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Website Tools -- More Than E-brochures

May 2005
By Erik Cagle

Senior Editor

There was a time, not all that long ago, when just being on the World Wide Web was hip enough for the commercial printing industry.

The term "Web presence" was bandied about freely by printers in the period of roughly 1998 to 2001. The Internet was little more than an opportunity to showcase a company's brochure electronically, and most of the old guard only viewed this medium as a complementary driver for the brick-and-mortar business component.

Clearly, though, the "me, too" syndrome has given way to a more progressive school of thought on not only driving more commerce and new customers via a printer's Website, but enhancing the cradle-to-grave lifespan of jobs with current clients. And we're not just talking about ordering business cards online.

Baltimore-based Vertis Inc., which specializes in targeted advertising, media and marketing services, acts as a printing and related services conduit between marketers and their consumer clients. Among its Web-based offerings are remote proofing system capabilities, along with an advertising delivery solution.

From Print to Web

The latter, Inserts2online, turns a customer's printed retail advertising piece into an electronic shopping solution for the customer's Website or a third-party e-shopping environment. With little to no intervention on the client's behalf, Vertis transforms printed advertisements into e-commerce vehicles.

"We can essentially duplicate the distribution dynamics of the print program via the Web," notes Jeffrey Robison, business development director for Vertis' digital solutions group. "It allows us to render the advertising content on a store-centric model, which means via a store locator on the customer's Website. The user is then taken to versioned content that's applicable to their store or their market."

By utilizing the version recaps—a mapping to the final print files—Vertis can render the content to the Web, according to Robison. Java Server Page (JSP) is used to manage the content on the print PDFs, to add pricing and product breakouts and to create shopping lists.

While remote proofing had been done at Clifton, NJ-based Sandy Alexander for about five years, it wasn't color accurate, according to Michael Graff, senior executive vice president. One of the early adopters of RealTimeProof technology (now part of Matchprint Virtual), the company used it with clients on an as-needed basis. Due to the lack of color accuracy and the newness of the technology, many customers were not comfortable using it. And when it was used, Sandy Alexander needed to send out a complementary color proof to reinforce the young technology.
 

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