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Wed, Feb

WISH YOU HAD W2P?

WISH YOU HAD W2P?

Is Web-to-print part of your service offering or are you one of the many wide-format print producers who see no value in it? If you're the latter, you're missing out.

There's a certain reluctance among large-format printers to use W2P - largely because it's felt it drives prices down, there's a preference to do bespoke business on a face-to-face basis and there are concerns over the level on cash and commitment it will require. But online is how many of your potential customers want to do business, so are you dismissing it too readily? Here's what five print companies have to say about their experiences with W2P.

(1) Do you have a Web-to-print solution?

Mike Harvey
Marketing director, Service Point

Service Point has had a W2P solution for 15 years plus. It has been squarely aimed at wide-format users and specifically designed (in-house) to marry: management and transfer of large files; order tracking; print at the point of need via our distributed national/global network and most importantly, convenience to our customers. We have models that include payment online plus bespoke and templated ability with real time proofing.

The key is having a team dedicated to matching client need, their existing internal online capability/infrastructure for securing good quality contracted business blended with pay-as-you-go options for incremental sales. The critical point is understanding file formats, compression and colour management. What excites us most is working with vendors on the development of the W2P solutions and supporting major manufacturers in the creation of W2P workflow solutions.

Gary Peeling
Managing director, Precision Printing

We have been using web to print system on various platforms for the last ten years, mainly for our key product areas of marketing printing and business stationery. Digital large-format is a new product for us but this is also benefiting from the advantages W2P delivers - from on-demand items from virtual catalogues or customised via templates with on-line immediate proofing. In addition, data files can be uploaded by the user to create short variable data print projects. The latest generation of systems also allow bespoke projects to be estimated, uploaded and progressed into automated production.
 
Our W2P systems create a client user network which enables brands to quickly inject new items into use, doing in days what would have taken weeks, ensuring that materials in the physical sales spaces integrate perfectly with activity on-line, in the press and above the line. The brand and budget is protected centrally while allowing local managers to select the materials they feel will work best for them.

Matteo Rigamonti
Founder, pixart.it

Yes. We began with in-house written software and we have continually improved it so that by January 2010 we had a fully web integrated program that allows customers to follow their workflow in real time, find old invoices etc.

Gerald Costello
Joint managing director, Pelican Print and Design

Pelican was a fairly early adopter of W2P and bought the Red Tie system in 2007. It is capabable of receiving online payment although currently we don't receive any payments in this way. We have a variety of clients using the system for both templated and non templated work. A mixture of digital small- and large-format work goes through the system with one major client using it exclusively for large-format work.

Owen Russell
Joint founder and director, Digital Plus

We have just launched a brand new website within the last two months which offers a W2P service with the ability to upload images. In order to access the W2P service the client is required to enter a username and password to create an account. Payment is required to be paid online via the HSBC secure server or Paypal. The site is not template based nor offers real time proofing, however this may become necessary for a future updates should demand require.


(2) If so, has your W2P offering brought you new business?

Mike Harvey
Marketing director, Service Point

Yes - from within existing accounts and new prospects, has opened new markets and has allowed Service Point to become an essential element in helping clients achieve their business objectives. The new type of work has been from multi-sited organisations seeking to simplify ordering, single point print management and control brand. The work has been more personliased and has been more time sensitive - i.e. we have become a safety net to clients needing more time in the design/pre-print phase. We have also secured work from global regions who are looking to add the 'sustainability' dimension to of their print be negating the need for traditional logistics.

Gary Peeling
Managing director, Precision Printing

In the last six months almost all the new contracts we have secured have been based on W2P on-demand solutions. These include national and European contracts for three well know automotive brands and two IT companies as well as support for leading on-line photo gift brands.

Matteo Rigamonti
Founder, pixart.it

For pixart.it W2P is the only business - we don't accept mail, fax or voice orders.

Gerald Costello
Joint managing director, Pelican Print and Design

W2P has delivered two major clients. Partnering one of our customers we have been successful in securing a three-year contract with a major travel group for all its print - the key factor being our online solution. We will be producing bi weekly large-format poster campaigns delivered to 95 stores nationwide using the site as well as up to 20,000 business cards a week (40-50 names) all delivered to us by the system. Our W2P is giving us a strong USP and opening new doors with prospective clients. We see it as a key element in our sales and marketing strategy.

Owen Russell
Joint founder and director, Digital Plus

As yet new business from the site as only been forthcoming by email or phone.


