This quarter, Keypoint Intelligence - InfoTrends’ Ryan McAbee, Director, Print Production Workflow shares our first 2021 post about how to become a "smart print shop." Each quarter in 2021 we will introduce ways to enable and automate your smart print shop. This quarter it's 3 tips for empowering and boosting your customers’ print buying experience. 
Ryan McAbee
Keypoint Intelligence / InfoTrends
There are multiple examples of shops using the tips Ryan recommends in our new eBook, "Tips for Surviving the Pandemic and Recovering." Download the eBook for ideas, strategies and workflow automation that has helped print centers across five verticals during the pandemic and is positioning them for recovery.

Until next time,
Elisha Kasinskas 
Marketing Director 
Rochester Software Associates, Inc 
Empower Your Customers… Online 
The printing industry closed out 2020 with a better understanding of the pandemic from medical and economic perspectives. More importantly, the printing industry had eight months of experience in pivoting to new print opportunities and additional ways to engage customers. 

Many print service providers (PSPs) used this time to digitize manual, offline tasks so they could increase their levels of automation and improve the customer experience. In  last quarter's newsletter, we encouraged you to map your workflow processes to understand where processes could be eliminated, streamlined, or replaced— ways to increase your level of automation. 

Now it’s time to focus on improving your customers’ experience, particularly when it comes to ordering print. With the first half of 2021 shaping up to resemble 2020, printers must focus on virtually enabling their customers by deploying a Web to Print solution or improving their existing one. 

Here are three tips for empowering and boosting your customers’ print buying experience in 2021: 
1.  Online Print Buying for Convenience and Safety 

The physical limitations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic forced businesses and their customers to conduct business differently. Print buyers that may have previously placed orders, approved proofs, or conducted quality checks in-person were forced to change their behaviors as print shops implemented social distancing and other medical precautions. During the pandemic in 2020, Keypoint Intelligence conducted a SMB Print Buyer survey of small and medium-sized print buyers. Over 80% of these respondents expected to increase the use of online ordering in response to the pandemic. The situation was similar for in-plant print operations since many corporate and educational institutions shifted to virtual or hybrid work models. 
2.  Significant Benefits

Online ordering offers many benefits compared to traditional methods, including: 
  • Always-on accessibility 
  • Self-service convenience 
  • Instant upload and approval 
  • Socially distanced purchasing 
Print shops should focus on simplifying the online ordering process while increasing the level of interaction and notifications with the print buyer. Start with a streamlined product catalog and customization options, like the 1-click simplicity offered in WebCRD for pre-defined products. Consider adding relevant product bundles, such as printed kits for social distancing or personalized marketing. For example, a social distancing kit might include floor graphics, signage, and branded personal protective equipment. Our survey found that nearly 50% of small and medium-sized print buyers thought it was important for their printer to offer pre-configured bundles. 
The State of Colorado's print center created a catalog of PPE and COVID items for ordering. 
See this and other examples in our new eBook, "Tips for Surviving the Pandemic and Recovering."
3. Reboot Your Web to Print for Success 

Ordering online poses different challenges than ordering in-person. The customer must be able to find, customize, and order products, in addition to uploading and approving any needed artwork. Customers need plenty of breadcrumbs to quickly locate and understand the available customization options, such as paper types. Accurate online proofing, like WebCRD’s SurePreview™, also becomes critical to ensure that the customer orders and customizes the right product and that the order can be accurately fulfilled by the print shop. The customer experience is tied together through consistent reinforcement and notifications at critical points in the ordering and production processes. E-mails can be sent to confirm that the order has been placed and when the order is ready for pickup or has shipped.
Work to refine and reboot your Web to Print presence now to boost your customers’ print buying experience. The behavioral shifts established during the pandemic for ordering online are likely to stick even after we exit the pandemic. Next quarter, we’ll discuss how to optimize your way to a smarter print shop.   

Contact RSA for additional tips about how to become a smart print shop.
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Rochester Software Associates, Inc.