How Print.com Delivers a Superior Buying Experience

Print.com taps Adobe Magento for a “headless” eCommerce platform that changes the customer experience in commercial printing

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Print.com

As a web startup entering the highly competitive custom printing market, Print.com knew that a better buying experience through a compelling, customer-focused web application was the key to success.

“We wanted to provide an environment that made life easier for the professional, not just be another web shop. We worked on creating a simple two-step ordering process, no matter how complex the order,” said Lucas Baarspul, Chief of Strategy for Print.com.

With those things in mind, Print.com chose Magento Commerce as its eCommerce platform. Magento allowed Print.com to get a minimum viable solution up and running quickly, so that professional customers could start to use the web application for ordering print, signage, and large-format products at lightning speed.

“We knew it would take time to build a complete feature set,” Baarspul continued, “but Magento Commerce gave us a solid foundation from which to start generating revenue and using customer feedback to guide product direction.”

Print.com recognized that a “headless” approach to eCommerce architecture would let it focus on optimizing the customer interface without regard to the back end. That’s because in a headless approach, the front end of an eCommerce shop and the back end are decoupled—the content presentation is separated from the business logic and functional layer.

As Magento puts it: “This architecture divides customer-facing concerns from system-facing concerns and allows for a more tailored development of the pieces that are underperforming or a focusing of resources on the pieces that are performing best.”

For Print.com, the result was the creation of unique customer dashboards much more quickly than otherwise could have been possible. The dashboards allow printing professionals to compare up to 20 options, across five to 50 possible solutions per option, for each job. They can see and compare pricing, material, and finishing options in real time, which simplifies decision making and helps customers fit their print jobs into their budgets. And instead of a standard shopping cart, their choices are arranged in a cart designed for the complexities of professional print job orders.

“By focusing on the interface, the Print.com site feels more like a dynamic web app for creating print jobs and less like a static online store,” Baarspul said.

That effect is heightened by the ability that Magento provides of creating multiple, unique storefronts for Print.com’s professional customers, a key source of customer satisfaction.

On the back end, the headless approach has made it possible for Print.com to scale its business more quickly. The underlying commerce engine is capable of supporting the business no matter how large its website order volume grows. And Magento simplifies and speeds up the addition of new back-end print production partners, giving Print.com customers more options, and it makes it easy to add functionality such as invoicing and search.

Baarspul has some advice for other businesses that want to energize their online commerce environment.

“The ability to create different interfaces for varying customers or groups of customers delivers a differentiated experience that has tremendous value for them,” he said. “Being flexible and delivering a buying experience that fits the customer will result in greater sales. It’s also critical to choose the right infrastructure partners, like we did with Magento. The ability to focus your resources on the aspects of the online experience that have the greatest value is critical to success.”

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