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LiveArt Blog

7 Great Events You Could Open Your Custom Printed Apparel Shop For

Opening up a web2print shop for the occasion could be a good start for your business if done right and on time. Many existing companies cater to specific events that always have a stable demand for personalized apparel or other promotional products like mugs or can holders.

Here are some ideas for you; maybe another event comes close to your area, and it’s an opportunity you’ve always been waiting for!

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Special local events.
Any concert, competition, or gathering always involves promotional products, including personalized trophies. Maybe you live just across the road where Oshkosh Fly-In would happen? You can create your apparel than with sponsors' logos and name of the event. Everyone would know such t-shirts would be one of a kind, so they would like to have one!

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Company team building.
Such events became very popular, especially among companies where people are sitting inside cubicles 9 to 5 without much communicating. Giving out t-shirts with embroidered company logo, person name, and custom design on the back could drive fun and spirit into large teams.

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Corporate gifts.
Getting a salary and Friday pizza is not the only incentive for the company workers. Doing excellent personalized gifts like custom hand-stamped jewelry could include company name and a thank you message for being part of it.

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Family reunions.
Designing shirts for everyone who visited a reunion with a family name and personalized design could not only connect people but also leave them with something to remember when they get back home. It’s fun and uniting, so make sure you don’t miss such an event to print them a bunch of t-shirts.

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Birthday parties.
If you’re helping with the child’s birthday party, why not making it memorable. You can print a t-shirt for each visiting kid, do a table cover with wishes and photos of a birthday boy or girl, and leave everyone with a souvenir at the end. Finally, you can even print out a cake topping with the heroes of a beloved comic of a child and his wishes.

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Stag and Hens parties.
Buying the same tank tops for everyone, decorated in bright and brutal sayings - what could be more fun to celebrate such an occasion. What’s more, each apparel piece can be imprinted with a person's name, so that they are completely personalized! This leads us to the final event you can really get a fortune from.

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Weddings!
Another occasion where personalized gift boxes, save the date custom postcards and even apparel (sometimes) are ordered before the show takes place. The table cards usually are decorated with your name, and the gift box always contains a magnet you can put on your fridge as a trophy.

That’s it, gather up your designs and templates, and make it attractive for everyone that comes into your site or store to get unique products printed for their extraordinary event.

Considering a Custom Web to Print Solution for Your Printing Business

Going with an online product designer for your business is a serious step, especially for brick-and-mortar businesses that have already established themselves in local markets. Becoming a global company that accepts orders online is totally different as you may deal with another type of customer and new challenges. Yet, going online has a significant reward in increased revenue and orders coming from all over the world.

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Costs involved and expected ROI

The first thing to consider would be the budget, required to have an online design software enhancement. Study the market and get an idea of what it would cost to get the software deployed for your website. A lot of forums are discussing the available solutions that may or may not work for your particular business.

Another helpful thing would be to gather the necessary requirements for the custom user scenarios you might require for your web to print system. Comparing these against available features of online product design software would help in making the right decisions.

Whether you have an existing website or just plan to have one, defining a budget depending on planned ROI would help in looking for a solution that will fit. We assume you already have printing equipment and learned already about existing eCommerce platforms available on the market.

Users of the future system

Looking at the available tools on the market, it is best to envision your average customer using such tools to customize and buy a personalized product from you. Learning about common questions, patterns of behavior, and problems is crucial for implementing the web to print technology successfully. It may be also helpful in running a survey across the existing website or polling users. The survey results will answer questions like whether designing their product online would be more convenient than using the traditional methods. If you are using a phone operator or in house artist that works on customers’ designs, think whether your customers would feel better with a self-service online design application instead.

Streamline factor - will orders be processed faster?

One of the main benefits you get with web to print system is lowering the costs for each received order. Rather than having a person talk to a customer and prepare a design according to the customer’s vision, an online product designer allows users to place an order personally without applying for service or talking to anyone. Before implementing a web to print system, think of your present business process and whether deploying an online design tool along with an eCommerce website would help to streamline existing orders thus lowering the costs and allowing the business to scale.

