The implication of capabilities derived from the web2print platform is enormous and defining it considering every aspect is impossible. One thing however which is clearly known by all web to print business today is its ability to change marketing, taking it to a whole new level. This change may include the way marketers use print, along with other aspects of marketing involving cost structures, and development of new business models as well.
To shed light on some of the fundamental changes marketers usually make in their marketing strategies, and at times even in their business models, sighting the W2P system capabilities, let us consider the following.
The Shift to JIT (Just In Time) and POD (Print on Demand) Environment
For businesses that operate in a traditional printing environment, W2P project management related changes may not bring very significant results for them. However if you are part of a dynamic, short run marketing environment, where competition is fierce, Web to print benefits are experienced in form of substantial opportunities for such businesses.
It is essential to know web commerce systems act as mere interface and the output can be in any form, either offset or digital. In case the output is an offset, benefits can be reaped in form of centralized repositories, managed approval processes, permission based access and other benefits related to workflows. However when it comes to marketing related opportunities in such a scenario are at minimal, basically owing to non presence of 1:1 flexibility in producing of jobs. Even in terms of run lengths, the opportunities are very low. For example if a supplier is continuously bagging in jobs with different clients, compared to a traditional workflow, the web to print production workflow can handle only a fewer prints at a time, however even then the bottom line benefits will still be beneficial.
In comparison to the offset output of Web-to-print solutions, if a company is a W2P digital press, it enjoys serious opportunities for the ever changing demands of the markets. The main reason of the huge benefits includes not only the workflow related benefits rather the count of other benefits is unlimited too. The option of going online and printing is open, which frees responsibility of being tied up with capital inventory, thus allowing more time to focus on other things. Initially the idea may not seem to be a big one, however once you go through the implications, the advantages are far more than initially thought of.
As far as POD business model is concerned, book publishing is one industry which is reaping tremendous advantages, besides several others as well. Specialized services providers such as Lightning Source offer publishers the provision of using WebtoPrint for books printing on a one off basis offering the service in a very short run basis. This allows small publishers to enjoy production of niche and vanity titles, capitalize on out-of-print copies and titles, while taking their inventories to zero. Cost savings, flexibility, customer service, customer retention, etc are all advantages that seriously outweigh the option of printing in low quantities, perceived as having lower costs only.
Another benefit associated with digital W2P printing is that the no minimum, short run business model allows marketers to more closely and effectively target customers now. W2P solutions are specifically designed in a manner that they streamline and simplify the process of different version creation. This renders the process to be not just economical but also easier for the breaking down of marketing campaigns into several different versions, along with the option of personalizing every printed piece without impacting the per piece production cost of printer.
As evident by the facts presented above, characteristics of W2P solutions result in form of radical consequences on ways targeted marketing activities are handled. It offers the provision of decentralized marketing, allowing those who know best about their customers and their demand to market products for them. Of course not all activities are decentralized, but only those that require to be.