12 Point Checklist When Selecting a Web-to-Print Platform

Are you a print house, a reseller or a marketing agency working in printing industry? And you want to go online with a Web-to-Print store of your own, making you accessible to customers around the world, receive orders, fulfill those, and increase your business? Chances are that you have already seen and evaluated some Web-to-Print systems. Here is a small checklist that might help you take your decision –

1. Does it Work Well on Tablet and Mobile Devices

Believe it or not – mobile and tablet commerce is growing faster than expected and will move ahead of e-commerce done using traditional devices. The tablet market is forecast to be slightly over 377 million units by 2016[1]. A study—which analyzed the online activity of more than 150 US retailers and 16 billion transactions in 2011—found that tablet visitors to online retail sites spent more than 20% more per purchase than did traditional desktop and laptop visitors[2]. Tablet ownership by US households will more than double by 2013 and is now achieving a much faster ramp-up than any other consumer-electronics or mobile device.

Hence while selecting a Web-to-Print platform for your organization, do check the following:

– Does the store operate properly on tablets and smartphones?

– Does the design studio (or online designer) for that store work well on tablets and smartphones? Do keep in mind that flash based design studios will not work at all on iPads and iPhones, as well as many Android based tablets and phones in future.

2. Can You Manage and Deploy Templates?

Web-to-Print customers love to buy from the stores that provide easily personalizable / customizable templates. This saves their time and efforts to design from scratch and gives them new ideas too. To enthrall your customer, you must create a lot of attractive templates. Hence, do remember to check:

– Whether the Web-to-Print system provides you the ability to create and manage templates effectively?

– Does it enable you to create templates for different products, associate them for various sizes and duplicate them on different shapes and edit them?

– Whether your customer can filter these templates as per different categories, prices, and colors.

– Whether Web-to-Print system provides you the ability to create those categories (like, event, recipient, shopping purpose, etc) and associate templates to these categories.

– That editing of templates is easy for you (as admin) in backend as well as for the customers in frontend?

3. Speed Matters

Speed is important for your customers. According to a survey, 47% customers expect the web pages to load in less than 2 seconds. 52% of online shoppers state that quick page loading is important to their site loyalty[3].

Hence, check the speed of pages in your prospective Web-to-Print platform. Make sure that pages are loading under or nearly 2 seconds even if they have images and a lot of data on them. Investing in a slow performing Web-to-Print platform might not yield the results you expect.

4. Search and Extensive Layered Navigation

Customers want to find that right product in a flash, or they won’t buy at all! With your Web-to-Print store, you need to be sure that search is extensive and fast. So don’t forget to ensure that:

– Search text box provides auto-complete suggestions from actual terms available in store. This will help customer avoid spelling errors and save his time.

– Even if there is no match, the system should provide suggestions similar to the search term.

– There is a layered navigation system that helps customer narrow down the search results based on different categories, products, price, colors, or any other parameters.

– Search results can be sorted based on price, date, size, and other attributes.

5. Can Customers Track Orders, Save Designs, and Reorder

A registered customer spends more on a Web-to-Print store. You need to take care that you provide value addition to customer for registering, in terms of order tracking, reordering, saved images, saved designs, wishlists, etc. Hence, select a Web-to-Print store on which:

– Customers can have their own account, where they can track their orders.

– They can save their in-progress designs, complete those designs later, and add them to cart.

– All the images they upload are saved in their ‘My Images’ folder.

– They can check their previous orders, and reorder any product any number of times.

– They can add products to their wishlists, and later on order them.

6. Content Management

Content is important for any Web-to-Print store – it is your store and it should be the way you want! You don’t need to run back to the service provider every time you want to change content on your Web-to-Print store. Hence check that the Web-to-Print system you are buying:

– has user-friendly Content Management System

– allows you to add and change content of different pages that you may like.

7. Search Engine Optimization

However great your store may be, it is all worth only if you are at the top of search results. The Web-to-Print system should enable you to add content on the Web-to-Print store that will bring you right up there in search results, where it matters the most. It must have the ability to provide you:

– ability to add keywords,

– ability to add meta tags and meta descriptions

– and set how search engines crawl over them

– ability for customers to like you on Facebook, follow you on Twitter, and connect with you on Google+ and Flickr, thereby creating valuable links for search engine rankings

8. Advanced Reports

If you are doing a business and want to grow it, reports are one of most important analytical tools, and Web-to-Print store is no exception. Your Web-to–Print system should be able to create reports that give you information on where you are, what you’ve achieved and what changes need to be made. Make sure that your selected Web-to-Print system provides you detailed reports related to:

– Sales, that inform you about orders, tax, invoice, shipping, refunds, and coupons

– Products, describing bestsellers, most viewed, most ordered, low stock products

– Customers, and their buying behavior

– and other useful ones, related to dropship, shopping carts, search terms, tags, and reviews

9. Pricing Options, Promotions, Discount Coupons

Everyone understands the importance of pricing options, promotions, and offering discounts for a successful Web-to-Print store. You need to give bigger customers a better pricing and strengthen the relationship. Make sure that you select the Web-to-Print system that helps you to:

– offer tiered pricing – higher the quantity lesser the price per unit.

– offer group pricing – special price for a group of customers.

– add special promotions for specific customers, time, products, or order quantities.

– allow different types of discounts – percentage of price, fixed amount, buy x get y free, etc.

– calculate price dynamically in frontend based on size, paper type, number of pages, finishing, and any other parameters as you like.

– add price for each attribute on a fixed basis or on a percentage basis in frontend.

10. Ability to Add Online Images from 3rd Party Sites

Customers love to add their images to designs which may be on their PC or somewhere online. Your Web-to-Print system should let your customer download images from any of his folder – whether online or his PC. To make your Web-to-Print store a better user experience for your customers, check whether the system allows user to add images from online locations, like, Facebook, Picasa, Flickr, and Instagram accounts, by simply providing their user name (and passwords, if required).

11. Dropship

Dropship is a fabulous feature that enables you to accept orders even for items you don’t print, and fulfill them as well! If your Web-to-Print has a feature of dropship, it allows you to take order from customers, pass that order to an associate printer, who will print and deliver it directly to the customer, giving you a good margin in between. This gives you an ability to increase your product portfolio that is many times larger than what you actually print. When you finalize on the Web-to-Print system, do remember to check whether it has the dropship feature.

12. And Last, but not the Least

Though almost all Web-to-Print systems have them, but do remember to check for following features before you make a final selection:

– Integration with Payment Gateways like, Paypal, Google Checkout, etc

– Ability for customer to add Reviews and Ratings, and for you to manage them

– Ability for you to print Shipping Labels and update Shipment Statuses

– Newsletter that allows you to keep in touch with your customers, inform them about your new products, encourage them to use exciting offers, see them coming back again and again, and increase your sales. While selecting Web-to-Print, make sure that you can design your newsletter, and send them to all the subscribed customers, all by yourself.

Do check the above points and surely you will select the best Web-to-Print platform for your business.


References –

[1] http://pro.gigaom.com/2012/02/forecasting-the-tablet-market-over-366-million-units-by-2016/

[2] http://www.cmo.com/mobile/adobe-digital-marketing-study-finds-tablets-rule-shopping

[3] http://blog.kissmetrics.com/loading-time/