Jan 8, 2013
When web-to-print first entered the market with the onset of eCommerce in the 1990s, it was defined as a commercial prepress process that bridges the gap between digital content online and commercial print production. In the most basic terms, web-to-print was used to assist in facilitating the process for Internet based job ordering, submission, tracking, and collaboration. Now a few decades later, web-to-print vendors have expanded upon their original offerings. Originally for the e-enablement of businesses processes, web-to-print now goes beyond, to assist in the creation and tracking of multi-channel marketing campaigns, maintaining brand consistency, and acting as a connector between other online services.
Web-to-print vendors have been working towards expanding their solutions to facilitate the process of delivering multi-channel marketing services. Instead of having to invest in a new solution, print service providers can enable multi-channel services by integrating into a previously existing storefront, through professional services. After integration, the web-to-print storefront can be used for multi-channel campaigns to automate the delivery of pURLs, email blasts, and mailings. Print service providers can offer dashboards for campaign managers and their customers for monitoring and tracking campaign results. The providers can work with customers to make on-the-fly adjustments to receive higher response rates.
Solutions are also being expanded upon to assist in ensuring brand consistency. Maintaining brand management across multiple assets consistently can be quite challenging, especially when you are delivering products/campaigns across multiple media channels. The benefits of using a web-to-print solution to assist with brand management include; streamlining interaction between stakeholders, reducing the costs of complex and time-consuming workflows, minimizing legal risks, and saving money through automation.
Another advancement that we have seen in the web-to-print space is the development of support within solutions for the mobile enablement, via smartphones and tablets, for services that are typically offered online. Most mobile interfaces are delivered through a mobile optimized website or native mobile application, allowing customers to virtually proof and approve jobs, review order status, and even conduct mobile commerce by ordering print products from their mobile device.
To reflect the most recent advancements in the web-to-print market we recently updated the InfoTrends Ultimate Guide Online to Web-to-Print solutions, to provide additional insight about the new features and functionalities that have been added to solutions in the market. Some of the new product information that we have collected includes information about mobile support; ordering processing from inventory and history; integration methods with preflighting systems, and social media platforms for inbound and outbound message delivery; and workflow advancements for rules-based job routing, and batch and hold “like” orders. Additionally, to reflect the changes in the industry we have also added new solutions to the Ultimate Guide. Some of the solutions that we have added include, Keen Systems – Keen, HP Hiflex Web-to-Print, and Prisme Technologies – Print SYS.
Sign up for online access to our recently updated Ultimate Guide to Web-to-Print solutions here.
More blogs from Christopher Little