What is Web2Print?

Web2Print (also known as Web to Print and W2P) is a powerful tool for personalisation and brand management; however, Web2Print can cover a range of many different processes within the procurement and production of printed items.

While Web2Print is best known and used by printers, it is used across many different industries for different applications. It is still best known and understood as a tool for dynamic publishing and an important part of automating the pre-press process for print suppliers. When integrated, this software with others becomes an essential procurement tool, being used in conjunction with ERP/CRM software.

In an age of change and digital disruption, Web2Print is now mostly SaaS (Software as a Service) with the majority of solutions on the market creating software that is browser based with no proprietary software to download. Creating something that is browser-based also allows buyers to be able to order and organise their purchases anywhere in the world 24/7 from any device whether it is a mobile or desktop computer.

How Does Web2Print Work?

Web2Print works by providing an online storefront to a customer or ‘end user’. The end user will navigate the site and choose their items. While Web2Print is known for the personalisation of items, it is also possible to manage stock items to provide an all-encompassing solution.

Dynamic publishing is one of the many applications for Web2Print. It can be used as a submission portal direct to a print provider to order and amend your work. Many Web2Print solutions will include an ‘editor’ to personalise items – this is possible because of templates that are created prior to purchase and uploaded to the system. When the item is compiled and ready to add to basket, this will create a print ready pdf. The end user is not able to circumvent the purchasing process by downloading the pdf and sending it off to print elsewhere as there will be a watermark to prevent this.

Before checkout – there is the additional option to add an approval process. This can be as simple as allowing a ‘budget’ for users to spend, setting permissions for users or groups or even creating a sign off process workflow, so that items can be thoroughly checked before going to print.

Upon selecting their desired items, the end user will complete their shopping session by the ‘checkout’. Depending on the solution and the arrangement with their provider, this will either be paid for on checkout, or invoiced at a later date.

In the event of a fully automated solution, the purchased print ready pdf will be submitted into the printer’s job submission tool, and if all pre-flighting checks are made, with the correct workflow solution in place, printed items can be completed and invoiced without any interaction from a human – creating a process that is truly automated.

It is possible for Web2Print software to be integrated with MIS solutions. This will require technical qualification and involvement from different stakeholders in the business to facilitate the change, but when implemented successfully, it is worth the time and effort spent.

How Does Web2Print Work for Different Industries?

Web2Print for the Printer

Uptake of Web2Print solutions amongst printers is fast growing all around the world. As printed marketing and operational materials is declining in number and competition is growing, printers need to be able to reduce their margins further so that they can continue to be competitive and survive.

Adopting Web2Print technology is a very positive move for a printer, and the concern that providing an online ordering portal detracts from their client relationships is soon allayed. Print Buyers are finding that demands on their time continue to be made, and the opportunity to purchase when, where and how they want without having to wait for standard office hours is more beneficial for the buyer-supplier relationship.

By automating the repetitive and manual processes in their production houses, printers will find that this will allow their experienced and talented team members the time and freedom to concentrate on the more detailed jobs in the printing process that cannot be automated, with the possibility of finding the fast diminishing art within print.

Many global brands use ERP software and will want their printer to be able to integrate in with this so that the procurement and payment process can run in an automated fashion. This can usually provide simpler and more favourable terms for printers when getting payment for their services, and by a printer having a Web2Print solution in place, it means that they are able to work with larger companies.

For the Print Manager

The print manager is a key strategic partner for any large brand. The brand has worked hard to become a household name, and now it’s up to the print manager to support their operational and marketing efforts by being the custodian of that brand.

With contacts across the printing industry from printers to creative and tech, the print manager knows the industry inside out and they know how to get the best price. They know their buyers and their needs and pains. By providing an online procurement portal to their customers, it is a simple way to assist with their project management of their client’s print. Web2Print is a vital part of offering a fully integrated service to their customer.

For Production Teams

Every time that someone ‘touches’ a job, vital margin is lost. By implementing the most effective workflows and by welcoming automation, Web2Print allows production teams to give their full attention to the jobs that need it most.

By automating those processes that are manual or arise from end user errors (such as submitting work at the wrong dpi or without crop and bleed), it can create a more efficient workforce.

For Creative Agencies

Many creative agencies use Web2Print to be able to provide an integrated solution across all marketing channels to their clients. While many agencies do focus on digital marketing, by managing the promotional and operational print for their clients, it offers the agency an opportunity to tie their customer in long-term by providing the full range of services.

By supplying an online ordering portal for their clients to order their print with an easy to use editor, clients can manage the personalisation of their items, reducing the need for graphic designers to spend their time typing and inputting data. This empowers graphic designers to spend their precious time being creative and creating impactful, potentially award-winning campaigns. Client and agency can also spend their marketing hours on strategic planning.

The client can also take full advantage of Digital Asset Management supplied by the Web2Print provider which means that all items such as images, documents, videos can all be stored in one place. You don’t just have to use the templates for printed items. You can use templates for items such as imagery for social media.

It is a win/win situation for both agency and client as the creative agency can ensure that the client will be able to create and order items in a controlled and safe environment for both parties.

For Brands

Global brands experience a number of difficulties when controlling and managing their brand. Brands can fall foul to actions like renegade spend and using off-brand material. Ultimately, this subtracts from the desired brand message.

Web2Print provides a Brand Management solution (also known as Marketing Resource Management) which means that the correct materials are used for the right project – the right logo and branding are used. By utilising DAM (Digital Asset Management), it means that the brand can keep all of their images, files, etc all in one centralised location, which can be accessed from anywhere in the world, so that teams can create and purchase their printed items within a timely fashion. Using a Web2Print solution such as Coreprint does not mean that only one printer can be used. Printers anywhere in the world can be assigned to have jobs submitted to them.

Office Products

More and more office products companies are including print within their range of services. It complements and diversifies the service that they provide to their customers, so print and office products are natural companions

Read our blog about how print has overtaken office products

Using a Web2Print solution like Coreprint Pro means that customers can purchase their stock items through the Storefront as they would with any ecommerce site, however, there is the additional benefit of being able to provide the option of submitting their jobs for print through this solution as well as any personalised print through the use of managed templates.

Facilities Management

More and more facilities management companies are turning to print to diversify their business.

Web2Print makes it possible to make it easier for customers to order online with ever-changing and complicated product lines.

Web2Print is an excellent engine for cataloguing stock items, ordering and managing print while integrating into existing software and systems. The security that cloud-based services provide, are a motivator for large companies and governments to choose suppliers who use this type of software.

The flexibility that Web2Print can provide, along with integration opportunities and comprehensive API enables the opportunity to create a completely unique interface – so you can make it look however you want.

Coreprint Pro is designed to work off the shelf, and with very little training for the end user, using no proprietary software. With template creation and technical support on hand from Vpress, Facilities Management companies can make strides into new markets with all of the support that they need.

Choosing a Web2Print Supplier

Vpress have devised an 8 point checklist for covering the main questions that you will want to ask when purchasing a Web2Print solution. It’s not an exhaustive list by any means, but  are definitely key considerations which you should be satisfied with the answers given by your prospective supplier. They cover a range of due diligence questions including web security, opportunity for bespoke development and a range of other considerations that would support the solution scaling up as you grow.

Where Can I Find More Information?

– See our listing and reviews on Capterra
– For more facts about Printing, see BPIF.
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