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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Giving Your Customers An e-Commerce Solution: We'll Show You How!

Over the last decade many reprographers have leveraged the capabilities of the Internet to improve their efficiencies and expand their services.

What can we do now that we couldn’t do a decade ago? Well, we can accept files via email or FTP, offer plan rooms for viewing and ordering and distributing documents, conduct long-distance business over Skype and mitigate the need for expensive business travel with Web conferencing. These are just a few examples of what I call e-Business successes. However, only a few reprographers I have talked with have fully adopted a true e-Commerce offering (pricing and charging customers through the Internet) and presented it to their customers.

I am not sure what is holding back the industry from online pricing; maybe it is because many reprographers are afraid to show prices, the pricing is so complex and every customer has a different price, or that the cost of shipping and other extra charges often associated with a job cannot be determined at the time of ordering. Whatever the reason, I believe it is critical that we get our act together and make it easy for customers to request services over the Web and know what they will spend before they place the order.

When you go online to Amazon or iTunes to buy a book or a song don’t you expect to know what you will pay at the time of transaction? Why should your customers be any different?

If our industry is to evolve we must embrace e-Commerce, make it work for us, and at the same time expand our scope of services that we offer over the Web. Sure, steady clients trust that you will bill them accurately but what about new customers who would like to be doing business with you? Are you making it easy or difficult for them?

As you are all aware, our industry is radically changing, customers who used to order most of the printing in the past are doing significantly less printing today. Many are transferring the printing costs to their customers or suppliers and these new customers are the ones that are actually paying your bills. Sure, the print volumes are less but the profit opportunities in many cases can be even greater than before. But there is one thing that we as an industry must understand: if we are to survive we must be able to sell our services over the Internet and that means we must offer online pricing and a pleasant e-commerce experience.

With this goal in mind, I would like to share with those who are interested, how PlanWell is prepared to take the Reprographics Industry a step closer to an e-commerce solution. Please join me Thursday, July 23rd at 10 a.m. (PT) for a webinar and demonstration on how PlanWell allows students, sub-contractors, realtors, insurance agents and a host of other retail customers to easily conduct e-commerce transactions with your company. We'll have another one on July 30 at 9 a.m. (PT) - we hope you can join us.

Sign-up for the July 23 webinar HERE.

Sign up for the July 30 webinar HERE.

As our industry continues to evolve I believe you’ll find many of your future customers coming to you not only with the expectation of ordering your products and services, but also to see your pricing up front, along with the ability to charge their credit cards at the time of ordering. What are you going to do about it?


Shaun Meany

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