Bear in mind that you would still require personnel to run the system, accept and process orders, and troubleshoot possible questions coming from customers. Make sure to provide adequate training for them when the system is in place and ready for launch.

Products compliance

Some of the most popular promotional items that can be easily deployed for online design software are t-shirts, jerseys, mugs, and such. You can find lots of blank images across the Internet, either worn by models or seen plain, and prepare a catalog easily. The customizations such as gallery artwork, text, or user uploaded image are seen clearly and perfectly work as live proof. However, certain products require more complex customization and modification of the web to print software itself. Such products may concern printing business that produces signs and banners, business cards (including Variable Data Printing), and complex items requiring 3-dimensional visualization as shoes or gift boxes.

Prepare a plan

Taking the available budget, existing customers, streamline factor, and products you sell into account is important in order to make some final decisions. Despite having an online product design system for a printing business becomes a firm trend for over 10 years already, one should clearly evaluate and plan such advance ahead.

Accurate budgeting, planning, and overall readiness for the web to print system implementation would help your business make a solid step forward and get to the next level, acquire new markets and make your customers happy.

5 Common Mistakes When Implementing Online Web to Print Solution

There is no doubt - web to print solutions are becoming common for printing businesses today. They efficiently streamline orders, make the proof process easy, and reduce costs for each order production in general. If implemented and promoted properly, they generate lots of customer satisfaction especially if online product designer supports smart mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.

Yet, implementing a web to print system is a challenge, both organizational and technical, ergo should be treated in a respective way. One should evaluate the task of building a web to print solution for their business carefully before doing any final decisions or starting a promotional campaign in social networks. Let us look at common 5 mistakes one may encounter when diving into the web to print offers on the market.

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1. No research

While it is common for any beginning, a lack of preliminary research may result in unexpected results after deployment of the web to the print system. Each business has its own specifics, own eCommerce platform, products, customers audience, and so on, which means that you should look for a particular vendor and solution that would fit your business and guarantee ROI after implementation. We recommend checking these posts for more information and brief checklists that would be helpful.

2. No personnel to fulfill orders

Implementing a web to print solution to your website without being ready with personnel that will accept and process orders is equal to failure. While online product design solutions will simplify the process they would still require someone to keep an eye on how the orders are processed and delivered for fulfillment. Make sure you have hired the right person to do this job, report on possible problems, and run the web to print system.

3. Poor products selection

Sometimes the personalized products just don’t fit the concept of the web to print system. One should consider and ask themselves questions regarding the personalized product:

  • Is my product personalization clean and visible to my customers?
  • Would the product personalization become easier to customers than it was earlier (by phone/email)?
  • Are there any options of the product that might confuse my customers?
  • Are the proofs, given by web to print studio, sufficiently clear, and understandable?

Lack of product preparation is a common mistake when implementing a design studio as part of the web to print system. Make sure you have checked out our post on effective proofing and product preparation for your web to print system.

4. Lack of resources and patience to launch the project

Although launching a web to print system can be really instant fast with hosted solutions, it is often a mistake to expect immediate positive results, customer appreciation and sales boost. Launching a system is not an end in itself, but rather a beginning of lifetime journey your business would board on. Product images support, unique and nice fonts, ready-made design templates, available gallery clip art - all of the above requires resources to be gathered, prepared, checked, uploaded into the system, and maintained on a regular basis. It is common that lack of patience often makes customers turn off the logo designer studio and navigate away from your website if they suspect the job not done. Getting resources ready for your online product designer part of the web to print system would prevent user confusion and frustration from the new tools on your website.

5. Failing to count in resistance to change

While not fully a mistake, a business owner should always think of loyal and frequent customers and the way they are used to order their personalized goods. Think of a friend of yours, who would come into your website one day and see everything changed - will they be disappointed or would like the change on your website? Will they like the new way they personalize a product, assess proof and checkout? Since there is always room for change resistance, make sure you inform users well and provide sufficient instructing materials to make the transition as smooth as possible and convert change resistance into satisfaction, wow effect, and sales boost.

