The evolution of technology has been shaping human interactions for thousands of years. From Gutenberg, to Graham Bell, to the advent of the World Wide Web, technology shapes the way we interact with each other. The rise of the Internet has opened limitless opportunities for the graphic arts industry through web-to-print, but has the evolution of this service stalled?

A Brief History of Web-to-Print

Since the term web-to-print was first coined roughly 16 years ago, there have been giant leaps in web-to-print technology. The question is, what has been holding web-to-print back from further evolution?

Without a doubt, there have been some success stories like Vistaprint, or 123print.com, although they only offer standard products like business cards, postcards, and stationary, which simply cannot meet the commercial printing needs of larger organizations. These printing services are clearly suited for consumers and small businesses only, with the overwhelming factor being cost, even at the expense of flexibility, quality, and service.

The Real Challenge For Web-to-Print

The real challenge with web-to-print lies with commercial and trade printers who have yet to offer a technology solution that can meet the complex commercial printing needs of larger organizations. Interaction with the client is still predominately done through the traditional method of emails and phone calls, which often leads to inefficiencies, lack of accountability, and missed timelines, given the complex nature of commercial print jobs. So, why doesn’t web-to-print address how most corporate print jobs are purchased today?

The most probable reason for this being that complex and customized print jobs require a high level of personal service. Given the risks associated (e.g. meeting timelines, quality, etc.) with complex printing services, it’s simply safer to have a human oversee the print job. Complex commercial print orders require thorough understanding of print and finishing operations.

Looking Ahead to the Future of Web-to-Print…

It would seem that a hybrid approach would probably work best for commercial printers. Automation must complement personal printing services, not replace it.

Enfigo’s Custom Printing App helps facilitate complex commercial printing orders in a simple and user-friendly way. Learn how we can help your organization streamline the management of your print orders.