Transactional forms tend to get a bad reputation in the print distribution sector. Many industry publications and observers have sounded the alarm about the need to abandon this business segment in favor of marketing-based strategies. 

As a recent Wise Business Forms white paper made clear, these warnings have been greatly exaggerated and premature. While it's true that the print distribution industry is indeed changing and shifting away from a heavy reliance on this type of business, it is also important to note that there are still many opportunities for print companies to thrive in this area, so long as they're willing to embrace the right strategies. 

And it is absolutely worthwhile to pursue such business. In addition to the financial incentives, which are significant, selling transactional forms offers another huge advantage to print distributors: time. For many leaders in this sector, the benefits of greater time may actually be even more substantial than a bigger revenue stream.

Time matters
Transactional forms include a wide range of business forms and documents, from shipping labels to checks to branded note pads and beyond. One of the key traits that links all of these forms is the fact that they represent repeatable business. Generally speaking, there is no need to redesign or in any way alter these forms when fulfilling a new order, as the company's logo, address, color scheme and other traits will not change over time.

Obviously, this can significantly cut down on overhead costs and boost a company's profit margin and bottom line. Just as importantly, the simplicity and repeatability inherent to this line of business decreases the time and effort that print distributors require to devote in order to meet all of their clients' transactional form needs.

This doesn't make the entire process hands-off, of course. Print distributors must still regularly check in on their clients and respond in the event of unexpected needs. But the time needed on the supplier's end is far less than is the case for most printing business. 

Consider marketing-based printing requirements, for example. Each marketing campaign is unique, and therefore requires new designs for all of the printed collateral needed. While this is certainly a valuable market segment for print distributors, they will need to devote much more time to these efforts. 

The benefits of saving this time that would otherwise be spent on design or other client issues may seem obvious, but it's worth briefly going over them to highlight just how significant these advantages can be. 

  • New opportunities: With the time saved by focusing on repeatable form business, decision-makers and leaders can instead devote themselves to looking for new business opportunities to a far greater degree than would otherwise be possible. And because of the nature of this business, once a new prospect is captured, it remains a revenue-generator while the principal can move on to future opportunities. 
  • Greater flexibility: Thanks to the low-touch nature of transactional form business, principals can feel free to exercise greater flexibility in their search for new clients, and in their jobs in general. Traveling to meet a far-away potential client may not be a viable possibility in most cases, but it becomes worthwhile for print distributors focusing on transactional forms.
  • More creativity: Because there is less pressure to meet client demands or capture new business, print distributors in this area can devote the time needed to developing more creative strategies.

Taken together, these time-related benefits can have a powerful impact, making transactional forms an invaluable option for any print distributor who can resist the panic generated by industry publications and observers on the topic.