In a recent study, Amazon was found to have accounted for a whopping 49.1% of all online retail spend in the U.S. To put this into scale, the runner up was eBay, with only 6.6%, followed by Apple at 3.9%.
Out of all U.S. retail spending, both online and off, Amazon’s share accounted for about 5%. Given the size of the U.S. economy overall, this data shows that there is still a huge amount of retail spending that can be had by e-commerce sellers and platform operators that have different, innovative ideas for marketplaces that cover some of the retail groups that may not be online yet.
In our minds, online printing represented the perfect opportunity.
Online printing, or ‘web-to-print’, is a form of e-commerce that revolves around the usage of websites and other online tools to order print media and track order fulfillment.
The term “web-to-print” refers to the journey a design makes as it moves from web-driven technology to printed matter.
Creating online printing platforms that actually work
Unlike a traditional printing website, a web-to-print system takes advantage of specialized software to connect each step of the print process, from the initial order entry to proof generation, the actual printing and bindery, and then shipping and mailing.
Prior to this technology shift, every printing company had essentially the same process. A customer would take their files to the printing company, often with a physical media like a CD. The printer would then copy these files and manually process them with multiple programs to analyze elements like color, page sizes, fonts, and more. If the files checked out, a physical sample would be sent to the customer for approval, requiring trips back and forth to the printing company. Once that proof is approved, the actual printing process begins, which also consists of multiple steps.
You may not realize it, but many printing companies still operate using a similar process today. File upload may be handled through a website or FTP service, but many processes are still seriously disconnected.
Web-to-print environments, like the one used at Conquest Graphics, aim to eliminate these disjointed aspects of printing. By creating a flexible, modular system to unite all parts of printing, a single interface is used to manage and track every component.
What does this mean for you?
A singular print management system is not only beneficial to the printing company that employs it. By having automated procedures handle routine processes, like PDF proof generation and color correction, customers gain a major advantage. Once a file is uploaded, a PDF proof can be returned within minutes rather than hours. Because software can handle tasks like this so consistently and quickly, there are fewer errors and less time spent on each job.
Less time and fewer errors translates to faster turnaround times and lower prices. Additionally, because employees do not have to be bogged down with these types of routine tasks, they are able to spend more time working one-on-one with customers, answering questions and providing advice.
Faster turnarounds plus a wide variety of shipping methods adds up to be a much faster turnaround on its own, but in addition Conquest thought of this years ago when we opened up our first West Coast location.
To provide for a world in which faster delivery times are an absolute must for many customers, we’ve strategically situated two print facilities that act as our main two production floors, one in Richmond, VA for the east coast and the other in Salt Lake City, UT for the west coast. In addition, we offer Quick Ship, which has some pretty extreme upsides and downsides.
Quick Ship offers to immediately send your order to production rather than having it first go through the proofing process. As a result, sometimes these files go to the press without any human eyes double checking them to make sure any design mistakes or file formatting mistakes are corrected. While this does get you your prints faster, there's always a chance there will be something off about the printing that you may not want that could have been caught in a proof reviewing process.
Using technology to eliminate the notoriously sluggish parts of the print business
From a web tool for selecting USPS routes for EDDM campaigns to programs that automatically position pages so that binding them in larger stacks won’t set the side of the pages out of alignment when it’s finally bound; there are myriad new technologies that are aimed at solving some of the print industries most debilitating setbacks.
And now at a rate faster than ever, these solutions are being perfected and incorporated into our system to provide similar kinds of retail and logistics perks that make web-to-print an attractive alternative to traditional printing modes.
As the study about Amazon’s share of e-commerce indicates, creating a platform that benefits sellers, buyers and everyone in between seems to be the key to success.
Conquest Graphics is working towards a model of success much like this with a few of our own offerings. Our online print ordering portals offer businesses of all sizes the perfect customizable solution to managing all aspects of their marketing.
We also offer a number of reseller benefits that can empower your marketing with blind shipping, perpetual discounts, a trade relationship guarantee and most importantly of all high quality printing.