The Value of Print e-Commerce
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Due to the pandemic, 2020 had some of the most challenging global business conditions that print service providers (PSPs) had seen in a decade. Operations were disrupted as executives and managers struggled to figure out health and safety protocols, while also enabling remote work where possible. Sales and revenues for PSPs in North America were down by 13%. This disruption forced PSPs to react to a very fluid situation, and one of those changes was an increased focus on digital transformation—digitizing offline, manual processes.
One area of transformation is print e-commerce, which allowed clients the option to purchase and customize print online. The need accelerated during the pandemic as print e-commerce provides many benefits, but also added socially distanced print buying. Our most recent software studies in North America and Europe show many PSPs that had yet to adopt web-to-print (W2P) software are now interested in buying, with nearly 50% of respondents in Europe and 18% in North America expecting to purchase a solution in the next two years. The reason is that 74% are adding W2P to improve their customers’ ordering experience (increasing production efficiency and attracting new clients are further down the list of priorities).
Interest in Buying W2P
|More PSPs are interested in adding W2P software.|
Over the past year, when order volumes declined anywhere from 30% to 80%, PSPs with W2P solutions were able to quickly shift customers to online ordering. As a result, over 30% of respondents in North America (and even more in Europe) were able to increase the online order volumes stemming from other areas of declines. The increase in online ordering, while accelerated by the pandemic, is likely to remain as the habit becomes the new normal.
Based on our most recent research, there are other digital transformation and automation initiatives that PSPs adopted and increased over the last year. The European Software Investment Outlook and North American Software Investment Outlook studies also revealed the types of automation and the financial benefits derived in areas of prepress, finishing, and shipping. The results were similarly optimistic, as PSPs found opportunities for progress during unprecedented times. Rather than returning to pre-pandemic practices, PSPs should use this momentum to push their digital transformations forward so they can become highly efficient, data-driven print operations and take advantage of the coming economic growth.
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