I was inspired to write this blog after working hand-in-hand with one of our customers. She needed brochures, business cards, laminated membership cards, stationery, and other printed material for her company. I’m relatively new to the print world but am surrounded by veterans in the shop who guided me through each step. Every part of her order needed extensive research for the highest quality paper, the right lamination (there are many options), design etc., all while staying within a rather tight budget.
So much work went into getting her product just right, that as a newbie (a little over a year at Accent Printing), I realized there is so much more to a printed piece than most people realize. I wondered, would my customer have received as much attention to detail, and help, by going to an online printing company? What are the differences between the brick and mortar shops and online printing?
Which costs more? Online printers market their savings as the number one difference. Pricing is usually the first thought for our customers, but comparing local print shops like ours to online printing is like comparing apples to oranges. Here are some of the differences:
Online Printing – Customers have to submit a PERFECT file. No one will check the work for mistakes or errors. Knowledge of bleeds (see prior posts), crops and formatting are necessary. The customer pays for those mistakes, as well as high shipping costs.
Local Print Shops – Local printers work with customers to make sure the sizing and the imaging are right. At Accent Printing we also advise our customers on which materials are right for them. By doing this we ensure the final printed piece is perfect!
At Accent Printing we have a an expert in-house team with many years in print work. A customer debating on online printing or local should take into consideration of just how complicated printing is. The technology is constantly changing, and there are so many factors in creating a finished piece.
Online Printing – Seldom have print and design experts. There is no guidance and no guarantee the customer will get the results they intended.
Local Print Shops – Have experts who will save customers a lot of headaches. Customers have their project on time (at Accent we have NEVER missed a deadline), within their budget and the way they want.
At Accent Printing customers are people not orders. Every order that comes in is followed by numerous calls, emails and sometimes with personal meetings.
Online Printing – All computerized. No one to speak to. No one to guide a customer.
Local Print Shops – Real people who work with the customer from start to finish. Customer satisfaction is the number one priority!
I’ve been working with my customer for about two months now on her various projects. Cohesiveness and consistency are so important for corporate branding. At Accent we’ve made sure her brochures have the same papers, colors and design. She wanted a rich look for her high end spa and is so pleased with the results. It really matters to us that our customers are satisfied and happy with their printed pieces.
Online – Colors may vary and the paper stocks may vary. A customer doesn’t know what it will look like until it’s delivered. There are no assurances or guarantees.
Local Print Shops – A local shop will run swatches of colors through the machines and present them to the client to choose. Profiles of each customer’s piece are kept on file to assure future printing matches. The owner of Accent Printing, Mike, recently has been running dozens of color swatches trying to get his customer the “perfect blue.” At a local print shop if a customer wants “peacock green,” they’ll get the peacock green they envisioned!
There’s a saying, “You can have it fast or you can have it good, but you can’t have both.” After working at Accent Printing and seeing what we do for our customers, I can say that just isn’t true.
Online – Just because online is open 24/7 doesn’t guarantee you’ll receive your product when you want.
Local Print Shops – Will literally “stop the presses” on other jobs if a customer needs their product that day. Guaranteed.
These are all factors when choosing online or local printing. Both have a place in the printing world, but when a customer wants a job done right it’s probably in their best interest to choose local. And what online printer can shake their customer’s hand? That’s one more difference that we think matters!