What's New At Zoo Printing

Could Microsoft Change the Online Wholesale Printing Business?

Microsoft held its annual Build developer’s conference last week, in Seattle.

The online wholesale printing industry could greatly benefit from Microsoft’s newest OS updates. Microsoft made several announcements and released more than just a few new platforms, features, and tools developers can use to create modern applications of all shapes, sizes, and capabilities. Officially Microsoft announced their new OS “Microsoft Build 2017 the Creators Update”

After viewing the conference live it seems to me that the future is already here. We no longer will be tied to our office desktops according to Microsoft. Today there is interactivity like no one has ever seen before!

How does this news affect the online wholesale print industry? As we all know in today’s mobile first world people are always on the move, this new update allows for seamless flow which is great news for graphic designers, print brokers and alike. You now can work on a project across all devices very seamlessly. WIN Fall Creators Update could potentially change the print industry for creator’s specifically those providing graphic design and print services for their clientele. Wholesale Printing Zoo

For example, lets say you have a client who likes to meet face to face (we all have them) mostly to edit artwork or print layout. Let’s say you were up all night working on your clients project, woke up late, ran out the door only to realize that when you met up with your client you forgot to email the artwork to your Dropbox or email. With Microsoft’s new update this scenario will never be a problem again because the last save you made is now available on all your devices.

For the online wholesale print industry this adds efficiency throughout the creative process where your not stuck in front of your desktop which in turn will eventually increase orders and obviously sales. Millennials have no desire to be tethered to any office workstation; it’s just not in their DNA.

No more excuses for in-house developers

When discussing the principles of physics, inertia is just a fact of bodies in motion—it is neither good nor bad. In the business world however, inertia can be disastrous to enterprises, especially when it comes to the deployment of new and better technologies.

The platforms, features, and tools discussed at Build 2017 were no longer abstract, nearly pie-in-the-sky concepts, but usable, physical things that developers can take advantage of right now. Microsoft is no longer selling dreams of the future to developers—it is selling the current reality—and developers, businesses, and just about everyone else better take notice.

If your business sales are for the most part online sales you should be prepared to either embrace this new technology for doing business or get left behind. One sure lesson to be taken away from Build 2017 for businesses, it is just this: There are very few plausible and defend-able excuses for not modernizing your systems and applications anymore.

Of course, cost versus benefit is always plausible, but you may want to run the numbers again, because some of the variables have changed. Enterprises can no longer play the “development would be too time-consuming and difficult” card and call it a day. Microsoft’s Azure intelligent cloud product, in particular, provides the tools that make deploying applications and even entire systems as simple as a few mouse clicks.

Have an old application that is dependent on .NET run-time protocols? Put it into a container and deploy it to Azure. Need to create a globally distributed database for your enterprise? Create it in a few clicks. Want to integrate AI into your marketing mix not a problem. In essence you could very easily say, “Welcome to Web 3.0!”

Save

Save

Save

Save

Blueline Sustainability Ranking: Your Tool for Reaching Eco-Minded Customers

The trend toward corporate transparency and sustainability leadership is taking hold around the globe and across sectors in response to ever escalating customer and consumer demand. The most recent indicator of this was announced in March when up and coming global clothing giant Uniqlo posted — publicly — a list of 150 suppliers as part of a broad sustainability platform.

Highlighting Uniqlo’s increased transparency, the Nekkei Asian Review reported, “Many Western companies have responded to the shifting tide toward ethical consumption. U.S. retailer Gap and Britain’s Marks and Spencer disclosed supplier factories last year. H&M (Hennes & Maruitz) of Sweden and America’s Nike have publicized theirs as well.”[i]

U.S. business publication, Inc.com, has also noted this shift and it goes far beyond the apparel sector. “In order to be counted as a truly sustainable business, a company’s supply chain must be sustainable. As companies make sustainability demands of their suppliers, and those suppliers make similar demands on theirs, a spider’s web of sustainable practices and transparent reporting is extending itself across the globe.”[ii]

Transparent reporting and sustainability leadership are at the heart of Canopy’s Blueline ranking of North American printers across a robust series of sustainability indicators. The Blueline ranking is a tool increasingly valued by print customers striving to meet their own CSR objectives. And the Blueline ranking is about to be updated for 2017.

On May 1, 2017, the Canopy team will begin analyzing the publicly reported sustainability policies and practices of major printers. The resulting analysis directs print customers to the sector leaders in environmental responsibility.

