The Amazon Effect: Thriving in a Changing World
In the past decade, Amazon has revolutionized the way people buy and sell products, transforming the retail landscape and altering consumer expectations. As the e-commerce giant continues to grow and expand its reach, its impact on the B2B sector is becoming increasingly evident. The print industry has been experiencing a shift in buying behavior as customers demand a more streamlined and simplified ordering process for several years.
Despite this evolution the industry has been slow to adapt to these changes. It is easy to let our past experiences and our beliefs cloud our judgment in what’s coming and what the new reality might be. Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, has said, “People who are right seek to disconfirm their most profoundly held convictions, which is very unnatural for humans. Humans mostly, as we go about life, we’re very selective in the evidence we let seep into us, and we like to observe the evidence that confirms our pre-existing beliefs.” Those who succeed will have an open mind to the changes that are coming in buying behavior and what the new B2B customer is looking for while seeking the right solutions to meet these changes.
Amazon's customer-centric approach can be a guide for the print shop of the future through the implementation of an online ordering process, the importance of print job status transparency, and the power of online print proofing in delivering an outstanding customer experience.
Amazon's Impact on B2B Buying Behavior
It is no secret that Amazon has changed the way consumers shop. With its vast product range, competitive pricing, and fast delivery, the e-commerce platform has set new standards for convenience and efficiency. This shift in consumer expectations has also spilled over into the B2B space, with businesses now expecting the same level of simplicity and speed in their transactions.
A 2020 McKinsey study found that 70% of B2B buyers prefer to research and purchase products online, with 27% of those buyers stating that they would even pay a premium for same-day delivery. As more businesses recognize the benefits of online ordering, the print industry must adapt to these changing expectations to remain competitive.
Online Ordering of Print Jobs
Traditionally, the print industry has relied on personal interactions and long-standing relationships with clients. However, the convenience of Amazon's online ordering system has set new expectations for B2B customers. To stay relevant, print companies must embrace digital transformation and develop user-friendly online platforms that allow clients to place orders, upload files, and make payments without needing to interact with a sales representative.
By offering a seamless and easy-to-navigate online ordering system, print companies can improve customer satisfaction and increase their chances of retaining clients. A study by Forrester Research found that 74% of B2B buyers consider buying from a website more convenient than purchasing from a sales representative. Additionally, a survey by Sana Commerce revealed that 75% of B2B companies experienced an increase in customer retention after implementing an e-commerce platform.
Transparency and Real-time Order Status
Another significant advantage of online ordering is the ability to provide real-time updates on print job status. Amazon's tracking feature has raised the bar for transparency and communication, making it essential for print companies to adopt similar systems. By providing clients with up-to-date information on their orders' progress, print companies can reduce the need for follow-up calls or emails, saving time for both parties and contributing to overall customer satisfaction.
A study by PwC found that 73% of consumers consider a positive experience as a key driver of brand loyalty. By incorporating tracking features into their online platforms, print companies can not only improve the customer experience but also reinforce their relationships with clients.
The Power of Online Print Proofing
As the print industry continues to evolve, an area that has seen significant advancements is online print proofing. This technology allows clients to review, approve, or request changes to their print jobs without the need for physical proofs. By offering online print proofing, print companies can streamline the approval process, reduce turnaround times, and minimize the risk of errors.
A survey by the Printing Industries of America (Printing Industries of America. (2017). Online proofing systems: Increasing efficiency and customer satisfaction. Printing Industries of America Research Report.) found that companies that implemented online proofing systems experienced a 30% reduction in proofing time and a 29% decrease in the number of revisions needed. These companies reported a 24% improvement in overall customer satisfaction. By integrating online print proofing into their digital platforms, print companies can enhance the customer experience, leading to increased loyalty and repeat business.
Online print proofing allows clients to collaborate with print providers more effectively, enabling them to make changes and provide feedback in real-time. This increased level of communication and collaboration can lead to better overall results, further contributing to customer satisfaction.
Simplifying and Streamlining the Ordering Process
In response to the changing expectations brought about by Amazon's influence, print industry executives must focus on simplifying and streamlining the ordering process. This means investing in user-friendly online platforms, implementing real-time order tracking, and incorporating online print proofing as part of the overall customer experience.
By adopting these practices, print companies can better meet the needs of their clients and remain competitive in an increasingly digital marketplace. To achieve this transformation, print industry executives should consider the following steps:
- Invest in an intuitive and easy-to-use online ordering and pricing platform that caters to the specific needs of their customers and business.
- Implement real-time order tracking and communication systems to keep clients informed of their print job status and minimize the need for follow-up calls or emails.
- Integrate online print proofing into the ordering process, allowing clients to review, approve, or request changes to their print jobs without the need for physical proofs in most cases.
- Focus on delivering exceptional customer service, both online and offline, to build strong relationships with clients and encourage repeat business.
- Regularly evaluate and update digital platforms to ensure they continue to meet the changing expectations and requirements of clients.
Amazon's impact on consumer buying behavior has had a ripple effect on the B2B space, driving the need for the print industry to adapt and evolve. By embracing digital transformation and focusing on simplifying and streamlining the ordering process, print companies can better serve their clients and stay competitive in a rapidly changing market.
By incorporating user-friendly online ordering, real-time order tracking, and online print proofing, print companies can improve customer satisfaction and build lasting relationships with their clients. Ultimately, embracing these changes will not only benefit print companies but also contribute to a more efficient and customer-centric approach.
Trevor Hansen is an accomplished business executive and the current Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) of Thomas Printworks, a leading printing and digital services company in the United States. With over 25 years of experience in print industry, Hansen is responsible for leading the company's revenue generation efforts, including sales, marketing, and customer success.
Hansen joined Thomas Printworks in 2009, and since then, he has been instrumental in expanding the company's footprint in new markets, diversifying its service offerings, and enhancing the customer experience. Before joining Thomas Printworks, Hansen held various roles at Océ, now Canon Solutions America, PRI Graphics and Danka Office Imaging.
When he's not leading the charge at Thomas Printworks, Hansen is an avid outdoorsman and hobbyist. He enjoys fly fishing, hiking, kayaking, paddleboarding, and exploring the great outdoors. He also holds a license for amateur radio (W7TJH), which he uses to connect with fellow enthusiasts around the world.
Despite his busy schedule, Hansen is also a passionate reader and makes time to dive into new books on a regular basis. His diverse range of interests keeps him engaged and energized, and he brings that same enthusiasm to his work at Thomas Printworks.
Hansen is recognized for his strategic thinking, customer-centric approach, and innovative solutions. He is a strong advocate of innovation and technology, and under his leadership, Thomas Printworks has embraced several cutting-edge technologies, such as its marketing fulfillment solution, Visualogistix® and its direct response marketing solution, Tactix360™, to better serve its clients.