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 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 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 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 web to print system. Each business has its own specifics, own ecommerce platform, products, customers audience and so on, which means that you should look for 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 a 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 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 products preparation is a common mistake when implementing design studio as part of 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 result, 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 product, assess proof and checkout? Since there is always a room for change resistance, make sure you inform users well and provide sufficient instructing materials to make transition as smooth as possible and convert change resistance into satisfaction, wow effect and sales boost.

Converting LiveArt HTML5 Online Design Studio Output to Other Formats

LiveArt’s HTML5 Online Design Studio offers cutting-edge mobile experience on iPhone, Android and Windows mobile platforms and uses most of the up to date web standards including SVG. To support the industry demand of high quality output from online product designers, we have implemented SVG as core technology of LiveArt HTML5.

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While SVG is supported by majority of the browsers and mobile platforms, it is often necessary to produce lower resolution images as design previews or proofs. The most common scenario is a small thumbnail in a shopping cart that will assure user he has ordered the exact design. For other production purposes, other different images and formats might be required.

Since most of the backends are unix or linux based, our team recommends the following tools to do best for SVG conversion job:

  • ImageMagick - the most popular and very powerful conversion tool. The convert command is widely used for different conversion and can do simple SVG conversions as well.
  • rsvg - a highly-specialized library for SVG processing. Recommended for use if you have complex designs, uploaded images and custom fonts (see also note on custom fonts below). rsvg is also a common delegate tool for imagemagick convert as well.
  • Inkscape - a popular free SVG editor. While we recommend using it as editing tool to convert LiveArt output into different printing formats, it also available for usage as command-line tool for conversion.

If custom fonts are used inside SVG design, make sure to have them installed into the backend system BEFORE you are running the conversion tool. This would ensure your converted output would keep the original fonts inside the designer.

If you are planning to use SVG in a traditional graphic software like Illustrator or Coreldraw, make sure you also run a short checklist to get your output prepared for that:

  • Copy all externally referenced images locally. Ideally, place them into the same folder as your original design;
  • Install the custom font used on your system;
  • Since SVG is open and understandable text formatted file, open it with a text editor. Replace all absolute xlink:href references to local files you have prepared in previous steps;
  • While the design would look exactly as you have designed it in browser, be prepared that professional software may displace certain elements like text. Looks like software grands are still learning to support web standards.

Let us know if the above pieces of advice were helpful to you. Good luck and happy online designing!

 

Shopping Cart Integrated iPad Ready Online Product Designer Tool

The overwhelming growth of personalized products sales leads to the fact that more people are looking for the 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 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 personlization product, add text, modify its options, upload or add artwork image from gallery, review the order details and save 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 which 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.

 

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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!

 

Choosing Standalone or Hosted Solution For Decoration Company

Starting an online design business is always a challenge for any company. Whether you are brick and mortar business or a startup with design ideas in mind, you are open to a multitude of solutions present on market for ecommerce platforms shipped with online product designer.

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While you can go with a free open source solution or purchase a product that suits your needs, there is always an option of subscribing to a prepaid service, such as popular Deconetwork.com. Such services became very attractive as they give shop owners a very easy way to start. While most of the products allow try-before-buy experience, having ability to try the service before subscribing is a very good incentive, especially if you don’t have to care about own hosting infrastructure. What’s more, you can always unsubscribe from the service whenever you prefer, or upgrade to more expensive plan as your business grows.

However, there is a downside to an online designer services which you personally cannot control. While these may not be as dangerous for small shops and startups, a middle to large enterprises should be aware of certain risks that come with moving their online design business into the cloud.

Hidden fees

Most of the online services offer a pay as you go scheme, trying to fit in a number of payments you cannot grasp while evaluating. There, along with certain monthly fee, adds up a transaction commission, necessity to pay in quarters rather than strictly monthly and insignificant discounts for loyal clients. Hidden fees became a normal fear of each shop owner from decoration industry when it comes to replenish the account.

Downtimes

If your online decoration shop is in the cloud, be prepared for downtimes which you won’t be control. While you can be confident in the host of your choice, with online services you would have to trust in system administrators of your vendor, thus not having opportunity to select one host or another and scale the website performance during high loads and seasons (Christmas, for instance).

No customization

Remember 1984 of Orwell’s, a unified society was an utopia and so is online decoration market today with hosted solution. To win your customer, your website should have good SEO and design, and stay easy for the customer and have streamlined fulfillment of the orders. At the same time, so can be your competitor’s who would use same service, same fonts, same templates and same website design! Once you are feeling pretty much confident with the settings of the service and like to be more unique, you suddenly bump the wall - you can’t go beyond standard features, templates and experience. SaaS services make customization not possible beyond most popular settings that will suit everyone.

On the contrary, a standalone ecommerce solution with integrated online product designer offers a full independence from fee changes or the above disadvantages.

One time license and no hidden fees!

Look for a product or service that clearly states and means all the TCO (total cost of ownership) required to start a website with online designer or integrate online designer with your existing website. For example, all of LiveArt products consist of one time license fee and there are no additional fees unless you prefer customizing your online design tool.

Unlimited options for customization

A standalone solution is always customizable. Built with open HTML and server code (e.g. such as .NET ASPX or PHP) it allows you, your technical team or anyone from freelance market to customize your website as you need it in specific business situation. This makes your business unique, flexible and always prepared to change!

No downtimes

With an ecommerce solution and host of your choice, you can always control reliability of your server performance. Being dependent on online services would also mean you trust them with host selection and stay sure they will bring their servers back up in time during high seasons.

The SaaS services are good for startups and companies that would like to have a cheap and fast start of their decoration ecommerce. The low TCO of hosted solution is a good start to test a strategy or quickly collect orders from a fair using the solution as a kiosk. On the other hand, be prepared to look or develop a standalone portal as your business grows and needs to stay flexible on the market.

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 creates 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 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 whether 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 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. Quick search would be essential for user to locate their idea quickly. Respectively, usable and quick navigation would shorten time between moment user came to your website and the moment user will be checking out with 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 mouse (keyboards were never usable for customizing a t-shirt as primary device). Using the above one could select a product from 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 certain point they almost started to resemble professional software like Adobe Photoshop. Such tools offered user lots of buttons and options increasing both complexity 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 simplicity 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 paradigm of complex and sophisticated features for the sake of clean and neat UI that would allow customers quickly apply custom text and images to the product and checkout without lengthy and complex process.

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 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.