Thoughts after PRINT17

Our team at Aurgima worked very hard during the last six months leading up to PRINT17 to make it a successful event. And it paid off very well! While exhibiting at the show, we had a great opportunity to see what’s happening on the ground level of the US print market, as well as make a lot of new promising connections with prospects and key players in the industry. I would like to extend my personal thanks to all customers and visitors who stopped by our booth, as well as our wonderful team who worked nonstop to make the show a huge success.

Web-to-print is a hot topic in the industry

Even now, we still hear pessimistic forecasts for the US print market, that it is mature and hasn’t demonstrated high growth over the past years. Companies that exhibit at Graph Expo often comment that the show continues to shrink year after year. However, this is not the case when it comes to print software. To remain competitive, print service providers must invest in software solutions to adapt to the new reality of automation. The printers who automate their businesses will enjoy increased profit margins for digital printing and short runs, and the same software solutions will allow them to test the waters in online marketing channels.

Among these innovations, web-to-print solutions stand out as one of the hottest topics in the industry today. Print service providers are beginning to understand the importance of automation for the B2C segment as well as the benefits that W2P technology may bring for B2B applications. After weighing all the pros and cons, more and more companies are deciding to invest in web-to-print applications.

My team and I experienced this increasing trend first-hand at the show. We saw a steady stream of print service providers and marketing agencies that are building their new web applications – or redesigning existing ones – to support their businesses. These business owners consider web-to-print functionality as a crucial element in their projects.

Yet another interesting trend present at PRINT17 is that some commercial and wholesale printers want to open new retail subdivisions. To make the new business feasible, they are looking for ways to cut expenses. One possible option is to make the ordering process for low-budget retail customers self-service. Web-to-print technology is a key component for making such a system possible and these new subdivisions profitable.

Great conversations and a lot of new ideas

We enjoyed meeting with our existing customers who stopped by the booth to share their experiences with our web-to-print and image processing technologies. We are always excited to receive updates on how our products are helping customers grow their businesses, as well as feedback on how we can improve our solutions in the future.

We also had a chance to speak with people who are interested in adopting web-to-print solutions for a broad range of applications beyond some of the more obvious markets. My team and I learned a lot from those conversations, and we see great potential to improve and expand our offering. It was a real surprise to discover that these companies, which are involved in very different niches, are interested in trying out web-to-print technologies. It was only a few years ago that retail businesses specializing in photo products comprised the majority of web-to-print adopters. However, now we see a trend emerging with business collateral, mailing, multi-channel marketing, packaging, brand management, and other types of companies beginning to see how graphic design composition workflows may be used for their applications.

Attending the trade show itself is only 50% of the success that exhibitors can stand to achieve. The other 50% is dependent on how they process new leads and whether they are able to learn quickly from the experience and optimize the new offerings based on new information acquired at the event. We have a lot of work to do and I look forward to continuing a productive and cooperative dialogue with all the companies we met with in Chicago.