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In this email series, so far we’ve examined the benefits of online ordering and what your customers have come to expect when they want to place an order online.

Today, we explore what your peers think about the power of online ordering and the main struggle of getting started.

MEET DICK: THE HAPPY PRINTER

Dick Olenych is the owner of Spectrum Printing (“Home of the Happy Printers!”) in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Dick calls himself a “dum’ld printer,” but he’s far from it. His understanding and focus on where the print buyers are have given him an enormous passion for online ordering and everything it entails.

“Online ordering is not something that is on its way here. Everyone is doing it today…with everything. Do you do online banking? Isn’t it easy? We need to get people to buy print the same way.”

So, what is it that ignites Dick’s passion for online ordering with his company?

THE FUEL BEHIND AN ONLINE ORDERING PASSION

For Dick, what fuels the online ordering excitement comes down to these four things:

1. The Future of Print

Times have changed. The economic landscape is not the same as it once was, and the future of print is something you need to consider. Dick explains it like this:

“It’s incredibly important to understand that the print market space is going to contract by 50% in the next ten years – meaning where there are one hundred printers today, there will be fifty printers ten years from now.”

He continues by saying,

“I love my customers and giving them the ability to order online is incredibly important. Unless printers shift their thought process and go after print in ways they haven’t done in the past, those printers in brick and mortar stores (who are simply relying on their banners out front) aren’t going to be around in ten years. You’ve got to give the world the ability to order ONLINE.”

2. The Streamlined Process

If you’re telling yourself you don’t have time to think about the future, then think about the here and now. Are you asking yourself how you can be more productive? How you can save time? With online ordering, Dick says that one of the greatest, tangible benefits is the streamlined process:

“In any given print process (in a typical shop), you have four to six activities: the initial order takes place, then there’s the proofing back and forth several times with the customer, the actual print production, bindery, delivery, and then, finally, invoicing the customer. Online ordering takes care of more than 60% of that process for me. It eliminates the back and forth of proofing because the customer creates their own product.”

What’s more, with traditional orders, printers don’t see money from an order until the very last step. An online ordering solution, on the other hand, gets the money in your hands fast.

“I get paid before the job is even in production with online ordering! I love that! I love getting up in the morning, coming in the back door of the shop, and seeing the orders that have come in – especially new customers.”

3. The Stickiness Factor

Loyalty isn’t as common as it used to be. It used to be that once you had a customer’s loyalty, you had it for life. That’s not the case anymore. At the slightest obstacle or hiccup, consumers tend to jump ship and move on to the path of least resistance.

“In today’s economy, people are no longer at the same jobs for 40 years. There’s a lot of mobility. What happens when the print buyer from the company leaves? Well, if you have an online portal where customers can order online, you make it easy for them to continue with you, and you avoid them looking at other printers. The value of that customer retention is incredible.”

When you create the ability for your customers to reorder easily and change existing orders, you become that path of least resistance, the one reducing frustration for them.

“Online ordering is like digital handcuffs. Once a customer orders from you, they tend to stick with you.”

4. The Reality Check of Competition

Dick raises an interesting point about the big box competitors’ printers are facing:

“Local printers tend to think that the print giants are only doing small mom and pop business card orders. Any printer that believes these print giants won’t affect them is crazy. Your competitors are selling to businesses, and you have to compete. We, as printers, have to understand our competition, and online ordering gives us a level playing field.”

We’ll talk more about squaring off with the competition in the next email, but remember this tip from Dick:

“Maybe you can’t beat the big box on everything. Market on the things you do beat them at. Focus on the ‘little more’ you can give your customers. For example, most online competition doesn’t offer certain bindery options, laminating, booklet-making, etc.”

THE STRUGGLE

“It all sounds great,” you say, “but I just can’t pull the trigger.”

Dick’s struggle was the same one you’re facing now. Implementing an online ordering solution is work. It’s scary.

But it’s worth it.

A change in perspective is all it takes. Instead of looking at your business as an acorn, imagine it as the mighty oak it can be. You can either do it, or you can be a part of that 50% statistic Dick mentioned earlier.

Stick with us for next week where we’ll focus on lead generation and how you can Tackle Your Competition Worry-Free.

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