Over 30 specific criteria are used to evaluate the sustainability of North American print leaders, including their sourcing policies, fiber preferences, the availability of certified and recycled paper products, CSR reporting and most importantly, their level of transparency on these important indicators. Given new developments in the realm of sustainability since the last Blueline report was issued, additional criteria focused on forest conservation initiatives and supply chain shifts will also be assessed in the 2017 analysis.

The printed medium is a major part of a company’s face to the world. Increasingly, brands have recognized that printed materials can minimize their environmental impacts, depending on the eco-credentials of their printers and the papers used for the job. It is well documented that the high carbon footprint of printing is mainly attributable to paper choices, much of which can be avoided by not sourcing papers that originate from the logging of ancient and endangered forests. For many brands, working with sustainable print partners and using papers with high recycled fiber, straw or FSC fiber content is an increasingly important element of meeting their own sustainability targets.

Nor is it just print customers who are scrutinizing a company’s environmental performance. Business journals are reporting that institutional investors, subject to demands from their own clientele, are starting to preference companies with strong sustainability programs.

So how does a print customer — or an investor — know which printers can best meet their CSR needs? As Uniqlo and other major brands have determined, transparency is key.

Canopy is confident that behind the scenes, many North American printers are implementing robust sustainability efforts and have stories of integrity to tell. But your customers — and prospective customers — won’t know that unless it’s publicly acknowledged. And in today’s age of green marketing and overly enthusiastic self-promotion, many customers will also look to a third party to verify self-claims. That’s where Canopy’s Blueline comes in.

As with any ‘blueline’ change, printers can make late entries and changes to their sustainability reporting. In fact, printers have until April 30th to post their progressive actions on sustainability and inform their customers — and Canopy researchers — of the steps they are taking to improve their environmental performance.

Canopy’s analysis of North America’s top printers will begin May 1st and the 2017 Blueline rankings will be released to customers in June.

Will your company be featured in the Top 10 of North America’s most sustainable major printers? Will your firm be identified as a sustainability leader — or a laggard?

Your customers will be watching closely for the result.

Review the 2016 Blueline rankings and contact Canopy to improve or maintain your ranking. We’ll be pleased to work with you to identify the steps you can take to move up the sustainability — and Blueline — ladder.

[i] http://www.inc.com/maureen-kline/7-reasons-2016-will-be-the-year-business-pivots-toward-purpose.html

[ii] http://www.inc.com/maureen-kline/7-reasons-2016-will-be-the-year-business-pivots-toward-purpose.html

By Catherine Stewart
“This post originally appeared on Printing Impressions.”

6 Benefits to Building a B2B Print Business

If your looking to partner up with a wholesale printer that allows you to service the Business to Business industry we think that these 6 great benefits outlined
below could help you make that leap into the B2B world.Komori Press

1) Scalability – An effective B2B print solution will enable your company to scale easily to meet customer needs and demands by opening new sales channels and continuously reaching new market segments in a modern competitive marketplace.

 

2) Improved brand awareness – Improve brand identity in the market place comes with being a B2B. Developing web pages that can be indexed by Google and other search engines is a fast way to improve your site’s search engine optimization. This will improve the likelihood that your target audience will discover who you are very quickly.

Scale with Zoo Printing

 

 

3) Increased sales – You will not only reach new customers, B2B also allows you to easily implement an automated cross-sell and up-sell recommendation system, that can efficiently offer with relevant suggestions to customers on the site and encouraging them to purchase related print products.

 

 

4) Customer experience – Amazon.com has set the standard for providing a very exceptional ordering experience. Today’s online buyer experience expects, an Amazon-like experience. To remain relevant, print brokers need to employ intuitive mobile friendly design, rich content, and interactive functionality in their websites not mention a strong social media presence.

 

B2B Business with Zoo Printing5) Exceptional customer service – B2B provides B2B print businesses improved customer service initiatives. B2B sites often times provide access to self-service web sites that include account access, ordering, incentives, history, specials and tracking information. Through integration with an organization’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, a robust e-commerce site can display customer specific products, services and pricing based on customer login history and credentials.

 

6) Multi-site capability – Launching a successful e-commerce site is not easy but if you can find the right B2B wholesale printer with the right B2B e-commerce platform life will be much easier. This allows you to own your own co-branded website for penny’s on the dollar without ever needing to build it or maintain it yourself not to mention the costs of never having to outlay for equipment or delivery expenses.

