3 min read

Do you really need a web to print online design tool?

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One of the first things those who contact us want to see is our online design tool. We’re always happy to accommodate them, but when it comes to print service providers who have little to no experience in properly leveraging such technology, there can be some assumptions that we have to dispel.

Very often these clients have come across a successful online company like VistaPrint and want to replicate their success. And who can blame them? Who wouldn’t like to sell a billion dollars a year in print?

We admire their ambition, however the reality is this achievement is more complex than just making ‘design it yourself' products available, and it sometimes turns out that an online design solution is not always the first or best tool a print business should invest in.

Let’s see some pros and cons of purchasing an online design tool.


  • Clients can order 24/7, without needing to wait for a proof
  • You save operator time on repetitive typesetting tasks
  • You can offer more competitive rates on certain products
  • You can bid for larger contracts which require online editing of print collateral
  • Your designers are more engaged while spending their time on meaningful work
  • With typesetting no longer a bottleneck, you can handle larger contracts without hiring or outsourcing


  • Hard to leverage fully if you are:
    • Starting a new business, or have no corporate clients

      Even though an online design tool can be a great sales tool that will help you land large corporate accounts, if you don't plan to sell to businesses, there is really no need to make an investment.

    • Work mostly with walk-in clients

      Walk-in or one off clients rarely need storefronts with branded editable templates. Trying to sell them something they don't need will not work.

    • Rarely handle re-orders (Work mostly with one off clients)

      One off jobs aren’t usually suitable for an online design tool because files are either already provided, or the client requires a graphic designer.

    • You don’t do work with a lot of revisions, or per piece personalization.

      The same as above, if there are no revisions or re-orders, there is really no good case for these orders being editable on your website.
  • You are using an inferior design tool where you cannot match editable templates to corporate clients brand guidelines
  • You are using an inferior design tool that is hard to setup and maintain
  • You are using an inferior design tool with a lot of high & hidden setup / usage fees

In our experience offering online editing options in the B2C market has quickly become oversaturated; print ecommerce behemoths have been in fierce competition when it comes to marketing, tooling, and pricing, and more recently we have design tool centric companies like Canva that are directing more and more retail print purchases.

The level of competition for these retail clients has never been higher. Investing a lot of time and capital in competing for what are often low profit margin purchases isn’t a strategy that we recommend one pursue without a lot of planning.

If you’re looking to use these tools to gain new clients or alleviate typesetting requirements on your team for walk-in clients, then you stand to gain more by focusing your time and efforts utilizing these tools elsewhere.

By using online design tools to serve your existing business / corporate clientele, you can provide both an unbeatable level of service, and save a predictable amount of time on typesetting.

In addition to better serving existing clients, there is a growing trend in larger print management contracts making personalization tools a requirement for certain products e.g. business cards and yard signs. These larger clients are looking to secure the benefits both in cost reduction, and user experience for their purchasers. If you make a bid without understanding how to meet this part of the contract, then be warned; you could be stuck working with a company where their goal is to add as many hidden fees into your design template setup as they can get away with.

You can find out more about our web to print online editor here: [LINK]

Want to know how to properly choose a web to print design tool? Check out our article here [LINK]

To see a performant and practical web to print design tool in action, book a demo with one of our web to print specialists today!


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