iStock_000006845396XSmallWhen jobs flow smooth for us, it saves you money.The easiest orders for us to write up, and the ones with the least chance of mistakes are orders that come in over our Internet storefront.  When we can do something in a lot less time with less of a chance for mistakes, it ends up costing the customer less. So why don’t all of our customers have storefront catalogs set up with us? That’s a good question for 2010. Actually, there’s a fair amount of work on the front end and certain parameters that need to be met, so lets explore the costs and the barriers holding us back.

First, lets look at one basic example of what a catalog on our Internet store front does.When we have a customer that orders certain items a lot, say business cards, that is a good candidate. And with business cards, where certain elements like names, phone numbers and emails change from card to card, they are still perfect. So after we identify the items that you order a regular basis, we make a catalog of them, say business cards, letterheads and envelopes. Then we identify the parameters of the job (ink colors,  correct paper and the usual quantities you order).  After we have identified all of the specifications we apply a cost to the different quantities and now we have a catalog with 3 items in it (letterheads, Envelopes and Business Cards), with the option to order different quantities at different prices.

Next comes the more difficult part of it, adding the variable data (if your product requires it). On your business cards, we will have a part of the page where you can type out the name of the person you want to order the cards for, along with any other variables that we have determined would change on your companies cards. These will usually be things like the phone number and extension, email and title. Of course, since you want your companies business cards to appear consistent, things like the logo and it’s placement, the fonts used are all pre-programed to look the way they always do.After we get it all set up, it’s very easy to order these cards; you open your catalog, pick out business cards, type in the name and variable information, push view proof. You can print out the proof if need be or just approve it from the screen, and then just push place order and fill in where you want them shipped to and how you want to pay for it.

Back at the shop, we receive the order with all the important information, a print file that’s already been proofed, and we just take it right to production. That’s why we can afford to discount these items more than if we had all the order writing and typesetting and proofing to do. Now that said, this is a fairly simple scenario but it really stands as a good example of how these catalogs work. One other cool feature of these catalogs is that you can see a history of what you have ordered. That makes re-orders very simple and if you re-order contains something variable like a business card, you don’t have to re-set and re-proof the information…It’s all there from last time.

Our push for 2010 is to figure out what customer’s catalogs make sense for and talk to them about setting one up. In a very competitive print market, there are 2 things we can control with these catalogs…getting things done correct and offering the best value we each dollar spent. In many cases, there is no better way to achieve that than a catalog on our internet Store Front. Call us and talk about it if we don’t call you first.