Web-to-print empowers international print recovery

Web-to-print is the new normal

Web-to-print -photographers choosing woman's portraits at the working place with two computers in the studio
Web-to-print -photographers choosing woman's portraits at the working place with two computers in the studio Photo Vpress

Tens of thousands of print businesses worldwide are contending with the challenges from declines in demand and how they can produce their products with resource shortages. Another problem is to engage with customers, and in this situation, Vpress is witnessing a very surprising, or perhaps not so surprising, trend international trend.

“What we have witnessed across our international customer base is nothing short of astonishing,” comments Kelvin Bell, sales director at Vpress. He adds, “There has been an intense and sustained migration for print businesses towards web-to-print and eCommerce as they adapt their offering to be purchased, specified, and personalized online.

“This really is a massive acceleration of the trend towards print businesses embracing digital platforms to add value to their customer’s businesses.”

Indeed, recent weeks have seen two substantial print businesses in South Africa turn to Vpress for support, as they have been especially hard hit by a Government lockdown that far exceeded what has been experienced in Europe.

Bell continues, “All our sales consultations were done via web conference. Our products were reviewed, evaluated, and qualified by the teams at Printafoil and Lithotech (part of the Bidvest Group) in Cape Town. Both are substantial print businesses supporting both lithographic and digital work, which has already started to be generated online.”

The teams at these two substantial print businesses both specifically highlighted the need for an eCommerce and web-to-print solution that was fully cloud-based and offered very rapid deployment, full technical and remote support as well as long-term implementation training.

A digital revolution

Bell explains, “These technology investments in South Africa are typical of a much broader global trend we are experiencing. In the UK, we have seen a spike in new inquiries as business owners take time to assess their technology infrastructure, but the approach is very different.

“Very few companies here are buying web-to-print for the first time, as most of our new business are companies looking to change their existing platform to one that offers better return-on-investment and a more sustainable business model.

“Many of our customers in overseas companies are coming to this technology for the first time. It is very gratifying to see how passionate they are when they realize the growth potential it represents.”

Surfing the wave

Having been founded in Cheltenham more than eighteen years ago, Vpress continues to live by its motto of ‘partnering customers to success.’ It has also witnessed a period of seismic sector evolution, branching out from being defined by ‘web-to-print’ to becoming a full and independent developer of eCommerce technology solutions.

With its New Zealand operation having opened a second office in Sydney, Australia, along with the recent appointment of Jean Lloyd as Business Development for the MEA (the Middle East and Africa), Vpress are confident about the future and surfing a new tidal wave of interest in its product offering.

Bell concludes, “To be honest, no one is shocked as we are in the amount of new business coming through, we really thought things would slow down. But many print businesses have been forced to stop and evaluate what they are doing now and adapt to a rapidly evolving new normal.”

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

It is the right time to support our high-impact reporting and authoritative and technical information with some of the best correspondents in the industry. Readers can power Indian Printer and Publisher’s balanced industry journalism and help sustain us by subscribing.

– Naresh Khanna

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