What Is Web-to-Print, How Does It Work and Why Should I Care?

When considering marketing materials for your organization, you’ll likely see the term “web-to-print” or “web2print”.

But what exactly does that mean?

Web-to-print companies provide online tools for creating consistent printing jobs throughout your organization.

Companies offering these solutions may also provide complementary services as well. This is helpful to add consistency throughout your marketing campaigns and it can also keep costs low.

What is web-to-print?

Web-to-print is a service that provides print products via online storefronts. It’s also known as “remote publishing” or a “print e-commerce solution”.

Both businesses and the general public can take advantage of these services. Most often, businesses use these online print services to achieve a wide range of marketing goals.

The service became popular in the late 90s as e-commerce became more common. The practice began with files being transferred from the customer to the printer via email. This gave printers the ability to pursue business clientele far beyond their local geographic area.

Early on, costs were much higher due to expensive software and the high cost of owning and maintaining printing hardware. As technology has advanced and become more accessible, costs have dropped.

Today’s software allows users to create templates for different print projects. This can include business cards, letterhead, brochures, newsletters, catalogs, and more.

These options are only a few clicks of the mouse away, reducing the time and energy spent creating the materials you need.

How does it work?

With web-to-print software, you can cut the need for third-party marketing or design teams. This change reduces the total cost of your printing.

Using the software may seem similar to desktop publishing software. However, you get the added capability to fill print orders through online platforms.

Streamlining the production of print reduces the time spent on the most important aspects of your print projects. It also allows you to focus more on the final product.

One great feature for users is the ability to upload your own creative content for any project you’re working on. This gives you control over the design and creation of your marketing content. It also reduces the turnaround time during the printing process. Generally, the uploaded files are in the standard PDF format.

These files can be sent back to you digitally for final approval before being sent to press. This provides peace of mind as well as saving you a trip to the printing facility or the time it would take for a proof to be sent through the mail.