Moving successfully to an Online Business

Moving from traditional print ordering to ordering online with web to print requires Printers to take concrete steps in re-defining their business strategy. Some of these steps may seem easy, some quite difficult. Before you start your journey of moving your printing business online, here are the ground rules that must be defined and applied in true sense while making a meaningful strategy for going online:

What is your area of specialization?

 Printers need to redefine their new online strategy by identifying a business niche where they specialize and can stand out from their competitors in the print market. Once the niche is found, they must gear their entire company and create a product around this specialized domain. It is best to plan your launch that caters to a narrow line of customers in the start.

Who are you selling to?

Create a list of customers you want to target online? Do you intend on selling your product to large corporate customers (B2B), or would you rather deal with individuals or direct consumers (B2C)?

The easiest way to answer this is to closely analyze your existing offline business. From the offline experience of printing business, you are well aware of your current customers, what products they want to buy, how they pay for their purchases and at what price they are buying. Use this data about your customer from your offline connection to create an online storefront that automates transactions and saves time and toil for both you and your customer.

Going online has different dynamics than offline. The best advice is to first shift your existing business online with current customers, and then once you are established, broaden your horizons to target greater range of audiences, selling a variety of different products.

Remember; Think big but start from small!

What are you selling?

Once you have successfully answered to whom you are selling, identify what do you want to sell them? Clearly define the entire process workflow required in buying each of your products.

These workflows ask for unique data required from a customer to order for the specific product online. Ensure the buying process for each of your product is simple and easy for the customers. The simpler this buying experience is for users; the greater will be their motivation to come back to your one-stop solution.

 Where are you operating?

Define geographical boundaries for operating your online web to print store. Your software must have the potential to cater a customer operating in any region of your defined limits. Functionalities such as customer support, language translation, currency support, credit card support and tax calculation must be embedded in your print product with respect to specific regions.

Which business model are you selecting?

In recent years, printing companies have been seen adapting to two business models for software. A perpetual license (where you buy the software and keep it “forever”) and a subscription type (with a monthly/annual subscription fees that requires renewal). Both models have their pros and cons. With the licensed model, you make onetime payment and it stays valid for always. This onetime payment does not include annual support and updates and can range from 18-22% of total cost of acquisition.

Within the SaaS subscription model (or pay as you go), you make monthly or annually recurring payment, and earn entitlement to software license with all support and upgrades included within the package. This speeds up the implementation process with no hardware and software installation (MyPrintCloud hosting) and cuts requirement for experienced IT staff.

The software licensing model isn’t a bad option either; it’s still suitable for some applications, but the vast trend for web applications is to choose a SaaS business model.

Is your team capable to handle the new online setup?

Buying the right software business model is essential but to operate this software, you require a good motivated and technical team. The online world changes at a fast pace, with new inventions taking place quite frequently. In such a situation, hire a team that is not just skillful at new technologies but also inspired to create a difference with your products. In today’s competitive marketplace where all companies are head to head, survival rests with having the fittest team, who takes the right initiative at the right time.  It is also extremely important that everyone in the organization is aware of the strategy and why its implementation is so important. In other words, everyone has to be rowing the boat in the same direction.

Which are the right technology partners to choose?

Select the technology for your system that has the flexibility to adjust to changing market conditions. When choosing the right web to print solution with MIS capabilities, keep ease of user at the highest priority. Opt for a robust solution that can withstand all weathers. Most vendors tend to sell untested solutions with software bugs and all kinds of design flaws. You don’t want your people “testing” the software while they are on their work.

The best choice for a web to print solution with MIS capability is one that has the potential to meet your today’s operational needs and provide expansion prospects for your business future.

Are you ready for the BIG change?

Change is almost always difficult to adapt to, at all levels. Before you finalize the online strategy, it is important to change thinking of your entire team, educating them about the pros and cons of the new self-service ordering system. Get all your team members together and describe what the transition to online print store means. Enlighten all individuals within your company how going online will change their jobs and will benefit them by reducing their work. Your team members are your key players. It is important for them to accept this change and feel motivated throughout the process of shifting from traditional print ordering to web to print.

To effect a process change, you need to make a strategy change.  What is needed is a fundamental shift in thinking on the part of printers—and a whole new way of looking at things beyond basic manufacturing. This can be quite difficult for the printing industry to embrace but will yields the results as the time passes.

MyPrintCloud’s Web to print storefront with MIS capabilities comes as pay as you go model and helps you in getting your printing business online allowing easy buying experience for your customers. Find out more on MyPrintCloud

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