A Web of Information
"For one thing, people are more accustomed to purchasing items online than they were three years ago," he noted. "Thus, it's very important for printers and distributors to provide easy ways for their customers to research and order products online."
To facilitate the ordering process, more companies are ensuring their web-to-print storefronts are optimized for tablets and smartphones. "The whole business world is working on ensuring that all of their Web content is mobile-optimized. Printers should ensure that they're doing the same, as much as possible," Pinto encouraged. "Some people may still be hesitant to order anything on their phone, but I think this will become a more common practice sooner than later."
2. A New Marketing Tool
Web-to-print systems are not limited to e-commerce storefronts. In fact, more and more companies are turning to this technology to enhance their cross-media marketing campaigns. In layman's terms, cross-media delivers relevant content and a call to action through multiple channels (e.g., print, e-mail, personalized URLs, QR codes, etc.) simultaneously as an integrated campaign. Web-to-print can tie into this action (in addition to a closed-loop marketing campaign) in several ways.
"A web-to-print storefront should make it much easier for marketers and sales reps to select, personalize and send collateral to a prospect in a very timely fashion," Pinto mentioned. "With these strategies and tactics, businesses should be able to increase awareness and demand, which should provide them with more leads. Then, they should be able to convert more of those leads into sales by delivering relevant information in the right channel at the right time."
Several steps must be taken when developing this type of campaign. The first step is understanding goals and the measurement criteria.
"Take the time to clearly define strategic objectives and look at the campaign as a process of building relationships and generating leads and/or improving one's understanding of customer profiles," instructed Lindsay Gray, CMO of Greenville, North Carolina-based AccuLink.