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How Can My Company Benefit from an Online Print Services Portal?

September 20 2023 | By Rod Lowe | Blog

We all know how convenient it is to shop online. Anytime access, time-savings, a record of our past purchases for quick reference, and easy billing options are just some advantages of taking to our screens to order whatever we need, when we want it.

That same convenience is available for purchasing all types of marketing materials your company needs, whenever you need them, through secure web-to-print portals. It’s a more efficient method for procuring print that requires fewer dedicated resources.

What is Web to Print?

Web to print is a term that was coined about two decades ago. The phrase refers to systems that allow print buyers and marketers to order their printed marketing collateral online securely through a printer’s website.

From early, basic, and somewhat cumbersome portals, web to print has evolved into a comprehensive, yet easy-to-use platform that can handle just about any product. Systems today, commonly called storefronts, offer many document templates, including business cards, self-mailers, brochures, postcards, posters, calendars, newsletters, specialty applications like display items, packaging, and many others. Templates offer the advantage of up-to-date designs, editing functions, and flexibility to customize and adapt the materials to your needs.

Advantages for Brand Marketers

Print companies use powerful modern web-to-print systems like AccuConnect to meet the needs of the brands they support. AccuConnect offers a host of useful features, including proofing capabilities, inventory management, digital asset storage, connectors to third party software like sales management programs, and controlled access. The platform integrates with your company’s administrative and financial functions to assign costs internally and keep the budget on track.

Print companies can offer portals open to the public for the occasional purchase, and they can create custom portals for individual brands. Secure access capabilities control the branded marketing assets, which the print company can store for quick call-up when needed.

Purchasing Across the Enterprise

When your organization uses a printing portal for your marketing needs, you’ll realize several benefits.

You can decentralize print purchasing to a great extent, creating a much more efficient and lean buying process. Staff members you empower can order products such as business cards, letterhead, or other frequently consumed items they need to re-order regularly. Since most of the elements on a particular item stay the same, ordering is easy and quick. New hires, for example, can order their own materials.

Brands often use portals to enable their distributed sales teams or franchisees to create personalized campaigns. Marketing templates allow for customization within brand guidelines to produce materials specific to geographic locations or local campaign requirements.

With platforms like AccuConnect, brands can avoid the time-consuming process of updating assets or changing copy and images to match the needs of local campaigns across multiple locations.

Print companies can balance this easy access by implementing central controls and parameters. Not all staff will have the same level of access to all products. The buy button is available only for pre-approved items and quantities, easily streamlining or eliminating unnecessary and time-consuming approval processes.

Similarly, staff will only have access to certain content and limited editing functions to ensure branding will always remain consistent across all platforms and all departments.

With an online print-ordering portal, changes to your branding guidelines become more manageable. The marketing department simply needs to upload new designs to the portal one time. No one else can change the designs and only approved artwork will be used, even on a global scale.

Automation Where You Need It

When you automate the print-buying function by leveraging the power of web portals, administrative tasks go more smoothly. Automating the print-buying function makes it possible to deal with many questions online, making managing the printer relationship easier. Integrated order tracking and invoicing modules provide all the information needed for your accounting team to charge back costs to relevant departments, and payments can be automated at regular intervals.

Some components of print buying still need human interaction. But decentralizing and automating print buying, just like automating other repetitive tasks, will inject a tremendous boost of efficiency into your operation. Ask your print service provider if they will set up a portal dedicated to your organization based on the AccuConnect platform and begin to enjoy the convenience and time savings a web to print portal provides.