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What does Web to Print mean?
Broadly defined, web-to-print (also known as Web2Print or W2P) refers to the online ordering of printed products. These include business items such as folders, business cards, and stationery, as well as advertising materials like placards, flyers, brochures, displays, and banners.
This definition encompasses the various functions of online printing:
- Ordering prefabricated, stock products or print-on-demand products from a web-to-print shop
- Configuring printed products and uploading print files
- Editing and ordering design templates online
- Creating custom advertising materials in an online editor
In this article, we want to focus especially on web-to-print solutions that you can use to create custom printed products using pre-made print templates via an internal web-to-print shop. Then, you can automatically send the print files to your printing partner.
Closed vs. Open Shops
Web-to-print shops that are designed specifically for a company are also known as closed shops. Only employees, partners, and other authorized users have access to these. Open shops, on the other hand, can be accessed by anyone on the Internet.
A brief explanation of web to print software
Web-to-print applications consist of three key components: an online shop, an editor, and a database. The editor serves as a tool for opening and editing the pre-made print templates. Meanwhile, the database supplies the editor with all the necessary data: alongside the templates, this includes images, videos, text and addresses. Lastly, the custom printed products can be ordered from the integrated online shop, a closed shop internal to your company.
Here is a step-by-step guide to online printing via the web-to-print system:
- Step 1: Create print templates for different marketing materials and upload them to the web-to-print system.
- Step 2: Select a suitable template for the desired print product.
- Step 3: Individually edit and adapt the template in the online editor.
- Step 4: Save the finished print product.
- Step 5: Submit the print data directly to the print shop online, order the product in the required quantity and have it delivered.
- Step 6: Receive print products, distribute at the point of sale and enjoy successful marketing!
What are the benefits of a web to print system?
Web-to-print is a simple, cost-effective solution for creating customized print products. You benefit from the following advantages:
- You can reduce the workload on your marketing department and design team.
- Instead, your employees can create their own printed products in the intuitive web-to-print software. No special design skills are necessary.
- The online web-to-print solutions are accessible anytime and anywhere. You can edit your advertising materials directly in the browser.
- That way, it’s easy to supply your local and international locations, partners and points of sale with high-quality, coordinated marketing materials.
- Web-to-print concepts streamline and accelerate many processes in your company. There is no need for time-consuming consultations with the marketing department, or corrections with the printing company. You can send your print orders directly to the printing company and receive your printed products in just a few days.
- This saves you a lot of time and, ultimately, money.
- Even a short-notice demand for advertising materials can quickly be met with web-to-print systems. Now you can execute successful marketing campaigns, any time.
- Thanks to pre-made, approved print templates and pre-defined access authorizations, you can ensure that all your brand specifications are met and all print products are CI-compliant.
- In addition, the web-to-print system provides an overview and complete control over all activities. You can view your orders, check your inventory and manage approved templates and print files at any time.
Who are web-to-print solutions suitable for?
Decentralized companies with a large network of sales partners, branches and subsidiaries are particularly likely to benefit from web-to-print solutions. Web-to-print enables different sites to create printed products independently on demand. Products can be individually tailored to the regional and local requirements, as well as customer groups. This is a necessity in order to execute a successful local marketing campaign.
Web-to-print eliminates long detours via a central marketing or design department. Even smaller companies will be familiar with the problem of overworked design teams and complex processes in the management of their assets and marketing materials. That’s why they too can benefit from investing in a suitable web-to-print solution.
Example application: Window and door manufacturer
As an example, let’s take a look at the company profine GmbH. The manufacturer of profiles for windows and doors produces numerous products around the world under three brand names. The company has 3,500 employees. We will now take a look at the everyday activities of a field sales representative at the company.
For successful consultations and sales meetings with new and existing customers in her area, the representative regularly needs suitable printed products. These include business cards with her personal contact details and brochures with the latest products and regional prices.
Without a web-to-print solution, the sales representative has to contact her colleagues in the marketing or purchasing departments whenever she needs a certain printed product. She exchanges several emails with them to work out the details. After that, those responsible create the required printed product, order it from the printing company, and send it to the sales representative’s office. This can take several weeks, in some cases.
With web to print
With a web-to-print system, the sales representative simply logs into her company’s web-to-print shop via the browser on her laptop. There, she can open the template for business cards. She enters her contact details into the template, sends the finished print file directly to the printing company, and has the new business cards delivered directly to her office. All within the same day.
