Web-to-print is a business model that involves selling printed products through an online platform, where customers from any industry can order the most diverse types of products.

A recent industry analysis (Global Web-to-Print Industry, Report Linker, July 2020) estimates that the global web-to-print market was worth nearly $1 billion in 2020 ($983.4 million) and forecasts that it could reach a size of $1.5 billion by 2027, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 6.6% over the period 2020-2027.

Born with the development of websites and digital payment services, web-to-print, also known as online printing, has grown exponentially over the years. It has driven certain changes in the global printing industry that have completely transformed it, such as print-on-demand (POD, a printing service that involves producing a book or other product to order, even in small quantities), and increased its competitiveness.

Web-to-Print has also been a brand since 1999. The first company to formalize this new way of doing business is Belmark Inc, a Wisconsin-based label printing company that identified it as its “end-to-end digital printing solution for fast, small quantity packaging orders.”

The hallmarks of this new form of printing are: quickness, customization, flexibility and technological innovations applied to production. E-commerce printing must necessarily rely on automated workflows to reduce human involvement to a bare minimum.

Profit margins on web-to-print prints are slim for the printer, so it is necessary to optimize production processes to maximize profit. This involves an automated workflow from user click through presses to print delivery.

Another effect of the growth of web-to-print is the increased demand for UV curing technology due to the growing demand for printing inks that offer a soft or textured feel. The UV curing technology reduces printing time as it essentially eliminates the drying time of the print and reduces ink consumption, thus meeting two imperatives of e-commerce printing: speed and cost optimization.

At Booklets Print, we print on Komori machines with this new H-UV printing technology. Moreover, we have adopted a hybrid model at the crossroads between the web-to-print and the traditional model. Our desire is to offer the best possible printing quality at the best price, without sacrificing the commercial relationship we have with our customers. The human aspect is at the heart of our business and our vision.

The pros of web-to-print

If we analyze the evolution of web-to-print, we see that the production process has changed.

The numerous payment defaults were the trigger for change in printing companies. They decided to introduce an e-commerce platform, in order to address the unreliability of their customers. Indeed, several of the companies’ customers were not meeting their payment commitments, so they focused on a new business model involving payment upfront or upon delivery.

This model was successful because it allowed them to dramatically expand their target market: web-to-print reaches a geographically unlimited audience and, as a result, in a short period of time the customer base grew tremendously. On-time payment was the key to success, allowing printers to have the necessary resources to make new investments in the most advanced and efficient technologies.

In addition, this winning strategy has made them extremely competitive in the printing market thanks to the following: lower inventory costs, improved customer service (thanks to a strong online presence), as well as reduced production costs and lead times.

Along with the boom of web-to-print, the race to the lowest price is a trend that has developed in the printing world. Thus, printers, who are seeing their profit margins shrink, must optimize their production processes in order to maximize their profits. This involves automated workflows, from the user’s click to the delivery of the print, through the generation of the quote and the set-up of the printing presses.

Saddle stitched booklet

Perfect for magazine-type print media with a low or medium number of pages, up to approximately 64 pages…

Square bound booklet

The best look for restaurant menus, instructions, results reports, school textbooks…

Perfect bound booklet

High-quality product. Mainly used for booklet or catalog with a great number of pages and/or thicker inside pages…

Wire'o bound booklet

Ideal for booklets that need to be read flat as exercise manuals or calendars, easels calendars, even workbooks…