“Now there is an increasing number of professional buyers using the websites and they want the same flexibility as they get when buying offline.”
This means a choice of 12 paper types and at the whole gamut of finishing from trim and fold to saddle stitching, perfect and case binding, lamination, foiling, Scodix digital embellishment and laser cutting. “It’s about making the whole experience a lot more satisfactory, and not about trying to shift 135gsm leaflets.”
He reckons that 70% of day to day print items are available online, covering cut sheet digital, produced on the flotilla of HP Indigos in the business, large format inkjet, but not as yet offset printing. With the move to new premises at Thames Gateway, offset litho is likely to be brought into the fold, especially as the numbers in each order and average order value increases.
Peeling has created the character of Jane as typical of the new generation of print buyers: where buying print is just part of her overall job, where as a digital native she prefers to communicate digitally rather than by phone, where instant gratification is crucial. “Jane doesn’t think that things take three or four days to produce and be delivered to her,” Peeling says.
This is the Amazon Effect. The online shopping giant has raised expectations about speed of service and print is part of this. The standard service for WTTB customers is next day.
An accelerated service for overnight or same day delivery is available, capitalising on the company’s location close to the City and by extension the rest of London.
“There are relatively few occasions that people need same day delivery,” says Peeling. “Overnight is much more likely.” When they do, the effect that Amazon and others have had on delivery has created a much wider range of courier services that the print business can all upon.
But if people can wait a little for delivery, they will not tolerate the time it takes to return a quote. Jane, says Peeling, wants to be able to go on line with a print budget in mind and test what this will provide. There is no need to wait three hours for a quote to be returned, instead options can be tested within seconds.
Resellers will be provided with samples of print and finishing options and materials to explain to their customer what is available. Should a product not be available online, it can be added, either to the general site or as a Just for You button on the client dashboard for frequently ordered products.
It is about making the experience of buying online as smooth, as flexible and satisfactory as possible.
But however far the technology can go in this direction, Peeling believes there will still be a need for face to face interaction for the percentage of products that remain beyond the scope of a browser.
Peeling says: “Resellers will continue to have face to face meeting with their clients. They have the traction with their customers and the expertise in printing without having to carry the capital costs any longer.”