Printing Impressions

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Web-to-Print -- Get Clients Invested

March 2009 By Erik Cagle
Senior Editor
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WHAT DO professional golf and Web-to-print have in common? Both make reference to a skins game, where a lot of money is at stake for something that, at first blush, doesn’t seem all that difficult to accomplish. The skill and effort involved are often easily overlooked. 

On the printing end, the skins game is all about charging print buyers for the design, setup and maintenance of customer branded Web-to-print sites, along with the hosting and service fees that printers absorb. It’s about validating (and justifying) the work salespeople put into peddling the technology. It’s about fostering the notion that an investment of dollars must realize an investment of mind and heart—if you really want clients to buy into it, well, make them buy into it.

“Printers seem to think that you have to give everything away,” bemoans Rod Key, founder and CEO of R and R Images in Phoenix, and a veteran at providing customers Web-to-print solutions. “You have to look at its value to clients from a marketing standpoint. The printing part is really easy, but the message and creative may be very important. It’s a solution and, whether you paid $10,000 or $200,000 for it, you need to ask yourself if it makes sense to just give it away.”

So how do you charge for Web-to-print sites? Key points out that volume commitments can do the trick, as can a monthly fee. In some cases, a printer might not mind giving away a Web-to-print solution to a power user that generates a relative high volume of orders. It’s a no-win situation, though, if a sales rep invests too much time into a customer that might end up only placing $300 in orders per month.

Shawn Allison, president of Denver-based Thinking Big Solutions, believes that charging even just a nominal fee is important to get clients fully invested in the Web-to-print life. But, the circle isn’t completed unless a customer can adopt the online approach as its cultural way of getting production done.

“What doesn’t work is when you launch a site and you only have an internal marketing person placing orders for a remote user or franchisee,” Allison says. “They really need to turn over the system, totally and completely, to be successful.”

 
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Most Recent Comments:
Megan Stanton - Posted on October 27, 2009
This is a great article! We (Service Printers of Duluth) had to ask ourselves the same questions when looking into implementing online printing services. We decided to go for it and have set up our own online print center as well as a branded print center for a client, with yet another branded web2print solution in the works for our biggest client. It's been a bumpy ride, but we're only in our 6th month of implementation and we are expecting our digital printing press to see more action in the coming months.
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Archived Comments:
Megan Stanton - Posted on October 27, 2009
This is a great article! We (Service Printers of Duluth) had to ask ourselves the same questions when looking into implementing online printing services. We decided to go for it and have set up our own online print center as well as a branded print center for a client, with yet another branded web2print solution in the works for our biggest client. It's been a bumpy ride, but we're only in our 6th month of implementation and we are expecting our digital printing press to see more action in the coming months.