LiveArt Blog

How to choose the right eCommerce platform for your web to print store

Since the printing industry is developing rapidly, almost everyone tried to open their own print business. With the development of technology, our daily lives have changed. In the modern world, no one wants to waste time. Therefore, everything is going online, and printing is not an exception. If you decided to go online with your web to print store, this checklist is for you. We prepared a few points you should take into account when choosing the eCommerce platform for your web2print store.

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First of all, let’s get acquainted with existing platforms. Magento, WooCommerce, OpenCart, Shopify work well with web to print business. You can choose any of them, but consider functionality depending on your needs.

Magento

Magento is one of the largest e-commerce platforms on the market. It is trusted by popular brands such as Cisco and Nike and has more than 350 000 users. Magento has a lot of remarkable features, such as price management, flexibility, custom design, and cloud deployment. With Magento, you can achieve the desired functionality using customized templates. Moreover, wish lists and better price suggestions help to increase customers engagement. Also, it is mobile and SEO friendly.

Woocommerce

Woocommerce - is an eCommerce plugin for WordPress. It is an open-source plugin so you can host it anywhere. The great thing about WooCommerce that it is very secure. It provides updates regularly and is compatible with WordPress versions. WooCommerce has many themes that you can modify. Besides, this platform is easy to use and learn. And one of the main advantages of WooCommerce is that it is free. You just need to download the plugin and start your business upgrade.

OpenCart

OpenCart is also the right choice for your eCommerce business. It offers many features including perfect order processing and easy to use admin panel. In general, the OpenCart interface is simple and straightforward. OpenCart has a good set of themes and modules. This platform provides many payment methods such as Amazon Pay, World Pay, PayPal, and more. OpenCart has perfect support and very clear documentation with screenshots to make user’s usage easier.

Shopify

Shopify is a reliable solution for already existing eCommerce business as well as for those who are going to build an online shop. Shopify is simple to use platform with a modern and friendly interface. Shopify provides usage of different sales channels such as Facebook, Messenger, Amazon, eBay, Pinterest, so that it can improve your sales like a shot. It gives you a dropshipping opportunity with an extensive range of dropshipping apps. Likewise, Shopify supports many payment processors. It comes with inbuilt services such as Amazon Pay, Apple Pay, and PayPal.

So how to choose the eCommerce platform for your web to print store?

Check if it meets your needs

First of all, you should understand what your main requirements are. What should the platform provide? What would you not want at all? Once you decided, start exploring existing platforms and their features. Many of them offer a free trial so that you can accurately understand if this is what you were looking for. Also, you can connect with support and sales staff and ask questions to get a better understanding of what the platform provides.

Compare costs

Most eCommerce platforms are paid. You need to check what is included in the payment to make sure that you are investing in what you really need. Very often, eCommerce store builders offer different plans like basic, standard, and premium. That means that each plan upgrade is accompanied by an additional set of features.

Platform usability and functionality

When we talk about usability, it means that you can work without the need to learn a lot of coding or be aware of the technologies. So you should have the ability to set up, navigate, and use the platform easily. The interface of the platform should be intuitive and user-friendly so that you can concentrate on promoting your business instead of spending your precious time to learn the platform.

Support

When it comes to platform setup or some platform upgrades after your online business growth, you may need some help. So, please, make sure that the support staff of this platform will give you qualified assistance with answering your questions and solving the problems.

To sum up, when choosing a platform for your web to print business, consider all points, ricks, and features. Save your time and money and take it seriously. It is essential for you to study all aspects of your business. Good luck!

Which points when choosing the eCommerce platform for your printing business are the most vital for you?

Our Process

If you are wondering about what happens till the moment of the order until we meet your requirements in full, and you get the ready solution, this article is for you! We are here to tell you about our process to give you a clear understanding of what and how we do.

