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web to print

The Pitfalls of DIY W2P

October 16 2023 | By Rod Lowe | Blog

It may be tempting to consider creating your own web-to-print portal for your customers to order their static and variable print products and other merchandise. If you’re a print provider, however, building a single system that meets the needs of all your current and future enterprise clients can be a huge challenge. Multiple interface issues arise as well as concerns about security and ecommerce.

Tecra’s AccuConnect is the best W2P solution available. Customers report that 95% of their needs are already met by the system’s built-in features, which are easily integrated with existing systems through APIs. Tecra provides custom integrations and interfaces to meet the remaining 5% of customer needs.

Challenges of Building Your Own Web-to-Print Solution
Lack of IT ResourcesIntegration and ConnectivitySystem Maintenance
Initial and Ongoing ExpenseLearning CurveSecurity

The Challenges of Building a W2P System Yourself

One of the key challenges of building a web-to-print system that meets the needs of all enterprise clients is the complexity of customization. Each client may have unique requirements and preferences when it comes to their printing needs. This means the system must be highly flexible and customizable to accommodate a wide range of specifications while simultaneously building print orders that can be accurately and efficiently fulfilled, delivered, and invoiced. Building such a system from scratch can be a daunting task, as it requires a deep understanding of the printing industry plus the ability to develop a robust IT platform that can handle various customization options.

Another challenge is the integration of multiple interfaces. Enterprise clients often have different software systems in place, such as customer relationship management (CRM) tools, accounting software, and inventory management systems. A web-to-print system needs to integrate with these existing interfaces seamlessly to ensure a smooth workflow. These integrations can be time-consuming and technically challenging, especially when dealing with different software vendors and compatibility issues.

Ecommerce functionality is another challenge that arises when building a web-to-print system for enterprise clients. The system needs to support online transactions, including order placement, payment processing, and tracking. Implementing a robust ecommerce infrastructure requires expertise in online payment gateways, inventory management, and order fulfillment. Building such functionality from scratch can be time-consuming and will require ongoing maintenance and updates to keep up with developing ecommerce standards.

Security Concerns

The security and privacy of data is crucial to earn client trust. As a print provider, you will handle sensitive information such as customer names, addresses, proprietary designs, and payment details. If your portal is not properly secured, this data could be at risk of being accessed or stolen by unauthorized individuals or hackers.

Another security concern is the potential for cyber-attacks. Web-to-print portals often involve online transactions and the exchange of financial information. If you do not adequately protect your portal, it could become a target for hackers. Criminals look to exploit vulnerabilities to gain access to sensitive data or disrupt your operations.

Building your own web-to-print portal means you are responsible for implementing and maintaining security measures. This includes ensuring your portal is protected against common security threats, such as malware, phishing attacks, and data breaches. Without the ability and resources to manage these security measures effectively, your portal may be more susceptible to security vulnerabilities.

Furthermore, you need to consider compliance with industry regulations and standards. Depending on the nature of your client’s businesses and the data you handle, there may be specific security requirements you need to meet. Failing to comply with these regulations can cause legal consequences for you and your client and could damage your reputation.

Do You Have the Resources?

A DIY project that creates a platform that handles all customer print ordering requirements can be a time-consuming endeavor. It requires significant investment in terms of both time and resources. Developing a web-to-print system that meets the needs of multiple enterprise clients involves extensive planning, designing, and programming. This process alone can take several months, depending on the complexity of the requirements, the size of your organization, and the nature of your clients.

Besides the initial development phase, maintaining and updating the DIY solution can be a drain on resources. As marketing channels evolve and new technologies emerge, it becomes necessary to keep up with the latest developments to ensure the system remains effective and competitive. This requires continuous monitoring, bug fixes, feature enhancements, and regular updates to keep the solution up-to-date and aligned with industry standards.

A DIY solution that handles all marketing needs for customers requires a dedicated team of skilled professionals. This team would include developers, designers, marketers, and support staff who can collectively work on various aspects of the system. Hiring and managing such a team can be a large financial commitment. Ongoing training and skill development will be necessary to keep the team updated with the latest trends and technologies.

Given the worker shortage many print service providers are experiencing in many parts of their businesses, finding the talent to develop and maintain a homegrown W2P solution will probably be challenging. You may not be able to draw from your existing staff. Software professionals with the necessary technical skills are currently in high demand and may be difficult to recruit.

A Better Approach

Considering the complexities of building and maintaining a DIY solution that handles printing needs for all customers, it becomes clear that the time and resource requirements can be substantial. Opting for a ready-made solution like AccuConnect from Tecra can save print providers from the extensive development process, ongoing maintenance, and security concerns. AccuConnect offers a comprehensive web-to-print system that caters to the needs of enterprise clients. The system allows print providers to focus on their core business while benefiting from a reliable and efficient W2P solution.

At Tecra, we are well-versed in printing industry workflows, software development, customization, integration, security, and ecommerce. AccuConnect offers a secure and reliable web-to-print system you can implement much quicker than you could by embarking on an extensive in-house development project. Because AccuConnect was designed to be highly configurable, you won’t be missing the features you need most from a home-grown system.