Online Business Health Check

January 11th, 2019 - Posted by Jamie Thomson, Managing Director

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January is often a slower time of year for the print industry which makes it a great time to check how your online business is progressing and make new plans for the year ahead. Whilst traditional sales are continuing to decline for many, e-commerce shows no signs of slowing in growth. Like many of us, every year something I used to do by phoning around or visiting a shop or business I now do online. Companies that don’t do business online are hard to find, ones that are successful and offline only are even harder to find! So for the print industry, some form of online business is a must and that normally means Web to Print.

The first step in the health check is to review where you are. This should cover:

  • Which of your customers are using your Web to Print solution and how are they using it?

  • Are there more products you could be providing your current users with?

  • Are your sales staff up to date with what the solution can and can’t do?

  • Are they still trying to get new customers on board?

  • Do you still have staff that can build webstores and products?

  • Is your demo site the best it can be? Does it demonstrate a good range of what the solution can do and what services you can offer?

The reason that there are a few points that relating to staff and demo sites are twofold. First SaaS based solutions update frequently, new features are added, and something that couldn’t be done 6 months ago might be possible now. It is always worth making sure that the people selling your solution have a quick refresher course on what it can do and also making sure that your demo site shows off the newer features.

The second reason is that your staff change over time. You would be surprised how often we get a phone call saying that there is no one left at the company who knows how to use the software when a customer asks for something new. Is it time to get some more people trained up?

Human nature often means that if you have a few customers using your Web to Print solution then you have mentally checked that off as done where it should really be seen as a launch pad continuing to grow the online side of your business. So that brings us to the second part of the health check, a target for the year ahead and a plan to hit that target.

Start with fixing points in the review above. For example in the next month I want to send this person on a training course, I want a refresh of our demo site and I want the newly trained person to refresh our sales team knowledge about the system.

Then move onto growth goals. For example, I want to grow our online business volume 10% and I am going to do that by talking to our current online customers that use the software and seeing what else can be put online, bringing some more of our offline customers online and of course getting new customers. You can go another level in detail by fleshing out how you are going to do each of those but a vital component is to assign responsibility of those goals to individuals.

The good thing about a simple plan is that it can be part of next January’s review process. With RedTie you get a personal account manager to help with any of the above items, so if you need assistance then get in touch. Whatever plan you come up with, have a great 2019.