Web-to-Print : Hard Lessons Learned

According to Joe Novak, president of BFC, the company has roughly 100 active sites that it maintains for clients, and each day brings new customer requests for updates and changes. The value proposition, he says, is the printer’s ability to offer those tools beyond the staid letterhead/business card/envelope offerings.

Best Types of Clients

“The verticals that really do well with these types of products are companies that have extended sales networks,” Novak points out. “That includes franchise groups with franchisees, insurance companies and health care organizations that have agents and brokers, and manufacturing companies with distributors and dealers. These tools fit very well within that model.”

All of BFC’s clients are taking advantage of the printer’s W2P offerings in some shape or form. “Quite frankly, we wouldn’t have those customers today if we didn’t offer the technology,” the company’s president says. “The technology allows us to change the way that they do business. Once you help them make that change—and it’s your tool that they’re using—it also makes it really difficult for them to go anywhere else.”

BFC has four online managers minding the store and four IT developers who built the proprietary systems. Document Manager, Kit Manager and My Campaign—like the basic W2P system—arose out of conversations with clients regarding solutions that would make life easier for them.

The biggest challenge for Novak and his team is dealing with customer requests to hyper-customize their systems. That taxes the printer from an internal resources standpoint, and Novak is careful to ensure that BFC is billing the clients appropriately. Plus, in order to better manage these new programs, BFC created a development platform that was costly, challenging and time-consuming.

And, when the tool shed is finally complete, the work doesn’t end there. It’s up to Novak and his sales team to market the capabilities to clients in terms that can be easily understood, and appreciated.

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  • oleg koshevoy

    impressive articles but as for me client first must understand that current model of his bussiness is old

  • David S.

    You make no mention of companies like Etailogic who are offering turnkey w2p solutions that make it easy for little guys like me to sell online. W2P is no longer just for the big boys. As technology improves, solutions become abundant and get cheaper. Our web store cost us less than$1000 complete, contrast that to companies paying millions, yet we’re all offering pretty much the same products. I do my share of business and I’m happy with it. Despite all the competition, I’ve built my entire customer base online and I work everyday to build off it.