By Melissa Donovan
Part 1 of 2
Web to print (W2P) is moving into the graphic arts at a rapid pace. With the advent of digital technologies that allow for one-offs and personalization, more Internet-centric vendors utilize Web-based retail storefronts with backend ordering systems. These interfaces allow the user, whether business or consumer, to upload an image and personalize a sign, banner, blanket, or t-shirt, depending on the available services. Once in the system, proofs are sent out and then the printer gets to work creating the final product.
This series focuses on two print service providers that rely on W2P storefronts for submission, layout, approval, and ordering. The benefits are paramount.
B2B and B2C
Galloree, based in Charlotte, NC, offers apparel screenprinting; large format printing of banners, vinyl signs, decals, wall decals, and canvas photo prints; giclée fine art printing of art prints and photography; and direct-to-garment (DTG) apparel printing. The custom merchandising company employs seven and sells to customers mainly in the U.S., although it does ship worldwide.
It began in 2005 as a custom screenprinting shop. Three years ago it integrated digital printing into its portfolio, as it had previously outsourced banners and other digital print services. From Canon U.S.A., Inc. it purchased a 44-inch imagePROGRAF iPF8400, used for photography and fine art prints. It employs a BelQuette, Inc. DTG printer for small t-shirt and apparel orders. A JV33 54-inch printer from Mimaki USA, Inc. was chosen to print banners, decals, and die-cut stickers.
“Our business is mainly a large volume of smaller orders, so the Mimaki was a good choice because the print speed is adequate and the quality is great,” explains Steve McKillip, president, Galloree.
To keep pace with the competition, Galloree implemented a W2P site in 2009. The custom-built platform was developed over the course of 14 months and is hosted on dedicated servers through a hosting company. Today the solution almost runs the business, the staff uses it for quoting, tracking orders, shipping, and scheduling production.
Galloree is both a business to business (B2B) as well as business to consumer (B2C) retailer. It offers B2B customers their own custom storefronts, a main feature of its services portfolio. “Many of our customers like to be able to keep their branding and style throughout the store. In addition, a number are white label and the end user does not realize that we do the printing and fulfillment,” admits McKillip.
The company recognized the demand for unbranded free online stores, spurring them to offer the service to its B2B customer base. According to McKillip, it is a win-win for both sides. “The custom storefronts help make customers look better and sell more. In return we do more printing,” he continues.
In addition to retail storefronts, the W2P system allows customers to upload print-ready artwork or design a product in a template. The online designer featured on the site is ideal for users that are not graphic designers, and provides resizing, background removal, text, and personalization.
Proofing is available for both B2B and B2C users. On the B2B side, users can create the products they wish to sell online and then create mockups to showcase in their Web store. These products include totes, smartphone cases, drink ware, skateboards, greeting cards, and hats in addition to apparel, stickers, and fine art prints.
B2B users also integrate a number of solutions into their custom storefronts. An I frame code allows for the embedding of products into existing Web sites. A Facebook application creates a custom storefront on the social media network. An API is available for those with an existing e-commerce site, allowing them to connect to the order entry system and place orders automatically.
W2P has helped Galloree offer its customers fast turnaround times and ease of use, something that propels them to come back time and time again. The custom merchandise provider has experienced an increased number of repeat orders since implementation. McKillip believes this is because the system makes it easy for someone to login and reorder in less than five minutes.
For Galloree the benefits are vast. W2P allows them to handle more orders, stay organized, offer additional products, and fulfill orders quicker.
Oct2014, Digital Output DOW2P1410