Depending on the delivery time of the printing company, the representative quickly receives her new business cards and can continue networking successfully with customers in her area.
Read our Success Stories to find out exactly how profine GmbH uses our 4ALLPORTAL solution to supply its global production and sales network with assets and to professionally manage these.
Connecting Web-to-Print to your DAM System
Let’s take the sales representative from the previous example. Her workflow is even simpler when she doesn’t need to manually enter her details into the templates every time she uses the web-to-print system’s online editor. Instead, the details are already saved in the system. Then she can select the appropriate details in a few clicks and fill in her business cards automatically.
To enjoy the same benefits, connect your Digital Asset Management (DAM) software and Product Information Management (PIM) software to a web-to-print solution and use the Chili Publisher Connector for 4ALLPORTAL DAM.
Benefits of an intelligent interface
Chili Publisher is a web-to-print online editor by software provider CHILI publish, which you can use to create and edit templates for your marketing materials. The interface to the 4ALLPORTAL DAM system gives you direct access to your assets, media and data.
Whether it’s images, videos, text, product details or contact details and addresses – you can simply “drag and drop” them into your templates and automatically create print-ready products.
The marketing materials created can then be saved and managed in your DAM system.
How to create printed products with the Chili Publisher Connector
- Your company’s design team creates template for every possible printed product, such as flyers, placards and brochures, using the online document editor Chili Publisher. When doing so, it is also possible to convert Adobe InDesign and Illustrator files.
- Meanwhile, the design team ensures that the print templates conform to the company’s CI and fulfill all other print specifications. At the same time, the design team decides which elements of the templates may be edited.
- The design team uploads the finished templates to the company’s closed web-to-print shop.
- If you want to order a printed product, you can now open the required template in the online editor. In it, you can adapt text, logos, images and other elements as required to create customized marketing materials.
- The required media and data can be retrieved from the connected 4ALLPORTAL DAM and PIM system, and inserted into the appropriate section of the template with a click.
- The finished print file can be sent to the printing company via the online shop. The products are then printed in the selected design and quantity and delivered directly to the company or the desired location.
- In a few days, you receive your customized printed products.
Optimize your workflow with the 4ALLPORTAL solution
The interface between the DAM system and Chili Publisher ensures a smooth workflow during the production and management of all your marketing materials.
A central platform for creating printed products
When you integrate Chili Publisher in the 4ALLPORTAL DAM system, you get a central platform for creating high-quality printed products. Both the DAM and web-to-print systems are accessible online from any location. That way, employees in different locations, sales partners and dealers can create approved printed products according to their needs. You can define who has access to what, as required.
The DAM and PIM systems are your central data source, so you always have correct and up-to-date data when editing your printed products.
Automatic data updates
Chili Publisher integration allows you to exchange assets between the two systems. When you change your data in the DAM system, the documents are updated automatically in the editor. This ensures you are always working with the latest version.
Ensure compliance with brand specifications
Ensure the controlled creation of marketing materials that fulfill all your brand specifications and conform to your corporate design. The layout is provided by the print templates, and the assets in the DAM system also meet all your requirements. With additional meta information and access authorizations, you can ensure materials are used as intended.
Web-to-print systems can be used to create printed products by employees without any special design skills – completely error-free. The templates are created by your professional design team and approved in advance by the printing company, so there are no pleasant surprises, such as color discrepancies. The DAM system keeps any manual changes within limits by automatically filling in the templates. This too prevents errors in the content and format.
Save time and money
All the above points ultimately save a great deal of time and money. They eliminate many of the superfluous extra steps, such as long-winded consultations with the marketing department and printing companies, and searching for the appropriate materials. Instead, you benefit from a faster time-to-market and realize your web-to-print projects in just a few clicks on a single platform.
Frequently Asked Questions
Web-to-print (W2P) is a technology for creating customized print products such as business cards, flyers, posters and more via the internet.
In a web-to-print online store, print templates for various advertising materials are available. You edit and configure these using an easy-to-use online editor. After completion, you send your personalized print files online to the print shop which immediately starts printing.
Closed web-to-print stores are company-owned online stores for ordering print products. Only authorized persons have access to the closed store system for example employees and sales partners.
With web-to-print systems, you can produce a wide range of print products very easily, quickly and cost-effectively – directly online. You can individualize these according to your ideas so that you receive coordinated advertising materials for every marketing campaign.