Your Customers Want to Order Online – Let Them!
In today’s world, online shopping is a given, even for printed products. Your clients, who are now much more likely to be digital natives, are used to functioning online and don’t require over-the-phone or in-person human interaction. This isn’t true for every product, but most times, online ordering is the method customers prefer. Items such as postcards, self-mailers, brochures, signs, and especially consistent repeat orders are well-suited to self-service online ordering.
Corporate clients and national brands are also increasingly looking to take advantage of ordering print online. If much of the print-buying function can be decentralized and passed to employees, it creates a more efficient and streamlined purchasing system that saves time.
Benefits for Brands and Print Providers
But corporate clients need certain assurances. They need to know that the platform will preserve brand consistency across all purchases, for example. Clients need to track and reconcile expenses, and they need security. Organizations increasingly prefer to order from a branded portal that meets their specifications in terms of appearances and functionalities instead of a generic site.
Print service providers have an opportunity to leverage the power of an e-commerce system like AccuConnect™. These online platforms add value to print provider services and tighten customer relationships while reaping the benefits of automation. Transactions initiated through online storefronts trigger automated processing and production, which lowers costs and improves operational efficiencies.
Branded shopping portals give clients a unique experience, with a familiar look and feel, and features they might want. A web storefront is a virtual shopping space that is comfortable, makes documents and digital assets easy to find, and is inaccessible to anyone outside the company. The right system makes it possible to create one portal or a dozen that can all be managed from one hub.
Other optimal customizations include document templates with clients’ logos and other branding elements. Buyers can order brochures, posters, or letterhead on demand and maintain branding consistency across all communications. The online platform will ensure that whoever is ordering will not inadvertently use an outdated image on a postcard, for example.
Balancing user access with central control is ideal. Users can only order pre-approved materials that meet the organization’s established standards for colors, fonts, layout, select wording, or images. While customization can be available, it’s only within the parameters set by the organization.
When document customization is necessary, editing tools should be available to edit documents, alter logos, images, text, paragraphs, and other items.
Ideally, each online storefront should connect to a client’s accounting system. Accounting interfaces allow the platform to chargeback departments appropriately or monitor print budgets. Employees can’t place print orders that exceed pre-set limits without special approval. Online ordering systems offer better control over spending and enhanced tracking. This is particularly important for distributed organizations.
Similarly, a system should automate end-to-end production and fulfillment, eliminate worries for clients, track their inventory and buying history, and generate data they need.
Clients should require minimal training on how to use their online portal. If the system is too difficult to learn, then it’s the wrong one. System operation should be intuitive and superior customer experience should be a key objective.
While finessing these features can be time consuming, a system like AccuConnect is highly customizable, so you won’t need extra coding or custom development to create flexible corporate portals.
Online sales don’t replace all human transactions. Personal interaction is still required, but instead of chasing orders, sales professionals can transition to advisory or analyst roles. They can focus on higher margin sales and consultative services. Clients want to buy online. Give them the best experience possible while running a more profitable shop.