Here at Ricoh, we like to keep a handle on the key issues within the print industry. In the blog below, Stewart Cobby discusses the rise of e-commerce in the large format print sector - and the opportunities and potential pitfalls to look out for.
‘While the pandemic has caused a significant amount of damage to several print sectors, quite a few areas have remained strong throughout thanks to the widespread rollout of e-commerce sales technology.
A fundamental shift in consumer habits is happening right now. Unsurprisingly people are depending on their electronic devices for information, entertainment, communications and contact more than ever before. This is obviously a long-term megatrend and is undoubtedly gaining much greater impetus as a result of the pandemic.
It is unlikely to change and, if anything, is only likely to become more commonplace. To put this into context, the first item ever ordered online on Amazon was a book in 1995. Little over 25 years later and the e-commerce industry has made over $4tn in sales worldwide. Amazon - and other forward-thinking companies - have a strong online presence and were able to register impressive growth figures despite the global pandemic as more and more of us rely on 24/7 ordering availability and next day delivery.
Learn more about setting up a successful e-commerce platform here
Simply put, there's no going back now. E-commerce has revolutionised retail; whether it is in the B2B or B2C space, we can now purchase almost anything online. It is no longer a question of whether there is an audience for an online store; it is simply a matter of building an effective e-commerce platform. And one which has been developed and designed to take advantage of the buoyant digital marketplace.
However, as some businesses have learnt to their own cost, it is crucial you are able to seamlessly fulfil the orders you have taken. As much as the front end is important to serve your customers and provide a great shopping experience, it is the back end that drives your sales forward and leads to repeat business.
If you are thinking that this is not relevant to you as you operate in B2B space, well you're wrong. Recent statistics show similar changes are happening in the B2B sector as well. Given that some 72% of all procurement purchases are carried out online, why would large format print be any different?
One of the key driving forces in the large format space at present is personalised print. While people have spent more and more time at home there has been massive growth in the provision of bespoke wallpaper, one-off canvas prints, branded roller blinds, printed textiles and so much more. And effective web-to-print e-commerce platforms have been critical in the timely order processing and delivery of such orders.
While the initial transaction takes place online, the order needs to be fulfilled and the output needs to be shipped to the customer. With many of the latest web-to-print packages customers can see the exact status of their order, giving them more insight than ever before.
To listen to Ricoh Anything in Print podcast dedicated to ecommerce here
Online shopping is here to stay and as more customers shopping for print turn to the internet to fulfil their requirements, it is critical that large format print businesses have solid and reliable e-commerce solutions in place.'
Authored by Stewart Cobby, Inkjet Sales Manager for Industrial Print, at Ricoh UK
To find out more about the print e-commerce solutions available from Ricoh, please click here