WEB-TO-PRINT — JUST BROWSING
While there are off-the-shelf software solutions for generating a Web-to-print model, Farris finds that many clients’ needs gravitate toward custom development programs developed by CGX-Solutions. In the end, the printer and customer reap production efficiencies.
Some printers feel the ASP (Application Service Provider) models have their advantages, as well. Parent believes printers need to weigh the overhead of a programmer against using an ASP model that may not have all of the desired features or functionality. For example, some off-the-shelf products work on only Windows PCs or Macs (not both), and certain applications are only compatible with specific Web browsers.
Parent forecasts that over the next five years, most (if not all) of what he considers to be “universal” elements will become standard in all solutions.
As for the future of Web-to-print, Grossman believes some of the best applications are yet to be discovered. “This is going to become a big business,” he predicts. “It’s not just about going to print clients and setting up a Website for their use. Think about the photography business, wedding albums, cruise lines, colleges and universities. There’s no end to it. What’s important to understand is that all of these mediums work in conjunction with each other. This isn’t replacing offset.”
Getting customers to understand the value in Web-to-print solutions will go a long way toward shaping the future of the application, according to Parent. “It hasn’t reached full acceptance yet. Right now, (customers) really aren’t looking for it,” he says. “You have to sell that solution.”
Farris feels that the fortunes of Web-to-print are closely tied to the success that digital printing achieves in validating the capability’s ROI in relationship marketing for personalized campaigns. “That’s really the future of Web-to-print—going from customization to personalization,” he says. “We’re in degrees of that now, but really high levels of personalization are going to be the future of the tool.”