Save

Donald Trump is Forecasting Higher Incomes in 2017 for the Middle Class

The business world is expected to flourish in 2017 and Entrepreneur’s will benefit most due to the easing of government regulation under the presidency of Donald Trump and his cabinet, according to business experts. It sounds GOOD! If only every word spoke by a government official were truth our country would be an utopia for all. Instead lets stick to what’s actually within our grasp. So if you are looking to raise your income in 2017 why not explore the world of print wholesaling with “Blind Shipping” as viable option for a small business start-up for the middle class.

Is blind shipping the path to overnight eCommerce success? Of course not! As with any successful online store, you’ll need to invest over time in a high quality website, effective marketing, and customer service.

But blind shipping does provide an easy way to get started and the ability to leverage other people’s capital without having to invest thousands of your own capital. When managed correctly, it can form the foundation of your own successful online business.

Today we will focus on blind shipping in the wholesale print trade. If you’re an out of work sales person, graphic designer or someone thinking about starting their own business, whether full or part-time, the wholesale print trade might just be for you.

Wholesale Printing with Blind Shipping

Since many wholesale print companies now provide blind shipping for their customers it can be a relatively easy business to start without having to invest in equipment, staff or delivery equipment, while appearing that you have.

Firstly, you are going to need to do your research about print wholesaling. Try using Google Maps, Yelp or other sites that provide wholesale print company ratings.

Also, in order to take advantage of free delivery with blind shipping you must make sure they are centrally located to you and your customers.

However, before committing to any print wholesaler, its best to create a few test accounts with at least 3 of the top print wholesalers in the industry and try some dry runs.

The point is to test the service, print quality and on-time shipping before you commit. It’s highly advisable to do your due diligence before committing rather than regretting your decision later.

Additionally, talk to their customer support team, get references and contact clients who have used their service on a reoccurring basis to gage what their customer experience has been like.

Do business with those who accept credit cards and let the bank handle your accounting, budgeting and profit & loss statements.

Finally, in the printing industry blind shipping is a important component to the path towards automation, moreover the key goal is to have every order run as seamless as possible where you can focus on business relationships & sales rather than production & delivery.

By Fred Smith for Zoo Printing

Save

Save

Save

Save

Time Management Has Never Been More Efficient for a Print Broker

As a Print Broker or Graphic Designer who brokers print you may have at one time struggled to manage your time efficiently. Those days are long gone. Today we live in a competitive wholesale print industry that has gone digital.

There was once a time not long ago when we would have to physically take digital files to our printer because bandwidth was once considered a luxury. A few days later if not a week later we would go back to our printer to review proofs or even do a press check if you were lucky enough to work with a printer who allowed it, providing there were no delays due to a press going down, you would then go pick up your print order.

After you pick up your client’s print order you would then arrange a drop-off at his or her office location or meet and an undisclosed location to deliver the printed product and receive payment for a job well done!

Wholesale Printing Zoo

Efficiency

In today’s digital world the print industry by and large no longer works this way due to better and faster technology.

In 2017 and beyond “Time Management” or as we now call it now “Digital Speed & Efficiency” is the new name of the game. Today you can have your client approve artwork online, you can now place a print order and send artwork all online and not to mention many wholesale print companies are now offering free local delivery.

If you have a sizeable database of business associates and friends you can actually earn some really great profits in the wholesale print industry right from a small office or home without ever owning a printing press.

Wholesale Printing

Wholesale Printing

If you’re waiting for job opportunities as a sales broker or graphic designer you might want to consider wholesale printing as a opportunity that you can start right away.

Often times an opportunity can become a career change.

 

By Fred Anthony Smith
Web Marketing Supervisor
Zoo Printing

Save

Save

An Exclusive Blog Special To End A Banner Year

The election might be behind us but big savings are still ahead! Here’s an exclusive blog special: 15% off Vinyl Banners!

Banner Special

This is a limited offer you won’t find anywhere else on the site. So hurry, 2016 isn’t the only thing to expire once the ball drops. Use the code below when you check out and receive 15% off Vinyl Banners today! For additional Large Format, Offset & Digital options please visit our homepage. Wishing everyone a very happy and healthy Zoo Year!

Vinyl Banners Code: VB694RND

*Unlimited use. Offer expires 12/31/16.

The Morning After: What Trump Win Means for the Printing Industry

Zoo Printing

Republican presidential elect Donald Trump

PHILADELPHIA — November 9, 2016 — In what many considered the most divisive election in modern times, American voters have spoken: Donald J. Trump will be sworn in as America’s 45th president in January and the Republican Party will maintain majority control of both the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives. Also of interest is what the election results will likely mean for people who make their livings working in the graphic arts industry.

