Me & my... RedTie RTT W2P system
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
While the franchise model is by its very nature fragmented, a unified message and appearance is imperative for the system to work - what would McDonalds be without the golden arches or KFC without The Colonel?
So, if you have 55 different franchisees all using different printers with different stock and each one has his or her own idea of what a promotional leaflet should look like and, crucially, where the logo should go and what colours should be used, you have a problem.
This, reports James Taylor, managing director of commercial printers Pressision, used to be an all-too familiar situation for some of his clients. While the Leeds-based printer could ensure that all the materials it supplied conformed strictly to a company’s branding criteria, there was no telling what an individual franchisee of its client might be doing with a different printer.
"People would go out and get a thousand leaflets done and design them themselves and just stick the logo on here, there and everywhere," says Taylor. "But you can’t do that because with a franchise the brand is the value – we help to sustain that brand."
A solution was at hand, however, to help both the clients achieve brand uniformity and Pressision increase its work volumes: web-to-print (W2P).
A W2P system acting as a one-stop shop is perfect for protecting branding, explains Taylor, as it allows users to personalise an item to their particular branch, but not to transgress branding rules.
Brand guidelines are strict
"An employee can go on and change the information to convey ‘I’m the Leeds branch and I want to give a 10% discount’, but the layout and the brand guidelines are strict and stay the same," says Taylor. "You can also have it set up so that artwork can’t go to print without a certain authority – a store manager for example – signing off a proof."
W2P also enables an easier transaction for the customer than if they were ordering in a more traditional way, as they can order 24/7.
"It’s good for small business owners because they can manage an order out of hours," he says. "The director is usually trying to juggle a million things, so instead of having to order within office hours like normal, they can sit back in a chair with a glass of wine and do their order on their iPad when they have more time."
But confident as Pressision was three years ago that a W2P system would help clients in this way, the company was still wary of investing a hefty sum upfront. This was the main reason it went with W2P developer RedTie, reports Taylor, explaining that the company’s RTT product is a web-based system where, instead of an upfront charge to own the package and purchase hardware, a monthly click fee is charged according to the number of products sold.
"The risk with actually purchasing the software and hardware is that, if it doesn’t work out, it’s a lot of money to throw away," says Taylor. "With this system you only pay for what you use, and in fact the system is still cost effective even though we’re using it a lot. We’ve not got any plans to look at another package."
RedTie Template (RTT) combines a user-friendly webstore platform with a set of product and webstore customisation tools. Each webstore can be branded to your customers’ corporate colours and RTT can be used to create any number of products for sale, such as marketing materials, print collateral and merchandise. Each product can be optionally set to allow personalisation by your customers, either in the text or the images used, which offers the ability to offer a marketing message at global level but targeted locally. It also means you can protect the corporate brand image by only allowing your customers’ employees to make changes that your customer wants them to make. The software enables unlimited web stores, unlimited users and unlimited products, which the company says means printers can grow into the system.
Taylor is now very glad he went with RedTie for other reasons besides the financial model. The business development support is excellent, he reports, with RedTie happy to join Pressision at pitches when they have advanced to the stage of meetings company directors.
"RedTie has given us a lot of support for that," says Taylor. "That’s important because customers don’t just wake up of a morning and think ‘I need to buy a W2P solution’. They need to be told what it can do and how it can make them savings, and the only way you can do that is by presenting and demonstrating it."
RedTie also provides excellent back-up for the creation of products and template rules, says Taylor. There’s an extra charge for this, so Pressision tends to try and create templates in house, but it’s handy to have this option, he says.
"If you do it yourself, that’s the more cost-effective route but you can’t always fit it in, if you’re creating 100 products for a customer, for example," he says.
And RedTie has certainly been helpful in ensuring that Pressision does have the know-how to create the majority of templates in-house, says Taylor. The software company offers three types of training and Pressision has taken advantage of each, receiving in-person training for three staff as well as the sales team, utilising webinar training and regularly referring to RedTie’s online academy tutorial videos.
Such thorough training is required, says Taylor, for getting the most out of this sophisticated package.
"You can pick the basics up within a
few days but it takes a lot longer to learn
the more complicated stuff," he says. "It’s an ongoing learning process for us. There’s the mail-merge side to the site where you can upload databases and merge the
products and that’s a bit more complex to get to grips with."
RedTie has also impressed Pressision with the reliability of the RTT package. "We’ve not really had any downtime," says Taylor. "Occasionally there’ll be a bit, but it nearly always happens on a weekend. RedTie is always developing and updating things."
Efficient W2P system
Having linked the system with Pressision’s MIS system, Taylor is happy with his RedTie solution. Installing an efficient W2P system that customers find easy to use has allowed him to staff more
economically, gain more work and
know with more surety what will be
coming through the door from one week
to the next.
"There’s much more security when someone has a W2P contract with us," says Taylor. "If you’ve not got that system and people are just randomly ringing up, you don’t know whether they’re going to stop ringing up and leave you with a load of extra stock.
"And the big benefit is that most customers will sign up to a three-year contract to use the W2P system with us."
Because of this security, Pressision can now print stock items in quiet periods, printing them much more cheaply and so pricing more competitively, says Taylor.
"We’ll produce 100,000 leaflets and store them, so obviously the unit cost when people buy 1,000 is very low," he says. "We foil block in-house, so, what we do with the letterheads is foil block massive batches and then overprint the personalised details on a digital machine as the job orders come in. That means customers get foil-blocked items for a third of the price they would elsewhere."
The system also enables Pressision to keep a record of past transactions and so better predict what stock to print.
"You can see trends, so you can look at the past 12 months’ spend and decide what stock levels to hold," explains Taylor.
Pressision is a model case study, then, of how an SaaS W2P system can be successfully implemented. While it offers brand security to the client, it also gives the printer increased volumes; for both the process is more efficient and therefore more profitable.
Compatibility Computer/operating-system agnostic
Reporting Full reporting available from orders/job tracking and further management information – all can be exported into MS Excel
Digital asset management Unlimited web stores included
Option to add apps Yes, systems can be tailored with workflow and client-facing apps, such as user-interface alterations or a live -chat option
Price £350 per month, plus training fee and file download fee
Contact RedTie 01604 702075 www.red-tie.com
Pressision was set up almost 10 years ago and, with a managing director at the helm with a background in graphic design, it specialises in protecting brand integrity. The company offers a wide range of services including six-colour litho, digital and wide-format printing. With in-house foil blocking and letterpress services, Pressision is also able to offer fine art pieces and high-end brochure work.
Why it was bought...
Pressision spotted the opportunity three years ago to further enhance the brand security they already prided themselves on, by investing in a W2P system for clients with franchises. The company chose the RedTie Template (RTT) solution because, as an SaaS package, it required no hefty upfront investment but rather a monthly pay-as-you go fee.
How it has performed...
The RTT system has performed very well, reports managing director James Taylor, with very little downtime. The company has been very impressed with the service support given, including RedTie experts on-hand to attend high-level pitches to Pressision customers.