Do I really need a Web2Print solution?

By Ali Jaffar, VP Technology Syncoms (EFI Certified Integration Partner)

This article is an abstract from the upcoming book ‘The Definitive Web2Print Sales Manual’ scheduled to be released in March 2021.

“…delivers an essential and invaluable understanding of Web2Print”

Brian McBride, Former CEO – Amazon UK.

Do I really need a Web2Print solution? In a word, Yes. Web2Print is necessary. If you do not have your own platform at the moment, you need to stop reading right now and go out and get one. Then pick up back here. Don’t worry, I’ll wait. Why do you need one? Because your competitors already have one, so if you don’t, your competition will approach your customers with their Web2Print platform and you will lose the customer. Hence my advice. If you’re one of those without Web2Print at the moment and you’re procrastinating, I would say that you need to take action immediately, before the end of this sentence: go out and invest in a Web2Print platform of your own. If you were questioning this as a purchase decision, don’t. It’s a sound investment.

Why you need Web2Print I touched on this subject briefly previously, but you may have asked, “Yes, but why do our competitors have it?” Simply put, Web2Print ringfences the customer and it simplifies the ordering process. The former point is possibly the most important – how many customers have you lost, simply because your contact moved on to pastures new, and the replacement had their own print relationships already in place? With Web2Print in their organization, the new person simply continues with the same processes that the former person left in place. In the absence of a Web2Print platform, you leave the relevant account vulnerable to takeover. It is far easier to switch print supplier than to switch an entire Web2Print platform. People come and go, but tech generally remains!

Do I need a B2C or B2B solution? If you are just in the process of investing, or having invested, in a Web2Print platform, then I strongly advise that you do stick with B2B as your sales focus, as that is essentially where the most opportunity lies. A B2C platform could be used for existing customers that order general printed collateral. Do not expect new customers to arrive at your website simply because you have a B2C offering. When it comes to B2C, there are significant barriers to entry. These barriers are not insurmountable, but it is a time-consuming process to overcome them. Unless you have a very niche product, or you are already in the B2C world, I find that most printers tend to struggle to get a B2C foothold – but when it comes to B2B, they’re effective!

That is not to say that Web2Print isn’t for B2C – it is, and a lot can be achieved with it. It is simply to say that Web2Print is much more effective as a B2B tool due to the strong incumbent competitors in B2C. These are simply my own experiences of the marketplace – you may already have a cult-sized B2C following, in which case, none of this would apply. If, however, you are having this internal debate, it is unlikely that this is your circumstance, in which case I recommend picking one and sticking with it, as opposed to trying to mix’n’match.

Why is my Web2Print solution failing? Internal challenges: Very often, it happens that decision-makers may invest in a Web2Print platform without being very diplomatic about it, when it comes to internal stakeholders. Web2Print automates.

Sales personnel: Web2Print is designed to automate processes that sales professionals are used to undertaking. Web2Print automates a significant portion of their role. If you suddenly implement a Web2Print platform, your sales personnel may get a bit nervous because if anyone can order online, what’s going to happen to them?

You have to reassure your sales personnel that they are not going to be made redundant, that you aren’t seeking to fire them – you’re seeking to empower them, so that rather than taking orders, they can meet with their clients, add value and carry out all the human interactions that personalize a sales relationship and ensure your customers remain your customers. You are not seeking to fire these people: you are seeking to empower them. They are worth, both to you and to your business, much more than simply undertaking tasks that are, in fact, so low level, that they can be so easily automated.

Often, sales personnel can be reluctant to sell Web2Print, because they are insecure about their own position.

Plan, plan and plan some more. Sometimes, people say to me, “Look! My Web2Print strategy is failing!” Often, I have to tell them that perhaps it fails because there isn’t a strategy in place, at all! Perhaps we aren’t training our sales team to sell Web2Print properly. Perhaps we aren’t attending the right webinars or don’t have the right resources. The Web2Print solution itself is not failing – the implementation of it is.

Manage your great expectations.

The most common question I hear from printers is, “What am I going to get for my investment?” When I’m on-site, carrying out training of sales teams, the first thing I get asked is usually some variation on this theme. Let me break down some ROI-related arguments and the answers I have discovered.

Set reasonable ROI expectations Customer retention in an eCommerce environment is one of the most sought-after miracles and Web2Print delivers it as part of its service to your end users. In real terms, it means the customer is comfortable with you, with the ordering process and with the Web2Print platform itself. They are, therefore, unlikely to move away. What is your customer worth to you? If you lose that customer, you will be losing out by $x amount of sales but by sticking your customer to you with your Web2Print platform, you will get a return on your investment. This is an aspect of ROI that business owners can sometimes fail to comprehend and fully appreciate.

About the author – Ali Ridha Jaffar

Ali’s experience in eCommerce spans over 15 years and covers a range of enterprises from web design overhauls to marketing automation consulting. Having pioneered the Web2Print initiative at the Syncoms Group, Ali transformed the commercial print division from a traditional printing company, to a specialist tech firm, delivering advanced Web2Print implementations. Under Ali’s stewardship, the Syncoms Group has on-boarded a range of significant clients, ranging from government institutions to NASDAQ and Fortune-500 companies. When not traveling the world, spreading the word about digital storefronts, print management services and automation through webinars, blogging, and speaking engagements, Ali is a family man who enjoys spending time with his wife and three children –