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The project does not consist of coding only. We need to do a lot of preparations and post-coding work to create a solution that will satisfy our clients. First of all, we should carefully discuss with you which solution you want by exploring your business needs and requirements. Meanwhile, we analyze our experience from previous similar projects to understand what is feasible and what the likely estimate will be. We also offer some demos so that you could evaluate live solutions and share your feedback. The feedback helps us get more details to understand what you need entirely. We document all of the discussed requirements for further project development.

 

Our team explains then how the solution may look like as well as indicates the likely time and effort involved. Quoted hours include requirements management, solution design, development, testing, deployment, and support. Also, we communicate associated risks and timeframe as the project parameters.

 

Once we have initial requirements and know what you expect to receive, we start the development process. Our team creates a list of tasks to accomplish and to deliver a ready solution. The solution is developed incrementally in sprints. Every sprint usually takes four weeks and is allocated to a specific timeframe. To prepare a sprint, we select some tasks from the general list of tasks we created (called backlog) and start working. After every sprint, we deliver you a working demo version of the solution.

 

In most cases, it happens continuously or biweekly. Besides, we hold weekly meetings where team members discuss the progress as well as any impediments we might have down the road. You are also involved in the process, as your participation is crucial for project success. We expect the client to provide feedback, clarify requirements, answer questions, and accept features. Besides, you can see how costs are used and distributed between the tasks and can control them by going for some function or excluding it from the scope.

 

For every task and sprint, the testing and QA process follows after development. It is essential to see whether the results match the requirements and fulfill the business goal. We also ensure that the delivered software contains minimal bugs or unimplemented specifications. Should any issues arise, we communicate them immediately to discuss the associated costs to address and implement.

 

After successful testing, we publish the final demo and look forward to approval. Once you are satisfied, we are ready to deliver and deploy the solution. After the launch, we carefully control whether the solution is functional. We can also provide user assistance and solution training if necessary. It means that we can step you through the operating procedures and assist, for example, with fonts or product templates preparation. If you notice any issue, we create new tasks for it and proceed with the development in additional sprints until you are content with the solution. Once the bulk of the project development is complete, you may subscribe to the support plan for long-term maintenance.

 

Last but not least, for a stable solution, we review the requirements and list of completed tasks again. We suggest some improvements that we see will add value to the solution. You can decide whether to pursue such ideas in the subsequent sprints or revisit them later.

 

We hope you get a better understanding of how the custom web to print development process is working. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us!

Print buyers love web2print solutions for these 6 reasons

Our world is changing, and technologies are evolving rapidly. People prefer buying products sitting at their cozy coaches at home to going to physical stores. There are a lot of services that provide food and alcohol delivery, dry cleaning and laundry, etc. It is a great time-saving, isn’t it? Online services occupy leading positions in the marketplace. One such service is web-to-print. So why do print buyers are in love with web2print solutions?

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Accessibility

Modern life is so fleeting that people do not want to waste their time waiting for something. Web to print solutions allow you to order the desired product at your convenience. You no longer have to wait for weekdays, you can place your order even at any time of the weekends. 

 

Ability to have customized designs

In connection with the expansion of social media and online printing, trends are changing fast. With web to print stores, people can buy unique products designed by themselves according to their requirements. Moreover, some stores offer you the ability to add new features to ready templates. There are no limits to your creativity and fantasy. You are welcome to design the thing you have wanted all your life.

 

Tracking and order management

Using the web to print solutions, you always know the progress of your order. When you order something, you get an automated email stating that your request was received, accepted, done, etc. Thereby, you can track the entire process and be sure when to expect your ordered product.

 

Fast and easy to use

Printing traditionally is a time-consuming process, while web2print stores need a few stages. All you need is to open the website, choose the design regarding your desires from a wide variety of design features, place the order, choose the delivery date, and that’s all! Also, if you need some changes in the design or cancel the order, you can easily do this online, even at the last minute. There is no need to go to the print company and spend your time and energy.

 

WYSIWYG

Wysiwyg means that you will get what you see. When you design your product on the web to print store, you can immediately see all the changes you do. So, you can be sure that the ordered product will be without extra or missing details. This approach increases customers’ confidence and loyalty. 

