All posts in “Print”

Excellent article by John Foley Jr. on web content for printer websites!

John’s post earlier this month is definitely worth a read, possibly a bookmark – I love the opening analogy with restaurants.

The gist: Would a restaurant post its hours on the doors, pictures of its founders and a detailing of its history without indicating what food they sell?

Of course not! They put up their menus & sometimes pictures of food or expose the inside of their restaurant so passersby can be enticed by delicious menu choices paired with a complementing dining setting.

Would you visit this store? I wouldn’t! I have no idea what they sell.

boring storefront

Foley says this is exactly what printers need to think about.

When laying out websites with content: show people what they want to see (and coincidentally what can make you money) before diving into your shop’s history.

John breaks out content development into these four steps:

– Identify your audience
– Know your strength
– Develop your message
– Show, don’t tell
– Don’t do all the talking

This is an excellent approach (read his article to get more substance on these). With infotrends estimating 50% of print buys being procured online by 2017 – building an effective website now should be a significant element of your strategy and certainly not something to hold off on. The great thing about websites is that they’re living documents. Spending months and thousands of dollars coming up with the absolute perfect content is the wrong way and could cost you clients if your competitors are consistent in refreshing their sites with good-enough content and an easy shopping environment. This is known as the people over pixels concept.

So get out there and start polishing your content!

How do you know if you have come up with good enough content?

One popular way is to run an experiment and find out is with Optimizely. Without requiring any web development experience, a high-school student can set up an experiment to A/B test different content. Simply paste a snippet of code on your website, log into Optimizely and use their easy click & drag editor to create variations of your webpage. Learn which content variation suits your visitors best by creating goals. Optimizely will display your different variations during the experiment and the versions with the most tallies for the goals wins!

Don’t stop there – again web pages should be living documents. Once you’ve polished the voice of your messaging and basic layout, refresh content from time to time to keep customers coming back to see what you have going on next.

Shameless (though arguably relevant) plug:

Keen’s web-to-print solution, which includes storefronts – is a great way to transition onto a platform that will showcase your products and services on a site that is easy to navigate & make purchases on (whether they’re big corporate clients or consumers). Our public stores let you sell to buyers looking to make occasional or one-off purchases while private stores are great for B2B clients that may have negotiated rates. There’s much more to Keen, learn more here:


word map of features

License: CC-BY-SA 3.0
Creator: Anna @ Kreablo

Response to Jane Mugford’s The Feature Trap of Buying Print Software (

First, great article Jane! Coming from the product-side of the market we at Keen couldn’t agree with you more.

It may sound funny, having a software provider not pushing an infinite number of features on customers. When we were in the early stages of product development, tons of features were thrown in the ring. But in an effort to make it to market before everyone and their brother did, it behooved us to slim down. Truth be told, even today our sales team is constantly pushing for features, this is because they’re at the front lines with customers and see all of the fads (which is a good thing). Luckily, our product managers and engineers weigh in to provide balance. Through it all, we’ve learned a thing or two in our short history:

1.) A strong product doesn’t need a ton of extra features because it does what it’s supposed to, really well. Working this way gives engineers more time to strengthen the core product vs quickly patching together fad features on a whim

2.) Features should be created like condiments added to a meal: sparingly and well placed

You might pull up our website upon reading this article (which we’d love) and see we have a link to the “Features” of our web-to-print solution. Really, many of these are just the components or the tools if you will of our core product.

At the end of the day, I think it says something about a software’s product, engineering and sales teams when a product has a strong core with a thoughtful and evolving set of features based on market developments.

The Top 5 Reasons Web-to-Print Fails

Afraid of jumping on the web-to-print ‘boat’?  There are several things you can do to make sure your web-to-print solution works from the start.  Recently Peter Brittiff, writer for Xerox Australia blog, posted a piece about why web-to-print solutions (even ‘perfect’ ones) don’t work out for some PSPs (   His top 5:

  • No workflow adjustments made to guide teams & W2P to work together

  • No encouragement of internal teams to adopt the W2P solution

  • W2P wasn’t promoted to the current customer base

  • Target customers weren’t reached with merchandising & marketing efforts

  • No due diligence was completed on tech support services and availability

My favorite “Why”: Promotion

“I’ve lost count of the number of times a client will say they’ve tried web-to-print and it doesn’t work. But when asked how they marketed their new print ecommerce capabilities or how they promoted and encouraged utilisation, the ‘why didn’t I think of that’ expressions are priceless.”

