During one of the consultation sessions with a giant printing house providing multiple printing solutions in India, the owner gave me some valuable insights. “I lost a big business since I refused to cater to a small order of 100 business cards,” he remarked. This loss evoked in him the desire to really understand how web to print (W2P) works in the B2C or retail realm.
He pointed out that he was neither interested nor capable of venturing into retail online printing business; however, he wanted a presence in the segment. This was to avoid turning away customers based on their size in future. He realised that while they might be small, they could bring in regular printing orders.
This was a noteworthy point he put forward, though unknowingly. It led us to start asking printing companies who had web to print storefront in place – either by choice or by chance – or just for its appeal, about the results.
The company started small, with a digital press, and did not require an initial investment of more than US$ 22000 for a press and about US$ 8000 for other finishing items. Their focus was on printing employee ID and plastic cards.
With plastic cards alone, they made a profit even though the cost was on the higher side for small orders of single ID cards and minimum five luggage tags. (They especially got a tremendous response from travel agents and tour operators.)
After these results, we went ahead and started talking to non-printing companies who invested in W2P solutions, though by outsourcing their print orders. They said they were running this web2print powered online solution for more than four years, and now they started seeing tremendous results. Those who ordered business cards online for US$ 3 for 100 cards have now entrusted them with packaging orders for US$ 10000. They remain focused, dedicated and persistent despite the losses faced in the initial three years or so. This example brings us back to what the owner of the printing house said, “I lost big business as I refused to cater to 100 business cards.”
This encouraged us more to associate with owners of online printing stores. They revealed to us, that although it did not bring new business, they experienced huge surge in business from existing customers.
We finally approached someone who has been running a business much before the aforementioned printing house, even in the days when stock exchange money came to India. What they said initially sounded negative but what they were disclosing was amazing and unbelievable! They made heavy losses during the initial four years, but now they feel they are at the point when it will lift their business to great heights in near future.
They are now known to cater to 25000 dedicated clients who have regular printing requirements. Moreover, their online print order volume is on the rise. Clients who were trying online printing site with 100 business cards are now sending retail orders of minimum US$ 200 at any given point in time. They are extremely satisfied with the overall online printing service and the cost does not affect them much either.
They are so impressed with this online printing method that thousands of them have put them on their preferred vendor list! It is amazing how those who were not into printing gained valuable trust and more deals compared to those who are already in the print business!
It is high time to start thinking; though we would also like you to refer What's Selling? Printing, or Just Web to Print Solutions?