Web to Print Webinar Posted to Archive + Q&A

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Web to Print Webinar Posted to Archive + Q&A

On Wednesday, Oct 13 we had a great turnout for the webinar:

Building An Online Print Business:Web to Print Enables New Value Propositions & New Markets

Sponsored by:

View Archived of Webinar Here

We were not able to get to all the questions in the allotted time so here are some that did not get addressed:

  1. What are the typical products being offered for online print solutions?
    • We should think of an online business offering virtually any product you offer offline today. The products range from simple ad hoc uploads and specification of print products, to configuration of a business document online (combine files, add tabs, finishing, and preview, etc…) There are different levels of sophistication for different product workflows. I wrote a post about how I divide up “product workflows” this post gives you my complete answer.
  2. What technologies do web to print providers use for editors? JS/Flash something else ? Does it works on iPad?
    • When solutions have to do complex manipulation in the browser, they turn to technologies such as Flash, Javascript, and now HTML5. Many web to print solutions employ Adobe’s Flash technology which you are correct will not today work on the iPad or iPhone due to Apple’s stance against supporting Flash. Most vendors I’ve spoken with are actively porting their Flash components into HTML5 in order to support the growing iPad community.
  3. What are the top 5 web to print vendors with a reasonable price for a small shop?
    • A small shop should stick with SaaS solutions, invest in a partner on a pay as you go business model. Whenever I get this kind of question, I always go back to asking more questions in return. What market are you targeting (B2B or B2C)? What products workflows do you want to sell? and What software deployment do you want to utilize (SaaS vs. Licensed)? Read through these blog posts, then send me an e-mail at jen@web2printexperts.com and I’ll suggest solutions based on your answers.
  4. Which formats for importing templates in w2p editors do solutions use ? XML, PDF,  just images?
    • Depends on the vendor, I’ve seen basically two paths: an end to end Adobe InDesign workflow because the vendor is utilizing Adobe’s InDesign Server product as their composition engine. This means you design your templates in InDesign and then upload that package directly into the solution for configuring on the web to print system. The other approach is typically a PDF based workflow where vendors are assigning personalized elements to a PDF.
  5. What do you see is the next advancement in web-to-print?
    • I believe the web to print space needs to focus A LOT more on the web part and LESS on the print part, meaning that printers need web tools more than they need printing tools. An online business is unique (as I outlined in the webinar). The web to print market needs to provide more tools to printers for their online business. I would like to see the convergence of printer’s websites with web to print tools. There is no reason for two different technologies. In order for that to happen, web to print vendors have to create technologies that are optimized for search (SEO), enable connections to social media, and provide a platform for printers to create and publish compelling content.
  6. Do you know the size (in revenue) of each of the web to print markets mentioned (i.e. custom digital, custom commercial, calendars/photo products, etc.) If not, can you suggest a source?
    • The way I divide the markets (by product workflows) does not necessarily line up with they way industry analysts divide the markets, but its close. Infotrends is surely a good source of information about market size and shape. The digital market, commereical offset market, and photo markets are covered extensively by them. PIA also has some wonderful resources, as does PODI regarding the digital market.

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