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What's Selling? Printing, or Just Web to Print Solutions?

Technology jargon and buzz words like Online Printing, Print On Demand, Web to Print, W2P, Digital Short Run Printing, Online Storefront, Online Design Tools, Online Ordering Systems, Online Proofing, Digital Asset Management, etc. lead printing companies to copy technology blindly. Huge investments are made, without actually understanding the online model of printing.
Refer to our post on Web to Print Rush.

Web to Print (W2P) solutions are implemented primarily to cater to existing customers by giving them an option to place online orders using technology. Meanwhile, if promoted well, it can also generate printing orders from new / first time customers from any corner of the city / country. In fact, orders can be generated from any part of the world!

So what’s selling and who's making money? W2P solution providers, consultants, technologists? Or the actual end user of this technology – digital and offset printing companies? Yes, there's a lot of money involved. But apparently at this stage, if more printing orders are not generated, where is the real profit for a printing company? The answer lies in this post.

The message for printing companies is very clear – don’t rush to adopt this technology blindly. Plan, do some basic research, understand the options offered by different W2P vendors, ascertain the capital expense and the monthly operating expense, and other hidden costs, if any, to run and manage the show. Prepare the list of items you need to be ready with even before you think of starting an online printing store. Most importantly, ask yourself “why do I really want to go online?”

You may want to go online just because the whole industry is moving online or e-commerce is spreading like a wildfire in every part of the world. Or, maybe you really understand its need with clear goals for your printing company.

To help you understand Web to Print better, we have covered multiple posts on the subject that you can go through. Once you are clear that you want to go for an online solution, prepare a checklist. Never approach a vendor without a checklist, or they will sell you a solution that you may never be able to implement, but you end up paying a heavy, one-time setup fee for it anyway! While the deal will be done, your vendor will earn money, not you.

Refer our Web to Print Checklist post and our two-part article on Web to Print! Is it a tool for running an Online Print Store? Or a tool to engage existing customers?

Understand your available options and decide whether you want to go for a one-time dedicated solution, where you may end up paying a fortune along with a heavy annual maintenance charge (AMC). Whether or not you earn from this, your vendor makes a lot of money for sure. To understand the trade secret on how things work, refer SAAS v/s Dedicated Web to Print Solution.

While this might mean a lot of references and reading, it is definitely worth it. It helps to understand the significance of a goal, equip your existing customers with technological order methods while maintaining the cost, keep a checklist and learn tips to avoid heavy investments.

Opt for an all-in-one solution in the range of US$ 99-250 a month, all-inclusive, with no hidden costs, setup fee or binding contracts, while providing training and support. Many vendors may have complex options and varied costs that could take you by surprise.

Cost of professional W2P technology should not cost you more than your regular utility bills. Learn how to generate more print runs using self-sustained W2P solution, instead of spiking vendor profits!