 

Ability to order from smartphones

Smartphones and tablets have become a part of our daily life. Web to print stores care about customers and provide the benefit of adapting to the screens of different devices. The ability to order from smartphones is a significant advantage for people with a busy schedule. So they can design and buy their products wherever they want, even standing in the queue to the store. 



These are the main benefits customers can get while buying at stores with web to print solutions. I want to emphasize that this is not the final list, as technologies are improving we are ready to offer more advantages to you soon.

Facts to consider when choosing a product design software for your business

Have you ever thought about how product design software can help your business to reach success? Nowadays, there are a lot of products and services in the marketplace, so the competition is growing. Product customization is a new feature that helps to be unique as much as possible. Imagine that you have a choice whether to buy a ready t-shirt or design it considering your desires. What would you choose? I'm sure you would like the second option. If you allow your customers to create great design and own it, you will get, eventually, more engagement. It is not a secret that good software is an integral part of product customization. So how to choose product design software that will profit? See the checklist below that may help you in this endeavor.

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Problem statement 

First of all, you should ask yourself which tool you need. Think about the features of your product design software. Which problems do you have at the moment? For example, you spend a lot of time processing customers' design order or have a lot of refunds. Make sure that this tool will cover all your needs. 

Consider the integration

As our world is changing fast, functional requirements for applications are getting more sophisticated. The ability to integrate product design software into your website is necessary. You need to decide what type of integration you want to have. Do not be afraid to ask the company you are going to work with about previous clients who integrated into the same CMS or e-commerce platform as you. Try to get some feedback about their integration, because you should consider all factors before investing.

Be sure that design tool is easy to use

The product design software you want to choose should be user-friendly with an intuitive interface. Many people leave the website page immediately if they do not understand what kind of customization you offer, what your products are, and what to do next. Your main goal is to take the user's attention and drive them to complete the checkout. The software must be easy to use both for you and your customers. As you will manage the process, you should not have difficulties with it. 

Compatibility with all devices

The product design software should work correctly on all devices: mobiles, tablets, desktops, etc. Tools that are compatible only with desktops are not actual anymore. According to the research, 58% of people use mobiles instead of desktops. People are also more inclined to complete the purchase once on mobile. Thus, make sure that your tool is compatible with mobiles so that you could increase your SEO ranking in Google search and let users use the design tool efficiently.

Support 

Do not think that the purchased product design tool is the last step. You can have some troubles after its installation. Ensure that the company you are working with is ready to provide 24/7 support and have an individual support plan. Are they prepared to help you if you want to add some new features to your application? Check the type of warranty they offer after the installation of their tool on your website.

Numbers of websites are increasing, and web to print technologies are evolving. You should meticulously choose the tool for your business to understand whether or not it can help your business grow. Make sure that the company providing design tools and services makes suggestions that suit your business requirements.

Craving for custom web2print solution? Meet Jeff.

This is a story about Jeff. Jeff owns a print shop that equally serves one-time customers that occasionally drop in as well as some organizations. The latter ones do a lot of repeat orders, which takes Jeff a lot of time to process and print. He works a lot to keep his customers happy but finds himself cornered with no time to extend his business or keep up with the marketing.

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"It's time for my customers to do order themselves," thinks Jeff and purchases a simple product design tool for his website. The software works well for a while, but the pricing does not adequately reflect the capabilities of the equipment and printing process. The admin area of the purchased online editor also lacks some features that would ease up Jeff's job. So the businessman tries another web2print solution off the shelf, yet every time something is missing. The shop owner starts to think he travels in circles to find the answer of streamlining his orders.

Suddenly, among many web2print software providers, Jeff finds a team that listens to his pains and asks some questions no one asked before. Previous companies lacked the attention to Jeff previously, so he tries his best to explain how the ordering works and what features he lacks from used solutions. The company team listens to him well and offers to build a quick MVP (minimal viable product) to see if it matches his expectations. One week later, Jeff is ready to give a new software try by integrating it into his existing shop.