Shopping Cart Integrated iPad Ready Online Product Designer Tool

The overwhelming growth of personalized product sales leads to the fact that more people are looking for ways to personalize and purchase goods from their mobile devices. At LiveArt, we are providing LiveArt HTML5 online product software that is fully iPad compliant and would please your customers with the ability of mobile personalization. There are several reasons why mobile online product designer is more customer-oriented than non-compatible one.

ipad compatible online product designer

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1. Mobile users will be able to order your personalized products. Finally.

Visitors that are coming to your website and not seeing immediate ability to personalize their product would be likely to quit it within a split second. Providing ability to open product personalization tool from ipad is essential to retain such users and converting them to your customers. If your present product designer is based on Adobe Flash technology, ipad users will not be able to load it.

2. Mobile users are more likely to checkout.

The more simple, the better. Our iPad compliant designer is made with simplicity in mind leaving only the most basic and required features for website visitors. Using the tool users can quickly select personalization products, add text, modify its options, upload or add artwork images from the gallery, review the order details, and save the order. Saving user design takes just a few seconds and they will be ready to checkout and pay!

3. Mobile is the new sexy.

Paraphrasing the popular meme “smart is the new sexy”, mobile users nowadays constitute over 20% of overall visitors of the common eCommerce website. It becomes up to shop owners whether to gain access to this audience making them part of their customers. According to Gartner 2013 prediction reports, the audience of mobile users will continue to rise up to 40% in the next few years.

Taking into account the above reasons and additional concerns we hear from our customers, we have designed a product that is open source and customizable than ever. For instance, you can easily change labels to a different language, hide features if you don’t need them at the moment, and integrate easily with sample PHP code. Don’t waste your time on custom development, grab a demo from us, and learn how you can reach your mobile users easily.

How to Integrated LiveArt With Popular Ecommerce Solutions

If you already possess an ecommerce solution in the cloud like Volusion, Squarespace or 3dcart, it’s easy to integrate an online product designer as an option for specific products. LiveArt HTML5  now offers special package to add a product decoration feature to specific products.

 LiveArt integrations with different platforms

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The integrated online designer for Volusion (as example) allows user to proceed with customization of selected product from catalog and saving their design with the order. The online product designer is opened in a floating window which makes website layout unnecessary and adds convenience during the integration.

To integrate LiveArt Online Product Designer (HTML5 version) with your hosted ecommerce platform, just a few steps have to be accomplished:

  • Step 1. Add “Design This Product” link to product description on catalog page;
  • Step 2. Add additional text field option to product page. This is allowed by most of the ecommerce sites like Volusion.
  • Step 3. Publish changes and verify.

That’s easy, you can now go ahead, setup the online design products from LiveArt admin panel and start adding design options to products from your existing website.

For more information, contact LiveArt representatives for a detailed demo and plan for your particular website. Happy online designing!

 

Adding Templates Gallery with LiveArt HTML5

Regardless of the printing industry, having a catalog of pre-made templates helps customers nail down their idea and complete the purchase. Rather than starting from scratch with no design ideas users can quickly makeover ready business cards templates, for example, or pre-made t-shirt designs. The pre-designed items available for customization create an additional unique selling point boosting your overall sales and letting customers having more fun.

Pre-made business cards catalog sample

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Gallery of business cards. Courtesy of Zazzle.com

Since early releases, we have been frequently asked if LiveArt HTML5 Online Product Designer tool could be used to offer users selection of pre-designed templates from template gallery. The answer is yes, LiveArt HTML5 can be integrated in a way to allow users start with some ready design rather than blank template.

The blank template are normally plain product images which are loaded to designer. Whether they represent a t-shirt, a banner, or sign, its template can be loaded on the background of working area to show where customer can place their design.

Now for the pre-made templates, a certain design should be created first and saved into your eCommerce website before it can be offered to the user. Technically, a saved pre-made template consists of descriptive information like title and date and the template file itself which is either XML or SVG. The advanced templates may contain information on whether a certain area could be moved or not and which parts should be filled with text fields. Depending on the eCommerce platform of your choice, the ability to save pre-made templates should be developed during the integration of online product design tool.

