Web to print adoption is spotty because it’s being hawked and pushed by equipment manufacturers and software vendors. Fear tactics are used on the unsuspecting print service provider (PSP). Many PSPs are not technically savvy in this particular area and are subject to the wily ploys of slick salespeople who use terms like “ROI” and “VDP” to convince these PSPs to bite the bullet and purchase equipment to the tune of $500,000 and more.
After the courtship is over, the PSP now must figure out how to sell into a new market with an existing sales staff. This is where the rub begins. Print salespeople were trained to sell quantity. They only make money when they sell quantity. Most are on a draw/commission arrangement and if they don’t make their numbers, they personally take it in the shorts. The PSP having been blindsided is now caught in a catch 22. He cannot convince the rep to sell web to print solely, but as an add-on. Poor training, limited technical acumen by the PSP and the sales rep both lead to poor traction or no traction. Commonly used terms taught to them by the equipment and software folks (ROI, VDP, PURLS, marketing services provider) aren’t foreign to traditional print salespeople. Promises are made in order to get the sale. This leads to strained customer relations, guarantees not met by the printer and often lost clients. New clients who have been misled by these guarantees will never do business unless the guarantees are met, and unless the PSP is a marketing guru, they cannot be managed. Stay tuned for posts on “Marketing Services Provider”.
This means the new shiny machine sits idle. Most digital presses sit idle more than 50% of the time due to this phenomenon. It hurts everyone, even the manufacturer. The PSP is now paying for the press, service on the press and “click” charges for every single piece of paper that goes through the press. Every press owner pays the same price and thus the downward pressure practiced by print buyers to get the lowest price create a “race to the bottom” dilemma for the PSP. Most PSPs are so undereducated on web to print that they resort to using their digital presses as an on demand low quantity 1/4 size press for impatient customers or short run jobs that can’t be incorporated into the queue. In most cases, it’s written off as overhead and the PSP resorts to it just being a “quick press” option for his existing conventional customers.