This is likely my favorite reason because I work in marketing.  More importantly, Keen recognizes this as a potential trap for customers and has included support into their launch pack.

Something you may already know:

Why is promotion important?

Most simply: your new web-to-print solution has the greatest potential of being successful if everyone uses it.  The most obvious audience for promotion efforts are your customers & potential customers.  Your current client base will be relatively easy to communicate with because you already communicate with them.  Your web-to-print solution benefits them, not just you, your communication should focus on these benefits – adding a discount for their first web purchase will also help adoption rates.  Your customers-to-be are another target.  Communications to this group, in addition to featuring the benefits of web-to-print & a discount code, should include your product offering and brand promise.  Tell them who you are and how your shop can deliver their needs better than competitors.

Promotion can be accomplished with a combination of the email blasts, search engine marketing, blog/social media posts and signage in your physical location.

Something you may not know:

How far you should go with promotion?

Wherever you want your web-to-print solution to be successful: externally (customers) and internally (your team members).  Getting your team onboard with your system includes ample training and a thoughtful transition from your workflow pre-web to print.  In also includes auditing other processes you have in place to make sure everything from sales incentives to production requirements are designed to both: make sense & encourage adoption.

So, how does Keen make sure your shop hits the ground running with our web-to-print solution?

  • You & your team will be trained on our system + you’ll have a set of office hours when you can be sure to reach us directly to discuss questions you have

  • You send us your product catalogue and we’ll build out fifteen products to get you started

  • You send us your shop’s branding materials and we’ll customize your system to reflect your brand

  • You’ll also get training in digital marketing so you can tackle promotions to your target market at launch

Interested? Check out what we have to offer at or reach out to us for a free consultation today!

You spoke & we listened!

Last month we released a web-to-print survey with our blog post: Why you need web-to-print to stay competitive in 2014 asking readers which features are most important to them in a web-to-print solution.  Thanks everyone who filled our survey!

Most Popular web to print features

The ranked outcome from most popular down to least:

  1. Custom Storefront
  2. Private Storefront
  3. Design Studio
  4. Live Pricing
  5. Preflighting
  6. File Upload
  7. Shipping integration
  8. Training & setup

Read on for a look inside the top 3 features!


KeenStores Custom Storefronts rock, let us tell you why!

  • Your customized Keen Store will take on the life of your brand beyond ordinary template manipulation.  Adding your logo, matching colors and setting fonts is just the beginning.
  • Stores are designed to look clean and attractive while being easy to navigate.
  • Updating Stores is easy with our simple Admin system.

When we say a customized storefront, we mean customized!  Your KeenStores home page incorporates modern web design with a large banner area front & center to feature what’s most important to your store & customers today.  Banner images rotate when multiple are uploaded

Once customers get to your site, helping them find what they will buy is the next priority. Our storefront helps you do this with the ability to feature a handful of products right on the front page.  Maybe you want to display your most popular products, you can choose to automatically show the most the popular products based on sales.  Alternatively, you may want to display products connected to a promotion – in which case just manually select which products to display.

In addition to your home page and product pages, you have the option to build out additional static pages. You can use these pages for anything – common uses include telling customers how to get in touch with you, about your shop’s history, additional services, and promotions.

Our admin system makes publishing additions or changes to your site simple so it won’t become the dreaded task at your shop.  But don’t worry, if you can’t figure something out, call our support team and we’ll help you!

Other frills include adding Newsletter subscription fields and social media buttons to your site.  Newsletter subscription fields enable visitors interested in engaging with your business to provide their email address.  Use this email list to keep your shop top of mind through newsletters and promotional emails.  Another bit of icing optional through our customization is the ability to add social media icons.  A strong presence on social media platforms gives your shop the opportunity to extend its personality and possibly draw business.  Connecting social users with your store and vise versa can have great benefits.

Screen Shot 2014-03-10 at 5.16.54 PM


Private Storefronts make your biggest customers think they’re No. 1!

Do your biggest customers place repeat orders or have custom pricing?  If so, save them time and effort by creating a store just for them!  Private stores have the same level of flexibility as your public KeenStore and can be customized to a particular customer with the products they buy most, their templates and special pricing.  These stores require a login.  Our product cloning and linking features makes it easy to add & update products across your public & private stores, and cuts out double work.  Have your private stores further resonate with big customers with customizations based on the look and feel of their brand.

