Enabling customers to generate their own printing quotes online can be a huge time-saver for the employees in your print shop, sign shop, or screen-printing firm. But online printing quotes can also pose some risks. Fortunately, there are ways to convert these potential risks into competitive advantages.
Risk: Online printing quotes can limit your ability to build relationships with new clients.
This might not matter if the person submitting an order only need one or two small print jobs a year. But if your online order data shows that a single individual is placing larger-than-average orders or several orders a month, you may want to reach out to that buyer with a phone call or email.
As you learn more about your repeat customers, your sales team can suggest complementary printed products, display accessories or money-saving materials.
Risk: First-time buyers may not understand exactly what they are ordering.
Many people who buy printing these days don’t understand printing-related specifications. So you may need to provide basic educational content about print buying. You can provide this content on your website or in blog posts, videos, webinars, newsletters, or in-person events.
To capture the email addresses of visitors to your website, you can use a pop-up overlay with a webform and copy that promises to send them a buyer's’ guide or educational newsletter..
Risk: You can lose money on certain jobs if the prices aren’t updated regularly.
As the cost of certain materials rises throughout the year, you could end up selling certain jobs at a loss. Minimize this risk by devoting one day a month to reviewing the cost data associated with the products you quote online. Use this time to replace unprofitable products with more lucrative ones.
Why Online Ordering Matters
Your print business management software should offer online tools that enable customers to calculate printing quotes for smaller, basic jobs themselves.
Not long ago, customers expected to have a conversation about pricing with someone on your sales team before placing an order. Your sales reps served as consultants—helping guide buyers to the printing materials and finishing processes that made the most sense for their projects.
Today, buyers of small, fast-turnaround jobs don’t have the time to engage in multiple conversations with different companies before placing an order. They want to be able to quickly get the printing quotes they need whenever they need them.
So when you are setting up business management software for estimating, order management, and invoicing, make sure the system makes it possible for customers to get printing quotes online.
A good system will also include tools for customer-relationship management. Over time, you will want to gather and retain relevant information about each current and prospective customer. You can use this information to develop targeted educational materials that can help answer their questions about printing.
The data from online ordering can also help you make informed decisions about which types of products should be offered online and how they should be promoted and priced.
If you need print-business software that can help you gain some of these insights, check our Ordant software. Our easy-to-use estimating and order management tools and optional web-to-print module have helped all types and sizes of printing businesses be more successful. Our software experts have empowered hundreds of commercial printing firms, sign shops, and screen-printing businesses to provide accurate online quotes for a huge variety of printed products and services. We can help you too! To schedule a demo, visit www.ordant.com