3 Online Printing Trends to Embrace in 2021

In the modern, digital world, online printing is the ace up the print industry’s sleeve. If you want to play it for maximum results, there are a few things to keep in mind though.

Online printing has been getting more popular for the past few years. It makes the world of print easily accessible to everyone, even people who haven’t previously studied up on the options and possibilities a printer provides. Therefore, one could even say it has marked somewhat of a revolution in the availability of affordable, quality printing for all businesses, small and large. Online printing grants the average customer access to great printing, while also being able to make informed decisions on what printing options they’d like and compare pricing in real-time. But the print market expanding into online channels isn’t only a plus for the customer, multichannel approaches are what is going to keep the print industry growing. In a world where everything is going digital, print has to prove it’s worth once again. Especially in marketing, the printing industry adapts online strategies already! HP and PrintWeek claimed that digital printing can answer new consumer demands back in 2019 with their report on 7 global trends driving the print industry and we already went into detail about the importance of a shift towards digital, to satisfy the customer’s demands, in our 3rd Spotlight Report. So without further ado, here are our picks for the top 3 trends in online printing printers should embrace!

#1: A Wide Portfolio

Traditional craftsmanship is “in”, yes, but what customers are looking for in online printing is something else: They want a wide portfolio at their fingertips. Therefore a wide format in graphics, as well as a wide format in printing services, is key and will continue to be adopted by mainstream online printing companies. With real-time pricing being a huge advantage for the customer though, it is still important to have a USP (unique selling point) for your company regardless. Are you the company known for especially beautiful photobooks? A lot of creative freedom? Fast delivery times? Everything has to be simplified, user-friendly, fast and efficient. Some might prefer to pay less and are okay with getting a lower quality, some might want the opposite. But more important will surely be how convenient your service is for the average customer. Working with a cloud, connecting accounts and convenient tools like fixPDF are worth looking into!

To ensure future income, printers have to balance the foundation of traditional printing services with innovative new approaches and shift resources from presently prosperous business models to embrace and exploit new trends.

#2: Mass Customisation

What used to be unimaginable has become a utilisable option thanks to automation, inkjet, web-to-print and other industry 4.0 technologies: mass customisation (MC). Individualised mass production, enabled via a simple smartphone, available to everyone and therefore making everyone a potential customer – allows for personalised production en masse without suffering a loss of quality and offers the “exclusivity” customers crave these days. Print projects can be realised in a tremendous turnaround time and customers still have the chance to get their materials printed on state-of-the-art presses, using the highest quality inks and papers. With personalised promotions and discount programs you can build loyalty, even in the fast-paced online world. Ultimately it is the same as it is for every other area of business: As a company, you must learn customer preferences and venture into marketing strategies that resonate with them. 

Printers have to broaden their horizons not only when it comes to print technologies and “new markets” but especially when it comes to potential customers! The stereotypical print customer of the past decades that buys big, for an entire company or a big print campaign, doesn’t exist anymore. Or at least doesn’t create the revenue needed for growth.

#3: Social Media Print

Especially important when it comes to B2C, a mobile support becomes exceedingly important. Printers who have gotten into this trend early on note a significant growth, oftentimes unnoticed by their competition. Right now, there’s somewhat of a start-up scene on the rise in this area! 

“Mobile is one of the most underrated areas in all of online printing and social media print is not longer just a phenomenon but a whole print market,”

says industry insider Bernd Zipper, CEO of  Zipcon Consulting GmbH. Driven by Gen Z, the customer base of the future, it creates a new area of print needs and demands. So it’s perfect for new, innovative business models!

Why You Should Embrace Online Printing

If you are not convinced that going online is the right choice for you, let us give you some facts that might change your mind for good:

Bernd Zipper claims the top 5 online printing players in Germany, Cewe, Flyeralarm, Cimpress, Onlineprinters and Unitedprint, are still growing after booking an impressive 1,7 billion euro revenue in 2019. Even though they are experiencing pricing pressure in their basic product assortment, and are now venturing out in more niche products and services, as well as large format printing and advertising.

Are you thinking of stepping into the world of online printing? Which trend do you think is going to be a big hit in 2021?