Apogee StoreFront enables PrintOff Graphic Arts to expand its reach
Printoff provides a comprehensive, high-quality printing service to organizations throughout the UK. The internet plays a central role in their communication with customers. We discussed this focus on web services with John Spencer, Technical Manager.
You use both Apogee StoreFront, a web-to-print platform, and Apogee WebApproval, an online upload and approval platform. What makes you put so much emphasis on online services?
These solutions make it easier to target large accounts and compete outside of our region. We’ve branded WebApproval as our ‘PrintPortal’ solution. It is predominantly used for trade clients, such as design agencies and print brokers. Apogee StoreFront is offered as our ‘PrintBank’ platform, to create private password protected stores for business customers and organizations. We also use it for our e-commerce stores in the educational market, a niche that we focus on.
You already had a web-to-print solution in place before moving over to Apogee StoreFront. Why did you make that switch?
We had a long-standing relationship with Agfa Graphics so it was a trusted name for us. Next to that StoreFront offered two key advantages over our previous solution. One is the Online Editor that enables StoreFront users to personalize print. It includes a plug-in for Adobe InDesign, something that our previous platform did not offer. Next to that there is the integration with Apogee Prepress, which was really important to us. It saves us a lot of time because orders are automatically imported in Apogee Prepress without the need to rekey data.
What is your favorite feature in Apogee StoreFront?
That would be access labels! Once you’ve assigned these labels to the products in a store, shoppers only see those products for which their own user profile contains the same labels. This is essential for business customers where each department only should get access to the products that are relevant to them.
What do your customers appreciate the most about web-to-print?
It makes it easier for businesses to decentralize their marketing and give more autonomy to local teams, while retaining overall control. That actually suits us fine. Previously those customers would negotiate each separate purchase whereas now the same volume of print is ordered through a series of smaller purchases at a price that only needed to be negotiated once.
Does that mean that it is easy to offer this service to your customers?
For many it is indeed nothing new. They understand what web-to-print is and we give them an account on our demo store to make them familiar with our set-up. For our educational stores we rely on e-mail marketing to promote our products. Some of the customers who discover our product range this way end up contacting us for more bespoke services. So the stores sometimes act as a gateway to attract new customers for our other services.
Which advice can you offer to other printers who are interested in web-to-print?
We only consider customers who have a yearly order volume of at least 50,000 pound candidates for setting up a dedicated store. We then charge them a small annual fee for setting up and maintaining their store. That fee is not there to make money, it simply assures that the customer does not consider their store a freebie and it helps make sure they are committed to making effective use of it. Don’t give this service away for free, that would be my advice to others.