Next, a page with ready templates should be populated somewhere on your website. In the simplest case, this can be just a page with a list of available templates. Each template record may constitute of image, title, and stay linked to product designer with a certain parameter, indicating which template should be loaded.

You can always extend the functionality of your catalog templates by adding tools like search, categorization and showing additional average pricing of the pre-designed product. A quick search would be essential for user to locate their idea quickly. Respectively, usable and quick navigation would shorten the time between moment user came to your website and the moment user will be checking out with a modified pre-made template.

Paradigm Shift of Personalization Tools Towards Simplicity

The online product customization software has been traditional in a sense of UI for over a decade now. The instruments might be different, going from old-school Javascript, then Flash and Silverlight, and, finally, Javascript again, albeit with more assistive technologies like JQuery and Bootstrap.

The advent of mobile devices powerful enough to compete with desktop PCs has changed everything in a way how common customer personalizes their product. The previous online personalization tools were mostly intended to work with desktop computers, which included a common single input device as a mouse (keyboards were never usable for customizing a t-shirt as a primary device). Using the above one could select a product from the catalog and add simple personalization of text and artwork.

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As users became more technologically savvy, the online personalization tools offered more and more features. At a certain point, they almost started to resemble professional software like Adobe Photoshop. Such tools offered users lots of buttons and options increasing both complexities of UI and CPU load at the same time. The online design tool right for the user had to choose now between sophisticated tools on the one hand and simplicity and load speed at the other.

The mobile interfaces for iOS, Android, Windows 8 devices came along with the simple concept that had to exist in all applications people would install. Respectively, users would expect same experience from HTML-based web applications for online product customization. The fact of expected simplicity has shifted the paradigm of complex and sophisticated features for the sake of clean and neat UI that would allow customers to quickly apply custom text and images to the product and checkout without lengthy and complex processes.

Are you still using old and complex online personalization tools? Need a replacement to quick and neat online product designer that would work on both desktop PC and all mobile devices? Request a demo today to get advice for the right online design software for your website.

Why the Output Is So Important For Custom Printing Companies

One of the crucial things about online design software, is having an appropriate online designer output, which would minimize production efforts and streamline the ordering process. Ideally, the design file should be immediately compliant to be printed on a ready product. The other benefits normally include:

  • Less returns and refunds;
  • Less graphic designer input is required;
  • Increased general customer satisfaction with easy proofing;

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The common format which is offered by most of the online designer software vendors is PDF. In the marketing messages this is communicated as being an applicable format for both backend office as proof and production for printing. However, how does a printing company knows if a manifested information about PDF would be of sufficient quality? What are key aspects to evaluate about the output from online designer?

The first thing we normally do at LiveArt is requesting an example of pre made design from our client. This could be an Illustrator, CorelDraw or an EPS file we can open and decide, whether additional tweaking might be required for our standard vector PDF output. Normally, there’s a standard set of tweaks which are requested more frequently than others. These can be split in groups:

  • Format. While the common format used over the output is PDF, sometimes the printing requires different suitable formats like TIFF or EPS. In such case certain additional development might be required to let this happen.
  • Resolution. Most of the resolution questions are covered with the vector PDF LiveArt is providing as this allows rasterizing the mockup to the required resolution, whether it is 300 or 600 dpi. If the required format is raster, the resolution should be indicated explicitly in LiveArt Online Product Designer configuration files; 
  • Bleeds. In most cases the output mockup does not require any additional bleeds placement. Yet still, the software has to support ability to place extra layer of the necessary bleed areas. This type of output files modification is popular in signs printing.
  • Post-processing. The post-processing may include application of raster filters to output raster image, including product image into design mockup, put additional information directly into mockup, e.g. SKU and product color in text.

Taking output image requirements into account might be the most important part of the online design software. So when deciding about the vendor of online design software, make sure they are totally ready to match your business needs for online design output.