Eight tips for marketing and managing private B2B web-to-print stores

There are many articles on the web about web-to-print, but most focus on the big players in the market or setting up open online stores to compete with them. There is, however, a sizable market for small, password-protected e-commerce shops to facilitate the ordering of print. Retailers, manufacturers, banks, non-profits, and agencies all benefit from a solution tailored to their specific print portfolio and needs. 

The Apogee StoreFront and Asanti StoreFront web-to-print solutions from Agfa are geared towards this market. You can set up open shops, but the majority of stores are password-protected and customized for a specific company or market. Here are eight recommendations for marketing, setting up, and maintaining such e-commerce shops.  

Agfa web-to-print solutions

Create a standard offering

The sales teams of printing companies are used to selling print but not always well versed in promoting a service. To avoid that your web-to-print service is oversold, work out a standard offering and create a leaflet describing it. One of the most important things is to specify how much customization this base package includes. As an example, specify that the base store can contain three business card layouts that shoppers can personalize online and that these cards must be based on the existing layout. Offer additional cards and customization at a fixed hourly rate. This way, expectations are set right, and you avoid time-consuming layout changes because your customer wants to go through endless layout updates of their cards. 

Put a value on your service

Don't give away your web-to-print service for free because people don't value things that seemingly cost nothing. Quote an annual service fee for it. You can still discount that cost provided your customer's yearly print turnover exceeds a specific value. The point is to make it clear that this service takes effort and has value. It is also a good idea to insist that sales should only offer web-to-print to customers with a specific minimum annual order volume.  

Don't overlook security and privacy legislation

When you set up stores for security- and privacy-conscious companies and organizations, such as banks, insurance companies, or government agencies, they may ask for a Data Processing Agreement. Such a contract describing each party's rights and obligations concerning the protection of personal data is especially important in Europe. Many trade associations offer generic Data Processing Agreements to their members, adapted to the local legislation. Check with them or ask your lawyer, who may also provide you with such a standard contract.

GDPR & web2print

Automate, automate, automate

Once a customer signs up for your web-to-print service, the real work begins. Even though Agfa web-to-print solutions allow your customers to set up and manage their own store, it is usually the printing company that does all of this work. This includes administrative tasks like adding new users to the store. Apogee StoreFront and Asanti StoreFront have a self-registration mechanism to take the hassle out of that task. This is just one example of a feature that allows you to minimize the work required to offer a web-to-print service.

Add a Twitter feed to the homepage

Ideally shops evolve regularly, surprising print buyers with something new once in a while. For private stores, this can be challenging. To add some pizzaz to the shop's home page, insert your customer's Twitter feed to it. Doing this takes just a few minutes, and it will please your customer's marketing team to see that their tweets also appear in the shop. Remember that this marketing team is often a key decision-maker when it comes to web-to-print adoption. 


Make frequently ordered products easy to access

StoreFront users operate a very diverse range of private shops, with some shops containing less than ten products while others have thousands. For many larger shops, most orders consist of the same small range of products that everyone needs. To make life easier for print buyers, add shortcuts to those frequently ordered products on the store's homepage.

'Powered by'

B2B shops are typically customized with the company logo at the top of all pages. That doesn't mean you can't do a bit of self-promotion in such stores. That way, people are aware of who is operating their store, which might bring in additional business. The easiest way of doing this is by adding a 'Powered by XX' tagline to all store pages with XX being your company name. 

promoting your web-to-print service

End-of-life and GDPR

At some point in time, a customer may switch to a different print provider or stop using the store. Simply deactivating the store and leaving all its data untouched may be illegal. European GDPR legislation, for example, forbids storing private data (the names of the print buyers, email addresses, phone numbers, etc.) indefinitely. Once it is clear a store is no longer relevant, you should remove all private data from it.

Web-to-print is a powerful tool to offer extra value to your print buyers and increase customer retention. Hopefully, the above tips and tricks have convinced you that a solid partner like Agfa makes it easier to deploy such a service. Do not hesitate to get in touch with your local Agfa sales representative or dealer if you are interested in our web-to-print solutions.

Agfa web2print for commercial printers & large-format printing

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