Limits of Variable Data Print (VDP) within B2C environment
We live in a world where we can have or at least order whatever we want 24/7. Where Amazon can amazingly deliver a low-value item in hours whilst retaining the low price and where it is not inconceivable that in the near future items will be ordered online and delivered by some kind of drone type vehicle (actually on trial in Milton Keynes, U.K. along with many other global locations). Print, while becoming more and more commoditised as each year passes, still takes creative imagination to create, clever technology to become available to the masses and great skill to create correctly and ensure the person placing the order is happy with the product. Web-to-Print (Web2Print) has become the generic terminology to support technical assistance in strengthening the 24/7 print ordering process.
Print ordering within the Business to Business (B2B) sector is well established, and there are many solutions encompassing a range of historic print challenges that have developed over the years. In a B2B environment, the storefront is usually created for the end-user. In B2C, however, in most cases, a single storefront or website is created for all users irrespective of the type of product. This is the most difficult of challenges: how do you have one solution that supports all when the technology continues to develop?
Web to Print to support the Business to Consumer (B2C) market is nothing new. In fact, it has been available to us for decades, with some great industry pioneers giving access to a huge array of print products to the masses, 24/7. The solution does have its limitations though. The B2B sector gives the print supplier a focused brief on what is required, B2C, you have to estimate what will be your best sellers in order to obtain revenue. For that simple reason, the B2C VDP offering has been limited due to the availability of technology and the cost to implement that technology for a huge range of products.
This very much changed with the release of Vpress’ new B2C offering in 2019. Not only does our solution deliver Vpress technology through the market-leading WordPress platform but also the traditional price point been dramatically reduced from previous B2C offerings to an affordable level £2,500excVAT.
You can now build a WordPress storefront with cost-effective, complementary personalisation functionality, meaning a B2C “Print” solution for a comprehensive offering can now be affordably offered. It will more than compete against the larger players in the market, giving the smaller printer the advantage of localisation over price (knowing your local market).
“It gets better!” Craig Smith; Product Manager for Coreprint Web to Print at Vpress explains: “Earlier in 2020, we added Variable Data Printing (VDP) to our B2C offering to complement variable products and PDF job submission. This means a storefront can not only offer 24/7 online ordering but also exceed expectations by allowing a greater range of personalised items now being created using customers’ own data. Simply put, the customer can now upload a data file to a print product, view individual personalised proofs and upon order, we create a production-ready PDF file for those multiple versions.”
Using this functionality, products such as wedding invites or orders of service can be created and personalised for each guest in seconds. “As far as we know, we are the first to offer this level of personalisation options in a simple plugin” explains Craig, “we have seen others who have attempted this functionality but have never been able to get it to work intuitively if at all!”
Any product can be personalised to create an optimised production-ready PDF and if required, to integrate this it into any production workflow. Currently, Coreprint supports 20+ languages with more being added as required. This extends the functionality of the commercial print unit, allowing better and more sustainable prints to be offered to a broader market, oftentimes for a more affordable price than if printed locally by the user’s Multi-Functional Printer (MFP).
“All of this is live and available now, but Vpress have not stopped their Development” Craig concludes. “We continue to push the boundaries of what personalisation can do, not just for print but for any product. We are already supporting personalisation for workwear and promotional items while we review many other types of products. The future is bright for personalisation, and the possibilities are increasing. Our web-based browser technologies are increasing all the time and allow us to deliver an ever wider array of functionality to users. This opens up more products supporting the requirements and expectations of customers looking for simple ways to create, personalise and order.”