Trade printing is growing in terms of providing better volume and keeping prices low for resellers and end consumers. The online players that act as consolidators rather than manufacturers are driving this. With the wider variety of printing choices available for customers, trade printers seek to drive up margins with making better options available in terms of wider choices of substrates, additional finishes, and multi-section products with options on finishing, perfect binding as well as stitched brochures etc. The problem is customer demand is growing in terms of asking for variety, better prices and on the other hand manufacturers are also struggling to keep their manufacturing volumes high for a better cost. But it is the time for short runs and highly personalized jobs. Trade printers are in constant flux of keeping both print suppliers and consumers happy.
Is there any way out or trade printers or they just have to keep on pulling socks to survive in the business? Technology is an enabler of new business models, improving existing business models and improving customer experience keeping everyone happy in the value chain.
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Online trade place with separate storefronts
Trade printers deal with many resellers in terms of print brokers, marketing agencies, graphic designers, small print shops, publishing firms etc. A centralized printing marketplace with separate and unique storefronts for all the resellers with unique requirements as per their customers.
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The separate and unique storefronts have the same back-end that goes directly to the main trade printer that can help them in getting print at competitive rates. The storefronts can be customized with unique product catalog, templates, pricing, look and feel, and discounts and offers based on the target audience and market segment they are catering to.
For end users, it just works like normal B2C printing storefront where they can place orders directly for printing and shipping based on the given payment methods. In the world of digitalization where companies are creating more and more partners, trade printing marketplace solution allows them to attract more and more resellers to offer the one-stop solution to all the diversified needs of customers. You must be wondering how pricing and profit sharing works with so many different parties or resellers involved? Let’s get to this in next point.
Trade printers usually work on wholesale printing rates and thus, they have better margins for large volume printing, but customer dynamics are changing. Trade printers are now required to work even on small volume orders for small runs keeping the margins same.
Offline trade printing leaves room for resellers to bargain and reduces the margins. With unique storefronts for every reseller, a commission can be customized based on the printing orders you are getting from each of them. B2C printing storefront doesn’t offer the feature of getting unique storefronts for every reseller and thus, customizing commission for them is not possible.
The payment for orders received from print broker/reseller store is sent to the trade printer based on mutual agreement between reseller and trade printer. The trade printer has complete control and is able to provide reseller flexibility around offering prices for end customers to get orders at best prices.
For example, the advertising agencies are utilizing how effective print can be for their customers, so for them, an effective print is not about blanket messaging with large volumes of paper or brochures to be distributed for minuscule response rate for their clients. Despite spending on printing costs, they want to spend on better designs, messages, targeting and measuring the impact to ensure high response rate within the budget. Print broker software ensures that repetitive customers like advertising agencies get the best rate for their customers and keep on coming to reseller website for more orders creating win-win for trade printers, advertising print resellers, and end customers.
Once the pricing has been agreed upon, both the parties have to decide on the shipping or delivery model. While B2C storefront must be having all sort of payment methods and cash on delivery, the trade printing software has to decide for shipping methods with every unique reseller storefront about shipping and configure the same in the end customer facing storefront.
The shipping methods in trade printing can vary based on the agreement between the resellers and the trade printer. The resellers involved in trade printing can vary from direct mail printers to marketing agencies and thus, their requirement of shipping also varies to a great extent.
The print broker or reseller software must be able to accommodate and customize different requirements of different resellers to be able to either ship the printed products to the resellers for them to distribute to the end user or should be able to directly ship the printing products to the end user on behalf of the resellers.
A good web to print solution with trade printing solutions makes it easy for centralized trade printer to customize printing, shipping, order processing, pricing etc as per the requirements of different resellers. They also provide the facility of tracking order status both for end-users and resellers based on access and controls defined from the backend. They can track order status like processing, shipped, delivered etc.
Trade printer requirements cannot be sufficed with normal B2C printing dashboard about orders, job processed, shipping, delivery etc, they want much more than that because of the multiple parties involved. An ideal print broker software should be able to manage all re-seller stores, orders, and payments via a central robust back-end system.
Trade printer should be able to see the 360-degree view of re-seller commissions, payment, delivery status, order processing, customers, scheduled deliveries and the deadline to make day-to-day operations efficient and easy to monitor.
Also check for the third party integrations and how well it can be integrated with the current application landscape of the trade printers including CRM, accounting applications, ERP to avoid managing multiple systems for better control and efficiency.
Technology is an enabler for all
The right technology is an enabler for all kinds of businesses and when used right can give a competitive advantage over the other players in the market.
Web to print solution for trade printers is one such example of emerging printing model where re-sellers are getting benefitted without even having the core competency of printing equipment and hardware, on the other hand, trade printers with sufficient printing equipment never have to keep their machines vacant in wait of orders.
Amy Watson has completed her education in Information Technology sector and then she has started working in eCommerce web to print storefront research & development segment at Design’N’Buy. After getting more than 5 years of experience in print marketplace solution for printers, she found the best interaction model about it. She really enjoys her success in research and development for a start-up business and also in extending the current model with highly reflective ROI.