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Getting over the Web to Print Hump for B2B

Guest post by Gershon Alon – HP Indigo partner and workflow solutions manager

 

Getting over the W2P hump for B2B

 

For producers of consumer print applications, the advent of web-to-print (W2P) has been a major boon – a powerful enabler of new applications or growth in existing ones. Online ordering of customized calendars and greeting cards, photo books and invitations, and personalized printing of more novel items such as mugs and magnets, is well-suited to W2P. It’s no surprise that consumer adoption has been fairly strong.

For years, many print service providers looked to W2P to also alleviate some of the challenges of business-to-business (B2B) digital printing. With short and ultra-short print runs, and numerous small jobs in a day, it made sense to harness W2P to streamline ordering, submission and approvals.

 

But many printers have found that convincing business customers to use W2P is quite a challenge, if not downright impossible.

 

Why? In large part, it’s because W2P brings far less value to corporate print buyers than it brings to printing companies.

 

W2P through business eyes – not so great-looking

 

Business customers are typically used to sending emails with instructions and files. With an email they can let their print supplier know they have an order, and from that point on, the responsibility for ensuring all the details and files are in place lies with the printer. This contrasts with web-to-print, which involves more steps and places more responsibility on the customer, requiring that they login to a website, fill out forms, and go through the options for paper and finishing, etc. As well, business customers often like having a contact person who answers questions, accommodates changes, and reassures on deadlines. On top of that, consider that W2P shifts the responsibility for mistakes to print buyers.

 

Seen from the print buyer’s perspective, W2P doesn’t look so great. And, as an industry, we have yet to find the right W2P to change that view.

 

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 Business customers’ preference for email and phone is just one reason that web-to-print is slow to catch on.

 

What’s the issue with emails?

Actually, there are multiple issues. For customer service reps (CSRs), dealing with all the emails and files coming in from disparate sources can be a huge hassle. The whole process is inefficient, inconsistent, and error-prone

  • Data about an order can be spread over many emails and conversations.
  • The job instructions need to be created from the text in the email or multiple emails, so the process cannot be automated.
  • Email attachments have size limitations, so files are often sent by file transfer services like WeTransfer or Dropbox, which means they are not kept together with instructions.
  • The CSR needs to manually download every file or job, validate its content manually, and then copy the files and save them appropriately on the local server.
  • Emails are personal. What happens if the CSR is away?

More than one CSR rep has told me that he spends as much as 80% of his time dealing with emails. Apparently that is typical!

 

What’s a busy print shop to do?

 

Take a look at PrintOS Box – the file exchange application for print that runs on the HP PrintOS cloud-based platform.

 

It’s not W2P; and it’s not email. It’s more like the missing link between the buyer and the print service provider. Corporate print buyers can continue to send emails with queries, info, and orders; and they can continue to send files as email attachments, via Dropbox, WeTransfer and other FTP tools. The big difference is that they send the emails and files to a different address. For example, instead of sending to bob@happyprint.com, they would send everything to happyprint@printosbox.com, or to bob.happyprint@printosbox.com In both cases the content will be visible not only to Bob but also to other CSRs who will ensure the order is processed.

Although it demands minimal change for print buyers, Box can make a big difference for print service providers, particularly in boosting CSR efficiency and getting files into production faster. It provides a seamless experience, no matter where the file comes from, and no matter how and to whom they are sent.

 

  • All communications relating to the file are captured by Box.
  • All the orders and associated correspondence go to one central inbox.
  • File receipt and processing are unified.
  • No file size limitations apply.
  • Preflight check is automated per the customer-defined profile.
  • Files can be imposed without needing to download them to the prepress department.
  • Files can be distributed directly to prepress and production right out of Box.

Onboarding step by step

 

Customer behavior doesn’t change overnight, but it can be changed over time. So, once a customer is comfortable with using Box, it becomes relatively simpler to get them to move to the next stage, to get them to abandon email for file submission. With Easy Submit, a feature built into PrintOS Box, print buyers just upload their files and fill out a short form. It’s still not W2P, but it’s closer.

For print buyers, PrintOS Box has advantages that email just can’t offer. Big files? No problem. Want an ordering history? Easy re-ordering? It’s all right there in Box.

Watch a short clip on how PrintOS Box works for PSPs and their business customers:

And, there’s more info about PrintOS.

 

Share your insight

Leave a comment below to tell us about your experiences with onboarding business customers to W2P, and share your thoughts about getting around the challenges.

Comments
by atmaram
June

http://supportnumbers.net/ thabks for sharing this article....by this post i know about w2P, it is really helpful.

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About the Author
  • I sit at the crossroads of the HP Indigo technology development team and our customers, sharing knowledge and tools that help printing companies continue growing their business. I’ve been immersed in the world of digital printing since 2006, when I joined HP Indigo. In work and life, I’m passionate about old and new media, and the joys of raising four children.
  • I am a word addict. For both business and pleasure writing is my thing. I am a marketing and communications expert and I am here to let you, our reader, know about all things Indigo. From new product launches to how to make the most of your press and inspiring stories and applications from around the world, I'll write it all here, for you to enjoy.
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