To gain some perspective both from what it means for printing companies, as well as for industry suppliers, Michael Makin, president and CEO of Printing Industries of America, and Mark Nuzzaco, government affairs director at NPES The Association for Suppliers of Printing, Publishing and Converting Technologies, weighed in. “The immediate response is that our country now needs to come together. It’s important that everyone gets behind our government,” notes Makin, who cites the need for laws and regulations that are pro-business and that drive the economy forward. “As so goes a strong economy, so goes a strong printing industry. [Trump and the Republican Party have] a huge task, but also a huge opportunity to drive an agenda.”

Makin remains hopeful that Trump delivers on his promise to reduce government regulation and oversight, including less invasive OSHA inspections at printing companies and the repeal of onerous EPA environmental regulations that persisted during the Obama administration.

In terms of Trump’s pledge to scrap the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), Makin points out that the majority of U.S. printing companies do not participate in the health insurance exchange network when it comes to insuring their full-time employees. With that said, however, printing company business owners — and their employees — are quite concerned with rising health care premiums and deductibles. So, a fresh look by Trump and the newly elected 115th Congress at how the U.S. health care system can be reformed and made more affordable would certainly be one step in the right direction.

Nuzzaco agrees that although Obamacare has brought some good things, like the elimination of pre-existing conditions and the ability to extend health coverage for children to age 26, rate increases for printing company owners who provide employee health insurance plans continue to skyrocket out of control.

Nuzzaco is also hopeful that Trump follows through on his promise to lower tax rates for small businesses, while also pointing to the need to allow 100% expensing of capital equipment expenditures and a reduction in corporate tax rates. Trump has proposed a 15% corporate tax rate (vs. a high at 35%), but since many small businesses are creates as S corporations, LLCs and limited partnerships, there are no guarantees at this point that such a reduction would necessarily apply to these types of smaller businesses.

The passage of Postal Reform during the Lame Duck session of Congress remains a key industry initiative as well, according to Nuzzaco, even though it’s admittedly not a high visibility topic among the general public. He is also concerned with some of Trump’s anti-trade sentiments. NPES remains strongly in favor of passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), but Nuzzaco notes that both Trump and Hillary Clinton had voiced their opposition to the trade pact while on the the campaign trail, even though it was supported by President Obama.

As a long-time political watcher, Nuzzaco does believe it will be somewhat easier overall for Trump to advance his agenda with the support of a Republican-controlled Congress. With that said, he questions whether rank-and-file Republican lawmakers will automatically fall in line with Trump, who campaigned on a platform as being a quintessential Beltway outsider. “Inter-party fighting may become intra-party fighting.There will be tensions between Congress and the White House,” he predicts. “And there will still be a need for compromise to settle differences and power struggles between different factions within the Republican party.

“And, like in this case, when there’s a unified [Republican controlled] government, they own the outcome,” Nuzzaco quips. “They can’t scapegoat the opposition.”

 

 

By Mark Michelson
“This post originally appeared on Printing Impressions.”

3 Ways for B2B’s to Get the Most Out of Cyber Monday

They’re everywhere…in your inbox, on social media profiles, and nearly everywhere else you look. The madness builds on a already stressful holiday season.

The vast majority of promotions, are given by retailers rather than manufacturers and suppliers, who are competing for the lowest price and most creative offer to take advantage of the estimated $3.8B spent on Cyber Monday.

B2C sales, whether online or brick-and-mortar, lends itself to promotions. The transactions are simple. B2B, on the other hand, faces challenges across accounting, inventory, specialized contracts and discounting, order fulfillment, multiple shipping locations, and more. It’s just too complex and risky to take on mass-produced promotional campaigns.

Yet, with all the attention, wouldn’t it be nice if B2B brands could indeed share a piece of this vast pie?

3 Ways to Take Advantage of Cyber Monday Sales

Cyber Monday

Vinyl BannersBrochures w/ Free FoldingDigital Posters

 

1. Supply Email Content That Supports Your Retailers

Quite likely, your customers are planning for Cyber Monday, but do they have everything in place for their promotions? This can be a stressful process for many retailers.

Your retailers with eCommerce stores, for example, will need to have a well rounded strategy for handling (and testing for) increased website visits, assuring products have the necessary details laid out that consumers demand, plus an understanding on how to convert these seasonal shoppers into year-round customers.

