Going with online product designer for your business is a serious step, especially for brick-and-mortar businesses that have already established themselves on local markets. Becoming a global company that accepts orders online is totally different as you may deal with other type of customers and new challenges. Yet, going online has significant reward in increased revenue and orders coming from all over the world.
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 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 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 traditional method. If you are using 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 customer’s vision, 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 online design tool along with ecommerce website would help streamlining 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.
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 available budget, existing customers, streamline factor and products you sell into account is important in order to take 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 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.