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SELLING ON THE WEB -- Internet Enabled

September 2001
BY CAROLINE MILLER


If you want it done right, then you need to do it yourself. In light of the recent demise of many ASP e-procurement solutions in the graphic arts industry, that old adage seems to be gaining more and more popularity. And one printer that has put that "can-do" attitude to the test is Lynn Johnson, of Dallas-based Buchanan Visual Communications.

Two years ago, Johnson—Buchanan's vice president of sales and a former systems analyst—saw the need to offer clients an online presence. The $26 million sheetfed, web and digital printer wanted to revamp how it conducted business with its clients, recalls Johnson.

"We're very committed to making it really easy to do business with us. We actually redesigned all of our business processes from the outside in and our Website was an intricate part of that process," she says.

But there was a problem. The ASP models that were available didn't seem to fully meet the needs of Buchanan's customers.

"There are some wonderful ASP models out there and I've recommended certain aspects of those ASPs to others. But we didn't feel that they could fully address our needs. We found that they didn't solve all the needs of our customers. They were more focused on how a printer does business internally. Others were a day too late and a dollar too much. The intermediates seemed more focused on buying instead of developing relationships," Johnson remarks.

Technology Integrator
So instead of signing on with an ASP, Buchanan chose to become an integrator of technology. Johnson chooses best-of-breed technologies and then integrates those technologies into her company's Website.

For example, Buchanan decided to work with Twelve Horses, a Web-based literature management and deployment service that combines electronic messaging with traditional print services. Buchanan will create for its clients a virtual literature rack that acts as a digital storehouse for business literature. Twelve Horses also offers Messagemaker, which enables personalized customer ommunications using e-mail.

Buchanan's clients now have a variety of options at their fingertips. Currently, customers can build profiles at the Website, as well as see their orders in eight different languages, FTP a file, get advice on how to prepare a file for submission and manage their digital assets, Soon, clients will also be able to order, proof and track jobs via the Website.

By offering clients access to these tools, Buchanan hopes to foster a sense of loyalty in customers—while cutting costs in the process. "Fostering loyalty is the key to profitability. If people truly understood the cost of a customer, there's no question they would all be doing Websites like this," she says.
 

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