What content via whitepapers, product or instructional videos, email newsletters, etc. can you provide your customers to support their efforts? Educate your retailers with the education they need, and their success will transfer into better customer relationships and increased business over the long haul.

Cyber Monday

Vinyl Banners
Brochures w/ Free FoldingDigital Posters

 

2. Make An Important Announcement

Are you hosting a large event in the near future? Launching a new product? Making key internal staffing decisions? The time between Black Friday and Cyber Monday may be the best time for the announcement. In fact, Statistics show 90% of employees will be checking their email inboxes for Cyber Monday deals. This means that your customers will have their eyes on their email. Why not leverage this rare attentiveness to email by making an announcement you want your customers to hear.

 

3. Give In, Hold a Promotion

If you have the right B2B solution, you can considering offering promotional discounts. If you go this route, be sure to follow these holiday email tips via Mailchimp, who send and track the statistics of millions of holiday emails every year. Key action items to focus on:

  • Email open rates actually decrease during the holidays (likely due to email overload).
  • In response, you’ll need to give a nearly “uncomfortable” promotion or discount to combat this.
  • Create promotions based on your best customers.
  • Lastly, make sure you optimize for a great mobile experience.

Cyber Monday

Vinyl Banners
Brochures w/ Free FoldingDigital Posters

 

As consumers, we’re all bombarded with promotional messaging during this time of the year. As B2B brands, it can be a very difficult time of the year to stand out and gain attention within all the noise. However, if you align your holiday marketing calendar around the needs of your most important customers––and assuring them that you providing them real value––will help you stand apart, improve customer relationships, and in the end drive more sales.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Debate Aside, Trump Wins Over Printing Industry, According to NAPCO Survey

TrumpClintonPrinting
Via Flickr user DonkeyHotey

 

In case you missed it, there was a debate this week between Presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. It’s almost unanimously agreed by political pundits that Clinton won the debate, however, according to a study completed in August 2016 by NAPCO Media Research (NAPCO is the parent company of Printing Impressions), Trump is winning big among printing industry execs.

In fact, out of the four industries polled — nonprofits, consumer electronics, promotional products and printing — Clinton trailed Trump by at least 20% in three of those industries (nonprofit business leaders being the only outlier with Clinton support clocking in at 53% and Trump being 34%, the rest undecided).

The survey, which polled 810 business executives, was designed to reveal how business leaders across multiple industries intend to support the two candidates come the November election. Overall, 54% of respondents support Trump, while 32% support Clinton and 14% noted that they are undecided — although after Monday night’s debate some of those undecided voters may have joined one camp or the other.

Out of the four industries polled though, Trump benefitted most from the printing industry respondents — which may not be surprising considering our industry is male-dominated, which in large part makes up Trump’s supporter base. At 62% support, Clinton saw support from only 28% of the printing industry, while 10% remain undecided.

When asked how passionate each respondent is about their Presidential choice, again the printing industry stands out. While most of the industries answered that they support their choice either “extremely” of “very much,” Clinton supporters in the printing industry, based on poll responses, revealed that they only support her “half-heartedly.” This, as the survey points out, could be because some of the respondents will not support Trump but support Clinton reluctantly.

Although it appears that many respondents are passionate about their choice for President, 31% of Trump supporters responded to the survey that they plan to vote for him because they do not believe in the alternative choice, whereas 46% of Clinton supporters have thrown their weight behind her because she is “the best of what’s available.”

Again, this is where the printing industry differs slightly from the rest of the pool, based on survey responses. Although the printing industry respondents show the widest support for the Republican candidate, 35% do so because they don’t believe in the alternative.

 

Trump Wholesale Printing

 

Similar to the other industries polled, the top-of-mind issue that drove printing industry respondents to support their choice was the economy, followed by national security. When asked which candidate will be better for the U.S. economy, while 63% overall answered Trump, 70% of the printing execs — the largest percentage of any of the four industries — believe that Trump would be a better President when it comes to growing the economy.

While this study obviously does not reflect every view of every printing industry executive, it does reveal that there is a large group of Trump supporters among our audience. It also shows that the economy remains a top-of-mind issue for the printing industry.

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Selecting the Right Trade Show Products For Your Business

Trade Show ProductsTrade shows are a great opportunity for face-to-face interaction with your customers and prospects, but what happens when they leave? If you and your company are forgotten as soon as they step out the door, you haven’t gained anything.

Promotional giveaway items keep your company name in front of customers as well as other people they encounter who could become prospects. Use these tips to choose trade show products that provide maximum value in boosting your brand’s visibility. Continue reading →