:Apogee StoreFront in-depth
Public and Private web-to-print stores
The Apogee StoreFront web-to-print system allows a print service provider to create multiple stores, that each target a specific audience. Depending on the type of print buyers, web shops can be split into two main categories: private shops which target the employees or franchisees of a specific company or organization and public stores in which the general public can order products.
Private or closed stores
Selling products from one business to another is referred to as B2B or Business-to-Business. Apogee StoreFront has been optimized for this type of application. A private storefront enables a company or organization to provide their users with a direct channel for ordering printed and non-print products.
- Private stores are password protected. Apogee StoreFront allows both the print service provider and the company for which a store is set up to manage user accounts. A distinction can be made between internal and external (franchisee) users.
- Customizable products are set up so that users who personalize print must follow the company brand guidelines.
- Online payment is optional and typically only used in stores set up for franchises. Many private web shops do not even display pricing information.
Here are some examples of typical B2B web-to-print uses:
- One of the major accounts of a printer is a company called Splash. Splash sells paints, varnishes, inks and assorted products through its chain of retail stores. Each of those stores regularly needs catalogs, data sheets and user guides. By creating a private B2B store for Splash, the printer gives Splash employees an easy way to order these products and have them delivered directly. The management of Splash also has limited access to StoreCenter, the back-office web site that allows them to track all internal purchases. The admins can review each order and reject inappropriate ones. Splash is billed monthly for all ordered products.
- Total Controls is a company that distributes products all over the USA using a network of franchisees. The print service provider can set up a storefront which the marketing team of Total Controls manage themselves. They add new users to the store. Their design department can upload new product guides and promotional material. When a franchise needs any of this marketing collateral, they can order it through the store and pay for it online. The printer will ship the ordered print products directly to each franchise.
- Closed shops are not necessarily created for one specific customer. A printer who regularly prints posters and billboards for 20 agencies could set up a store for the designers of those agencies so they can submit new jobs.
Public or open stores
In a public store anyone can see the merchandise that is for sale. Such an open web-to-print shop allows a print service provider to extend their market reach without the need to employ additional sales people. Public stores can target businesses but many also offer products to consumers (the B2C or Business-to-Consumer market).
- There is no need to log in when print buyers want to browse through the product catalog. Visitors are only asked to create an account once they order products.
- Purchases need to be paid online. Apogee StoreFront supports multiple payment gateway services that offer a range of payment options, including debit and credit cards as well as e-wallets such as PayPal.
- Promoting a public store so that it attracts visitors does require dedicated efforts. Page content needs to be optimized so that search engines can refer potential customers to the right product. The store needs to be actively promoted, both online and using other media channels.
- Print service providers who want to generate a large part of their revenue in the consumer market are best served by a custom built solution that is optimized for their product range and business processes. Apogee StoreFront is more suited for printers who want to use a public store to serve a specific niche or extend their presence in their local market.