The success of any type of business hinges on the satisfaction of its customers. Print service providers are no different. In this highly digitalized environment, both companies and consumers are becoming more demanding. People want to find – and purchase – the goods and services they need as quickly as possible. Fortunately, the rapid proliferation of technological devices and processes has made increasing the efficiency and speed of operations easier than ever before.

But in their efforts to transition toward the Internet of Things and take a more automated approach to business, print companies – just like any other type of seller – must be strategic in their investments. When it comes to purchasing, adopting and implementing new platforms, technologies or software, quality trumps quantity.

There are some innovations that make sense for businesses in other industries to use that don't for those in the printing market. However, there are a few key web-based functions that can have a powerful effect on the performance of print services.

As Jennifer Matt recently pointed out in an article for WhatTheyThink, any type of software should be designed with user experience at the forefront of the mind. Web-to-print technology lets customers take matters into their own hands and essentially serve themselves. This is convenient for both parties, but it must be executed properly.

Below are some of the most important features and services a print service provider should make sure its online portal offers.

1. Advanced shipping notifications
Being able to obtain deeper insight into the status of printing activity enables companies to exercise greater control. Not only will they know exactly when to expect their products – thus eliminating any potential for miscommunication – they will be able to better manage their own processes.

2. Exact repeat online
A large part of operational efficiency is uncovering ways to save both time and money. Online print portals that offer exact repeat online give buyers a way to automate the ordering process which, in turn, gives them more room and flexibility to focus on other critical areas of business. This also helps the print providers streamline their own production workflows. Plus, customers are able to automatically place orders when it is most convenient for them. 

3. Customized marketing materials
Given the amount of paper products and materials print service providers handle for their clients, there's no reason why they shouldn't offer a way to make it simple and seamless to customize and download case studies and other marketing collateral. Personalizing materials with the customer's information and logo and turning it into a product that is print-ready is one way providers can incentivize businesses to partner with them.

In this day and age, it is essential for print service providers to make sure they are evolving with emerging trends and technologies. However, it is also important that the investments they make to modernize their services and business models are ones that will help improve their bottom line and make their operations more efficient, rather than complicated.