What Packaging Printers Can Learn From Commercial Printers’ Web-to-Print Experience
The world may be going digital, but the need for physical labels and packaging is on the rise. And with the ubiquity of e-commerce, a desire for customization, and just-in-time ordering, brand owners are seeking more control over their label and packaging ordering process. Though still a rarity in the packaging world, web-to-print software and online storefronts have been a mainstay in the commercial print world for more than 20 years, and package printers looking to add an e-commerce component to their repertoire can look to the commercial world for a roadmap.
That glimpse into the web-to-print experiences of commercial printers can be found in a recently released report from our colleagues at Printing Impressions. The report details four commercial printers’ successes with web-to-print solutions and how both the companies and their customers have benefited. While each company’s experience is different, the commonalities include increased flexibility in design and production, increased speed in delivering to customers, and as a result, increased customer retention rates among those who appreciate the convenience of online ordering.
Because packaging has historically relied on high-volume runs with little to no variation, online ordering has been slower to emerge in the package printing industry. But with the advent of production-level digital printing, the possibility for web to pack in the packaging space has become a reality. The label segment boasts the largest penetration of digital printing, and as such, has been the segment in which web-to-print and online ordering is most prevalent. Companies including SheetLabels.com, Discount Labels, and Online Labels have emerged as leaders in the space, providing a variety of label products to customers in an online format.
Meanwhile, online ordering and personalized packaging has begun to emerge in other packaging segments as digital printing increases its footprint across the packaging spectrum. Packlane, for example, provides online ordering for custom boxes, including folding cartons and corrugated shipping containers.
But with the implementation of any new technological solution, questions of integration processes, return on investment, and ease of use are sure to come to mind. In this report, many of those questions are answered by experienced commercial printers who have worked their way to the other side of any growing pains they experienced when implementing web-to-print. For example, DigiCopy, a Wisconsin-based commercial printer, states that it maintains a 99% retention rate for its web-to-print clients, and has seen its use of web-to-print change the way its customers order printing. For larger customers, company president Craig Shuler says, the web-to-print functionality streamlines the ordering process so much they can reduce the number of employees who need to be involved in a print project.
Tracy Mueller, VP of sales for Kramer Madison, another Wisconsin-based printer, explains that prior to web-to-print, managing variability and design changes was significantly more challenging. But with an online-ordering platform, customers can easily change their designs and can manage the process on their end. With the rise of SKU proliferation and frequent changes in the packaging world, this becomes an enticing feature.
While web-to-print software is still in its early stages in the packaging segment, preparing for increasing digitization of the printing process is a sound strategy.
Click here for first hand experiences from the commercial print world that can help you along your web-to-print journey.