After a few test orders, Jeff is ready to give his feedback. He works together with the company team to tweak his solution further and soon replaces his off the shelf tool with the bespoke one. It looks like Jeff's issues are mostly solved, and the shop owner has focused now on attracting more customers and working with them closely to assist with the design and printing. His sales numbers start to pay off and rise, so Jeff thinks about hiring more staff and modernizing equipment.

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LiveArt offers custom web2print consulting since 2001. Our first customers were bespoke boat name printers, and there were no ready solutions on the market at that time. Through hard work and dedication, we have brought up many web2print sites that are still online and developed expertise with 15+ years of experience working with many printing industries understanding and addressing their needs.

Case Study: Using LiveArt as Sign Designer

Cutting down costs on production mockup preparation is one of the most challenges for web2print business. That is why our customers thrive on switching over to automated design provisioning as quickly as possible. This way, the designer is not just giving out what the design would look like but also does the homework of removing unnecessary elements, placing bleeds and marks, crucial for production. This is what we do as part of our custom projects.

Decal design example from StickyLife online shop

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For any irregularly shaped sign design products, LiveArt offers the simple capability for providing mask and overlay layers in addition to base one. Grommets, bleeds, cut lines, and any other production-related elements could be added to the product templates, allowing end-users to see and position elements accurately from the first time. These elements also reduce a lot going back and forth with customers making adjustments to the production mockup, drastically raising the chance of having everything set up correctly.

Serving as an all-in-one designer, LiveArt is not just about promo products. Depending on the needs, it may become a truly multi-purpose tool for any decoration industry and printing needs. Signs, banners, decals - it is just a matter of setup and configuration, with no need to purchase and implement a specialized designer for each of the tasks. To have a better understanding of how our tool works, welcome play with our online sign design software demo.

Taking a moment to say Thank You!

We say a big THANK YOU to all of our users and customers. Thank you for being with us all these years. Thank you for sharing your critique and feedback. Thank you for trust and respect. Thank you for everything! To celebrate the feast, we start with a 30% discount for every licensing, renewal, or development package. The deal goes on next week so that everyone has time to check out our new demos. Click the banner below to claim it and let's celebrate!

Black Friday discounts

5 Reasons to Make Your Product Customizable Online

No matter how your product is unique, it is time to ensure it can be customized by your customer. Whether it is a color change or addition of text or pattern, in most cases, customers see it as a way to make their beloved product one of a kind. In this article, we will cover the top five reasons to allow product customization on your site right away.

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Reason 1. Researchers say custom products are the future
According to a research report from Deloitte, over 40% of the customers seek a personalized product. In practice, if you are still not offering the customer a choice for customization you are likely to be outplayed by those competitors who are offering it.

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Reason 2. Personalized means more value
It is also known that the customers are likely ready to pay more for the product they have built on their own. Several studies prove that customers are inclined to overpay for the bespoke product, justifying the price raise by having the purchased item their very own. In most cases, you can also upsell additional services like the artist assistance, dedicated support or a priority service.

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Reason 3. Secure, repeatable sales
According to LiveArt's observations, the customers are more likely to return if their experience with the design tools was fun, the checkout went smooth, the product was good, and delivery went just fine. They will return and re-order their design. Luckily, online design tools allow saving designs, sharing them to social networks, and re-order anytime later. The bulk order forms are also a nice point of sale places where customers can easily make group orders.

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Reason 4. Being closer to the customer
Customers become more emotionally involved and attached to the product they've made their very own. By putting certain efforts into the product development, which they've become part of, the client is more likely to complete the purchase rather than drop off. If they did not like anything, you are more likely to receive the feedback. Even if the order was dropped, your e-commerce can follow-up the user to complete their design or share the feedback about the experience, what went wrong, etc.

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Reason 5. Streamline your orders queue
We hear these stories every day - the orders are coming slowly, customers are never sure what they will receive, the design proofs are taking forever. With an online product design tool, you can drastically reduce this time and make orders go faster.

