Web to Print Q&A

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Web to Print Q&A

I get questions everyday from readers and consulting customers from around the world in regards to every aspect of web to print. Based on that old adage, if one person has that question, others probably have the same question as well.

I’ll share a few and then more importantly – invite you to ask additional questions in the comments of this blog and I’ll either answer them in comments or blog about them if they warrant a more involved response.

Question #1:

How can I compete on the web with companies like VistaPrint spending a fortune in advertising?

Answer #1:

There is a difference between search and LOCAL SEARCH. Please type in “printing” and then type in “printing {your location}” for example “printing San Francisco”. Notice that VistaPrint doesn’t show up in the local search, because you have to have a local presence to compete for that search. You need to be on the FIRST PAGE of the search results in your local region – see my post about your website and how search engines are the new phone book / yellow pages. You do not compete with VistaPrint in this local search.

Going online doesn’t mean going business to consumer (that’s VistaPrint’s business model). First view going online as a way of creating your version of the ATM machine, easy transactions are handled in a self service fashion (online) so you have more time for the more complex transactions that require high touch. You can’t afford to treat all transactions the same.

You can go business to consumer but don’t go generic – it’s too costly to get found and the pricing is extremely competitive. Go online to attack a niche product (e.g. unique posters for tradeshows), a vertical focused solution (e.g. unique printing needs of local convenience stores), or dominance of your local market for quick turnaround products and services (local could equal SAME DAY SERVICE).

Question #2:

Is owning software more secure because if the software vendor goes out of business (like so many of them did in the 90’s), I’m protected because I own the software.

Answer #2

Owning software holds no promise of security. Web software has to evolve constantly to continue to function, so owning a specific version is only secure until something in the internet ecosystem changes (e.g. major browser upgrade).

Don’t make your licensing vs. subscription decision based on security of ownership – that logic doesn’t work with web software. Make your license vs. subscribe decision based on how much effort you want to expend in local IT resources and what business model you want to have with your web to print partner.  I’m a fan of using your local IT resources for customer facing challenges rather than care and feeding of web software. I like the subscription model because you get to hold onto your leverage rather than pay all your money upfront (let go of your leverage) – this brings the ROI between you and your web to print vendor more in alignment.

Please suggest additional questions in the comments section or suggest what topics you would like to see covered by me in this blog! A blog is a conversation – we are all in a time of great transition, the more we can learn together the better.

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