Since the pandemic and the volatility of lockdowns, the business world has been forced to make a rapid change into the digital realm. To support a myriad of new office configurations companies have adopted a multitude of online and cloud-based services. And this shift to digital has led to boosts in online retail markets, including office printing supplies. Managed print services, printing supplies, printer maintenance, and printer leasing companies have an opportunity to embrace and adapt to this change. But why?
Safer for Everybody (Partners, Customers and Employees)
Offices want to resume their normal working routine without putting anyone at risk. After all, if the health of employees is at risk, a business can see increased sick leave and quickly become overwhelmed. Outside sales and physical retail establishments may be a potential health concern for some employees and a deterrent for current and potential business clients
To address these concerns, many businesses are adopting new ways of making purchases to minimize risks for both clients and their employees. One way to handle this is to limit office visitors. And a large part of that is defaulting to online office supply ordering options rather than working with outside salespeople or visiting a physical location.
So, for office supply businesses, especially ink, toner, printer and copier service, maintenance, and supply companies, visiting clients or operating a retail frontage is no longer necessary. Most people and businesses in the 21st century prefer to make their orders on their phones, on the go, or from the comfort of their office. And, as the world shifts to more remote workspaces and hybrid office environments, printer businesses can take advantage of online sales technology.
Using both a physical and online shop broadens the potential customer base while providing the opportunity to redistribute physical retail and outside sales efforts. In addition, the online world offers a global presence, providing an opportunity to expand the business quickly and easily. By moving into the online market, print industry businesses are almost guaranteed to increase sales and enhance local, national, and global reach.
Reliable Access as Online Becomes the Go-To
Customers are always looking for convenience and reliability in the marketplace. Moving to a cloud-based eCommerce service gives them what they want by consistently providing fast ordering and smooth delivery. Added perks like customer-specific discounts, multiple shipping options, and advanced order tracking—all of this makes shopping convenient and help alleviate the pains of rising average selling prices (ASPs), according to The NPD Group.
In addition to offering the convenience, clients have come to expect businesses that provide comprehensive online shopping options are showing customers that they are paying attention to customer needs. Print industry businesses that couple online ordering with comprehensive information on past orders, ordering timelines and product usage are allowing partners to make more informed selections and orders.
Helping Partners Deal with Shortages
According to Toner Buzz, the pandemic response created multiple roadblocks in the supply chain for printing businesses. Businesses stopped buying supplies, production at many manufacturing plants were temporarily halted, and shipments from other countries slowed down. And all the chaos caused a significant backlog of out-of-stock items to the tune of $1.44 trillion.
The cloud-based, online shopping experience allows businesses to shift inventory and offerings quickly to reflect availability and meet demands. The flexibility of an online order format helps give print business clients additional transparency and fast solutions when supplies of ink, toner, printers, and other equipment change. The result is more trust and stronger customer relationships.
Online Maintenance and Service
Another key benefit to implementing an online store within the print industry is the capability of adding online service and maintenance scheduling. Supplying this option allows clients to address their printer issues quickly, efficiently, and at a time that is most convenient for them.
For businesses especially concerned about managing health risks, online scheduling helps the company arrange service to occur at a time when fewer employees might be exposed. In some cases, the client may even arrange for an employee that can help walk the service person through sanitation procedures.
For managed print services, printer leasing, print supply, and printer servicing companies offering online sales and services can help these unique businesses in a variety of ways. First, online functionality is capable of catering to safety-conscious clients and companies by giving them the ability to reduce or manage face-to-face interactions. It also provides the ability for printer industry businesses to be more flexible with listed supplies, parts, and equipment. Finally, it provides the capability to meet the growing demands of customers for self-service convenience. But perhaps the most innovative and beneficial part of taking business online is that it offers businesses an avenue through which they can expand sales and services beyond their current reach.
Online sales and service programs have grown significantly since 2020, driven by consumer and business habits built throughout the lockdowns. But intelligent businesses throughout the print industry are capitalizing on this new trend to help develop deeper customer relationships, tackle new challenges, and build their businesses into the future.