Digital sales are an opportunity for print brokers and vendors

In the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, B2B buyers and sellers had no choice but to go digital. But six months later, digital sales interactions are shaping up to be the wave of the future—with clear implications for print buying and selling.

According to an October 2020 McKinsey report, more than three-quarters of B2B buyers and sellers now prefer buying online over buying face-to-face. Online transactions are so much faster and more convenient that only 20 percent of the B2B buyers McKinsey surveyed indicated an interest in going back to in-person buying when the pandemic winds down.

Further, B2B buyers have become comfortable making large purchases, upending the conventional wisdom that online sales are suitable only for smaller items. Seventy percent of B2B buyers told McKinsey they’re open to making online purchases of more than $50,000.

McKinsey had noted in a previous report at the beginning of the pandemic that the early surge in online B2B buying and selling reflected an acceleration of a trend already underway rather than a new behavior. In other words, it’s not going away.

What this means in the world of print procurement is that: 1) the cumbersome old ways of print buying by phone and email are going the way of hot type, and 2) vendors and brokers who offer their customers the kind of high-quality e-commerce solutions that retail consumers are used to will have a decided edge over competitors.

Web2Print software—basically a website or portal through which you can create templates, order/reorder and approve printed materials from one or more vendors—has been around for a while, and it saves time and money and ensures brand consistency.

But print brokers, distributors, agencies, associations, and others who sell print to outside customers and who want to step up their game in the pandemic era should look for more: an e-commerce solution designed with their needs in mind, including:
The ability to easily source custom print jobs from multiple printers, eliminating price shopping and time-consuming calls to multiple printers
Pre-set product catalogs with set pricing and quotes on request
Customizable templates
Copy/art storage
A built-in print order management dashboard to organize and save quote requests, responses, and orders
Custom reporting
Higher profit margins on custom-quoted print projects

The right e-commerce solution will help brokers and buyers alike to better serve their print customers, trusted vendors, and themselves. While there’s still plenty of uncertainty surrounding the pandemic and economic recovery, getting in front of the digital sales trend is one move you can take to the bank.

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