"Being able to provide instantaneous quotes to the customer is a huge advantage, as well. Additionally, the required investment in technology for the front end inevitably spills over to the back end, making most online printers more efficient in manufacturing as well as ordering," she remarked.
Though there doesn't seem to be any real disadvantage to this sector, Hoffman mentioned it can be difficult to reach customers who don't feel comfortable purchasing online.
"The 24/7 nature of the Internet means that online printers must provide increased accessibility to customer service, as well as streamlined customer service processes, in order to better be able to handle the learning curve faced by customers who have never ordered printing before, as well as the relatively large number of phone and e-mail requests," Hoffman mentioned. "It has also forced them to create a common language that can be understood by both novice and veteran print buyers. This means a financial commitment to a customer contact center. Successful printers will not think of this as a con/disadvantage or a loss center, but as a way to distinguish themselves in the market."
Online printing seems to be in a good place, but companies agree things only are getting more exciting.
Pinard said online printing is really evolving and has the potential to evolve even further to transform marketing, sales and customer communications.
"There are technologies available today that will allow users to upload images and text, personalize content and have the message delivered to a set of recipients via their preferred delivery method or channel of choice. These channels can be print, e-mail or text messaging sent to their mobile device or there is the possibility of doing all three. In theory, printers are changing (or at least should be) to take advantage of these emerging technologies and become more of a provider of marketing communication services than just printed material," he added.