(3) What do you say to detractors of W2P?

Mike Harvey
Marketing director, Service Point

W2P reduces business costs/processes and the need for human intervention, freeing the printer for better face-to-face interaction when required. W2P costs are reflected in our own ability to adapt what`s in the marketplace system-wise.W2P is an essential option for the customer and a key tool to lock in business. A detractor of W2P has no aspirations to give customers what they most crave - choice.

 

Gary Peeling
Managing director, Precision Printing

Anything that helps push more vibrant and creative marketing into the physical sales environment can only be a good thing can't it? When we consider the competition from virtual media and electronic display, speed to market is essential.

Matteo Rigamonti
Founder, pixart.it

It's the simple fear of the unknown. The bespoke business is often expensive both for the seller and the customer.  What I say to W2P detractors is that things change and we must change with them.

Gerald Costello
Joint managing director, Pelican Print and Design

I find this attitude puzzling. I spoke at a W2P seminar recently, urging the large-format community to seriously consider W2P solutions. The way in which we deal with our clients is changing. Increasingly customers wish to deal with their suppliers over the Internet in every kind of business. Why should large-format print be any different! The price of print in general has fallen over the past five to ten years and yes the Internet is 'to blame' to some extent. Large-format print delivered by a W2P system should be seen as part of the mix along with work received by more traditional means at possibly higher margins.

Owen Russell
Joint founder and director, Digital Plus

Within the industry W2P is largely responsible for driving down the unit cost of certain products. The customer mentality when buying online is to expect whatever they want to be cheaper than when dealing with a supplier face to face. We are advocates of the simplest form of W2P - i.e. the ordering of popups, posters and banners as these are usually standard sizes and easy to provide within any online service. Most other wide-format requirements would be for bespoke work and not easily catered for via W2P.

(4) What do you see as W2P's current failings?

Mike Harvey
Marketing director, Service Point

Current failings include systems that are too complex for the customer need. Transparent pricing models (via a modular approach) and long-term development plans for W2P solutions is what the sector requires.

Gary Peeling
Managing director, Precision Printing

Mistakes have been made in the past - selling on the basis of reducing creative cost is one. For these systems to deliver their true potential they ultimately need to be driven by the creative sector and not the procurement one. The key will be showing brands and the creative sector the opportunities for results and revenue.

Matteo Rigamonti
Founder, pixart.it

W2P is very attractive - perhaps too much so. Pixart.it gets 60 - 90 new customers from around Europe per day using only W2P ordering. This is the main W2P failing for us - it grows too fast!

Gerald Costello
Joint managing director, Pelican Print and Design

The only failing I currently see is the relatively few number of suppliers offering systems. As the technology develops the general ease of use will improve (though it's not rocket science now). The prices of systems will level off which will hopefully encourage smaller firms to make the investment.

Owen Russell
Joint founder and director, Digital Plus

We are questioning the addition of our W2P service as we believe the majority of customers requiring large-format do not upload their images and often the artwork will require proofing so some contact is needed. We have however included within the customer account section of our site, a form of FTP service which will allow the customer to upload up to 100Mb files. To make W2P more attractive to large-format print a much clearer form of online proofing with customisable templates and more client education would go a long way.

(5) Would you be as successful as you are without W2P?

Mike Harvey
Marketing director, Service Point

No. And we are already developing W2P v2 as a central driver to our future local, national and global ambitions to support clients onsite, offsite and online.

Gary Peeling
Managing director, Precision Printing

My 23 years in print production has been a story of technological evolution. W2P is just the latest leg, but I believe a pivotal one, in that journey.

Matteo Rigamonti
Founder, pixart.it

Absolutely no, in terms of growth, payments, cashflow and even customers satisfaction. Pixart.it doubled its turnaround almost every year for five years and slowed down (from +50% to +35% growth) in the past two or three years only because of the international crisis and a chronic lack of space. W2P has been a wonderful discovery and the way to print in the 21st century.

Gerald Costello
Joint managing director, Pelican Print and Design

W2P has added a new dimension and delivered considerable amounts of new business. Without a doubt it has been one of the best decisions we have made. Print has become commoditised to a large degree. Producers must look at new ways of working with their clients and attracting new business. I predict that W2P will be a standard means of working for most graphics businesses within the next five years.

Owen Russell
Joint founder and director, Digital Plus

We consider Digital Plus to have been very successful over the last decade without offering a W2P service. However, in today's marketplace it's necessity to offer choice - both W2P and the more traditional personal service.




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