In the online world, everyone looks the same, but how to differentiate yourself amongst all the same organizations that have the same equipment as you do, the same access to tools, the same substracts and inks, same finishing equipment, same vendors, sometimes you are even sharing the same customers.
1 – Sell under differentiated brands.
Some of your online strategies might be to compete with your own company. Imagine a self-service solution, it works perfectly for restaurants right? Why not implementing a self-service for your company as well. Some customers would like to sit down and be attended by a waiter likewise some of your customers would expect to receive a visit from a salesperson to discuss technical aspects of a print job, these customers are willing to pay more for differentiated service. On the other hand some customers can take care of themselves and go straight to the buffet, your e-commerce web site is your self-service buffet for your tech-savvy customers. You can publish a limited range of products there at a lower price. If you do a good job, your regular customers don’t even know your “buffet” exists, while your new customers will be happy to buy at a lower price on the self-service web site.
2 – Sell B2B and improve your customer experience.
The most important piece of advice I give print business owners is “If you don’t have experience in selling online” start selling to your existing customers. I get scared when I see the amount of print business that still relies on sending emails for quotes and receiving emails with files attached. It’s a nightmare to think of all the problems this generates. It’s much clever to just create a web site with your customer’s look and fee, and invest in educating your customer to use the web site to communicate with your team, to send the files, and to get quotes in an organized way. That you ca audit, you can generate a view reports. And when you have the correct understanding of how to sell online, you can escalate and maybe start a B2C eCommerce web site.
3 – Sell products for a different audience.
You may have a web site for selling premium products like a top finishing process or a special die-cut and another site where you sell cheap business cards with minimum quality that you arrange on a sheet of paper using some ganging software. It’s a matter of segmentation. You’ll not use the same communication to both sites, your public is different, but both consumers are willing to buy from you. The market is out there waiting for your offers. Stop criticizing those who sell low quality for a low price, why don’t you do the same? I see a lot of traditional companies criticizing those revolutionary startups who know nothing about print, they don’t have a single printing machine. But they know how to get to their target consumer. You too should learn from them. Copy what they are doing because nothing is created out of nothing, everything is a remix.
“When we are no longer able to change the situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”
— Victor Frankl
4 – Have your sales reps take care of their site.
Think of new business models. Printing companies can have normally shared their profit in the form of a commission to resellers. Those same resellers are afraid the web to print sites will steal jobs from them. Why not empower resellers with their own web sites? Some of them can create web sites for their audience for specific B2B customers. The fact is that by empowering resellers to create their own web sites you get rid of the tedious work of setting up products, and designing web and marketing the web site.
5 – Get an automated solution to manage multiple storefronts.
Without a solution to manage orders centrally, you’ll have to manage orders out of each separate site. Arando Server for eCommerce-to-Print offers you the possibility to manage multiple online sales channels from a single point and connect to your MIS and to your production workflows using JDF.