Q&A: DocuCopies.com Reveals the Benefits of Its Web-to-Print Strategies
DocuCopies.com may have began life as a brick-and-mortar copy and print shop in Hudson, Wis., back in 1982, but it's safe to say that the firm is truly a child of the internet. In the mid-’90s, it evolved and expanded into Web hosting and development, backed by a strong core of in-house programmers who were integral to its digital transition. By 2003, virtually all walk-in business had gone online, which enabled the firm to focus on production, quality and efficiency.
During this time, DocuCopies.com had transitioned into 100% digital printing. The company also found ways to do produce some of its most popular products "cheaper than anyone else," online or off, without sacrificing quality. Buoyed by highly targeted marketing and search engine optimization, DocuCopies.com began to see print orders coming in from all corners of the country. It's easy-to-navigate site and competitive prices made it a go-to option during the Web's formative years. California proved to be so fertile a ground for business that DocuCopies.com opened a production facility in San Luis Obispo in order to cut delivery times down to one day for nearly the entire state.
Roe Pressley, vice president of customer relations for DocuCopies.com, provides insight as to the company's online ordering tools, its value proposition and how it has handled challenges along the way.
PI: What can cause a print provider to win or lose a Web order?
Pressley: Often the biggest thing that attracts new clients is seeing the lowest price. But once you have their attention, ease of use is what is going to keep them or lose them. If it’s too confusing, they’re going to call for help or go back to the search results and click on the next company. But the thing which is going to keep that client and keep our business foremost in their mind for printing is customer service. Anyone can slash prices to get a volume surge or can buy better equipment to match quality, but few can maintain our level of service and quality while producing the order volume that we do.
This is something where many other companies flounder. Some companies have call centers in other countries, some only have email support, some just never answer their phones. We know from customer feedback that our personalized, one-on-one service is a huge asset and it’s just not something a lot of people expect with the modern culture of e-commerce. You could say this ethic is a relic from our days as a local copy shop, but it’s not something we ever plan to shed in the name of evolution.
PI: What are the variables that set one Web-to-print (W2P) solution apart from the others?
Pressley: Very few offer all of the same services at comparable pricing. We know our specialties, our strengths and weaknesses, as well as those of our competitors. Rather than spreading ourselves thin trying to do everything the other guys do, we focus on what we do well and how to do those things better. Yes, we’re always adding products and services, but we have no endgame plan of being the one-place solution for every type of job possible.
The biggest split with W2P companies right now is thosethat are all digital versus those that do a combination of digital and offset printing, which can cause a dramatic difference in the price of a given job depending on quantity. Then there are little things that don’t pop out right at first but can make a big difference with the end price: whether there are sales taxes, free shipping, hidden prices and fees, etc. We try to make everything as transparent as possible throughout the ordering process because we don’t want to have to take a phone call from someone who feels they got baited and switched. Trust is essential to shopping online.
PI: What do customers like the most about your online interface's value proposition?
Pressley: The low cost of printing with us compared to other printers (local and online); the ease and convenience of ordering online and having them shipped for free; quick turnarounds; and friendly, one-on-one customer service every step of the way. These are the pillars that built us up and set us apart, so they are the ones we work hardest to maintain. But one recent feature which makes us unique is our built-in rush production options. When a customer checks out they can order guaranteed rush service to arrive on a certain day without needing to call and talk to someone, and they can even place an order in the morning and have it delivered the next day. Building this automation into the ordering process has made things much simpler for our busy customers, as well as our staff members.
PI: Have you encountered any challenges from a technical or implementation standpoint?
Pressley: We print in two different locations. We use the same machinery in both locations. But because every job is different, often the person running the printer makes a discretionary call as to what settings are best to use for what kind of job. There have been a couple learning experiences where customers reordered a past job but, for whatever reason, it was printed in the location opposite from the first run. If the press operator uses a different setting there can be subtle differences in tonalities, brightness, etc., and if the customer holds the old ones next to the new ones they can pick out some differences.
We implemented something in the back end of our system that saves the settings used for each job. This way, whenever someone is going to print a reorder, they will see what settings were used on the original run regardless of where it was printed. That’s a strength that sets us apart as well: our entire Website, including the back end, was created and is maintained in-house. So if we need to implement something on-the-fly to fix a bug or make something more efficient, we can have it done in an hour instead of waiting maybe a few days for an outside development team to make those changes.