Spinning a Web
Mergerdichian remarked, 4over also recognizes the need to continuously offer new products and services. Its latest innovation, Marketplace, was created to provide customers with more ways to generate business and increase their profitability. Since Marketplace remains in the development stages, more details will follow in the future.
With innovation no doubt comes inspiration, but it also brings changes and challenges. One change Sam Vignjevic, e-commerce director for Greenville, South Carolina-based growll.com, foresees is: "this market will be required to provide more custom solutions via the e-commerce model. We see our custom quotes taking off in this direction. The next step will be for e-commerce shoppers to be able to select customized diecuts, special folds, unique pockets, etc., dynamically instead of through traditional custom ordering methods on their print orders."
Hoffman had another thought.
As new print buyers enter the arena, she said, these people will be more conditioned to look online for needed products and services.
"For a professional print buyer, the focus will shift almost entirely to estimating, ordering and proofing online, and pricing will play a more vital role than relationships. For the end-user, print resellers will continue to play a vital role as long as they are offering a value-added service," she said.
In terms of challenges, Mergerdichian summed it up like this: "The marriage of paper, ink and technology will, no doubt, also result in some exciting new products in the future. The challenges will be whether a company has the foresight, flexibility and financial resources to take advantage of these new developments."
Despite challenges, there are plenty of trends in the industry. Hoffman commented turnaround times will continue to get faster as print buyers become more conditioned to the instant access provided by online ordering.
"PrintPlace.com now offers Same Day turns on all of our coated stock products—including plus-cover booklets and calendars," she added. "We extended the send to press cutoff time for same day and one-day turns recently to noon central time. Integrated print and direct mail online ordering and management is another growing trend in web-to-print. While we have offered mailing services for several years, our mailing services and options will be greatly enhanced in 2011."