Investment or just an incremental Operational Expense?

Setting up web-to-print based online printing storefront sometimes becomes a topic of deep research and discussions. While in fact, it is a simple facility that allows your existing clients to order/ re-order print products.

Web-to-print implementation is often wrongly considered like starting a new business/ new division/ new lead generation tool requiring a huge budget, and where the cost should be directly and immediately connected with the ROI.

Instead, one should remember that the core function of web-to-print technology is also to

  • Serve your existing customer.
  • Provide online digital proof.
  • Reduce your manual file-checking time by implementing basic pre-flight tool.
  • Automate back office administrative tasks such as invoice generation, payment collection and order history maintenance.

Hence, even if the customer doesn’t use all the features, you still can save some time by using the same tool on behalf of the customer.

While all successful businesses need to earn more money than they spend, one also needs to categorize costs as the standard cost to doing business vs. special initiatives that need to deliver its own ROI. To make this point clearer, it’s a given that when print shops invest in digital press, they work out per copy cost and minimum sheets they need to print for achieving breakeven, along with the consideration of other overhead/ infrastructure costs such as rent, salary, electricity and so on.

One cannot say that I could not generate enough business this month, so I will not pay for the electricity I consumed or the team’s salary or the office rent. Point is that certain costs of running a business are fixed unless and until you decide to close down.

The question remains – is setting up web-to-print really a serious investment? Yes, if you are planning to develop it in-house or thinking about outsourcing it to a web development agency by spending a fortune, or hiring a PR agency only to promote it as a separate online venture instead of linking it with your existing printing business. Yes, it will be treated as serious investment where you really need to think twice.

In contrast, if you opt (and seriously start using) a ready to use SAAS (Software As A Service) tool which is hosted on cloud, where your involvement to set-it up with training is hardly a matter of few hours with lots of direct-indirect benefits, the monthly cost can be as less as US$99 to US$299+ without any binding contract or setup fee (though it varies from vendor-to-vendor).

It depends upon how you treat any fixed monthly cost you introduce in your business. Keep in mind the facilities which it will bring to your table, which can be used to provide better services to your client instead of just thinking of it as a separate investment, and directly connecting it with additional revenue it generates from the very first month.

Look at it as cost of an additional service you provide to your customer instead of a serious new investment and connecting it with how much additional revenue you can generate. When you provide additional service or a point of communication which helps an existing customer to order/ re-order, it might help you build customer loyalty, generate more business and reduce administrative tasks.

Our approach is not to hard sell our own tool or solution, but to guide digital and offset printing companies about any tool they are using or trying to invest in. Rest assured, under our free consultancy / call me back request; we only address the questions you raise, without any marketing gimmicks.