Now that the Mass Customization is no longer a future perfect buzzword, but a well-established reality, offering online product customization is something you can do right away and gain an instant momentum in sales and your brand marketing. The brands cannot be wrong, and it is time to join them for the future of the product personalization.

Release 0.10.26. Fixes and improvements

It's been a while since the last release announcement. We worked hard with customization projects, but haven't forgotten about updates to the base version of LiveArt. Since 0.10.0 we are in full swing with the responsive layout, which adapts to your screen regardless of resolution, whether you are using tablet or laptop, Android, or iOS.

Major improvements addressed common comments and feedback we've been receiving from our valued customers. The graphic and product search list was improved to deliver results faster and in a predictable manner.

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The graphic and product search list was improved to deliver results faster and in a predictable manner. If you have several thousands of items, it is crucial your users will access these easily without any hassle. Our product designer now features faster loading times for both product and gallery catalog.

All current raster effects were converted to vector text effects - crisp and clear! Previously we relied heavily on raster text effects, provided by a supplementary script for ImageMagick, powerful free software for image processing. Due to a number of installation issues with various platforms and output inconsistencies in different versions, we have converted all text effects to use completely vector output, allowing the best output quality and visual crispness. Additionally, the text effects now feature an icon revealing what the effect looks like, and the default text effect distortion value has been increased to make effect visible when selected.

New feature in LiveArt HTML5 designer: vector text effects

The following additions were introduced in API.

  1. config.options.showSuitableProductColorize - enable product color panel to show only those colorizable elements' list that pertains to the selected side. Setting this value to true is useful if your product contains many colorable panels across multiple printing locations (front, back, sleeve, pocket, etc).

  2. GET variables configuration changes:

     1. added possibility to set up default product size

     2. added possibility to set up default quantities

     3. added possibility to set up main config URL

To simplify the experience and address major security issues, the following features were deprecated, please make sure you check against our migration guide before upgrading:

  1. Upload image by URL has been removed;

  2. Raster effects were disabled by default, you can still enable them back by using older versions config and configuring ImageMagick properly.

Minor fixes include the following improvements:

   - The snap guides fix was applied which prevented from objects being aligned slightly to the left.

   - Fixed \<svg\> element id loosing in MS Edge browser.

We hope you enjoy the release - stay tuned for more features in the coming releases of both 0.10.X branch and the completely new one 1.0.0 featuring faster text engine!

Meet Renewed LiveArt HTML5 Product Designer. Release 0.10.19

We proudly present the next major release of LiveArt HTML5, version 0.10 that features a more sophisticated responsive layout, add images from social networks feature, and tons of small improvements you would be pleased with.

General Improvements

Our team took a moment to step back and process numerous feedbacks from our customers and users. We are now seeking for more clean and streamlined experience while maintaining the general robustness of the tool. The icons and layout were changed for both desktop and mobile performance.

LiveArt designer example on red t-shirt

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The mobile mode looks a bit different of course, yet provides the same level of experience.

LiveArt designer example on red t-shirt on mobile version

Let us have a look at the particular features improvements for end-user:

   1. Snap guides. Any object can now be "snapped" to the vertical or horizontal centerline, next to an object, edge of the working area, or at certain angles. This was a long-awaited feature, which now users can enjoy to make their designs even more sharp and neat.

   2. Social networks upload. Add Facebook, Instagram, Google, or Flicks images to your design. This feature is customizable, so you can turn it on only if required.

  3. More resize handles. Additional handles added to stretch or shrink image or add text.

  4. Pantone color palette. Along with the ability to set color wheel or a limited set of colors, we have added a configurable Pantone Palette of colors. More to come!

Developer Features

Developers would be pleased with additional API extensions as well as minor improvements.

  1. .NET Samples Available.

  2. GitHub Trial. The trial package is now available and regularly updated at our github repository - https://github.com/liveart/liveartjs

  3. Translation API. All important labels and messages are now contained in a single file to facilitate localization of LiveArt to various languages.

As always, please welcome to share the features you'd like most to be released soon in our Voting Portal - https://liveart.uservoice.com/