And, don’t worry – all sales from all of your storefronts are funneled into one feed within the admin site making it easy to process all of your orders!


The 2014 W2P feature of the year: the design studio (we have one too)!


Keen’s Design Studio has a great amount of flexibility without an overwhelming amount of complexity.

Via admin your shop can:

  • Upload your templates
  • Choose which fields can be editable (ie. on a business card common options are: Name, Title, Company & contact information)
  • Designate any fields which are required to be changed before submission

Your customers can:

  • Edit select fields
  • Add images
  • Add text
  • Add/delete text & image placeholders
  • Change fonts

Like what you see here?  Check out our tour led by Vitaly and sign up for a 1:1 demo here!

Why you need web-to-print to stay competitive in 2014

web-to-print_bloggraphicWeb-to-print (noun) is the practice of doing print business online.

“To remain competitive, printing firms must seek new ways to harness the power of the web to solve customers’ existing problems and increase the amount of business being done via the web…”  Infotrends

Why web-to-print should be on your radar

  • “Print must be sold in the context of new media.” – Dr. Joe Webb,
  • The global web-to-print market is estimated to grow to $869 billion by 2017
  • DazeInfo predicts the U.S. digital printing market to grow $56 billion between 2013 and 2018
  • 57% of marketers surveyed by CMO Council use print service providers with a web-based purchasing platform
  • Print customers said they estimate 40% of their annual print purchases will be made online by the end of 2014 according to Infotrends
  • InfoTrends predicts electronically enabled commercial print volume to hit 30% in 2014
  • According to an MIT Sales Study, quoting print jobs within 5 minutes – versus 30 minutes – increases your chances of winning the job by 21x

Find a web-to-print solution that works for you:
If you’re new to web-to-print, Infotrends has an in-depth guide for finding the best product to match your needs – you can even compare web-to-print solutions side by side.

 Get a demo of Keen Stores to see how we can help
View a quick overview of Keen Stores now and schedule a follow-up one-on-one demo to learn more.



Year in Review: 2013 & Looking Forward to 2014


While print is reported as a behemoth $640 billion industry by Print is Big, there is a very real, observable decline in industry sales, largely due to the rise of digital media.

That being said, Darryl Danielle had sincere optimism about 2013 at the 2013 PrintWeek Awards:

“I believe that when we look back on 2013, it will become apparent that it was a truly transformative year for print, when our focus finally switched from survival to growth and opportunity.”

Continue Reading…

Print 13: Keen Partners with PBBA and Accepts web2award


We are excited to tell you about a new partner. The PBBA (Print Brokerage/Buyers Association) has chosen to exclusively partner with Keen to bring our ecommerce technology to their substantial network of members.

As Vincent Mallardi, CMC and Chair of PBBA explains, “As honest-dealing printing intermediaries, the world’s 25,000 broker/resellers, by definition, must be independent of both their sub-contractor vendors and end-user clients.” 

“Up until now, two out of three printing outsource independents either have printing manufacturer-sponsored storefronts or none at all. Since we are primarily sales, not production, driven organizations, Keen Systems provides the solution we need and our clients will soon demand: Arms-length confidentiality separation yet seamless transaction integration. There’s nothing before that’s like it!”

 The Printing Brokerage/Buyers Association International comprises over 20% of global printing revenues.  And PBBA members and their PBBA-registered vendors will sell and process more than 22 million jobs in 2014 at a resale value exceeding $6 billion.

And in other news…

Keen Accepted a web2award at Print 13

Keen Systems received a prestigious award for the PrintisBig Campaign, which graphically highlights that print is big, print is green, and print is here to stay. To celebrate the web2award and the industry as a whole, we threw a party during Print 13 in Chicago.

Print 2013 – Parties and Events


With 30,000 people flooding Chicago for one of the biggest conferences of the year representing the print industry (Print 13), there are more than a few options for evening entertainment, networking with other professionals and generally having a good time while you’re in the City by the Lake.

Onward toward the parties and special events!

Don’t miss the Keen Printoberfest Party, complete with free beer, appetizers and live music open to all print professionals on Monday, September 9th from 7-10pm.


Sunday, September 8th

Event: NOPA – Print 13 Networking Event
Location: Hard Rock Cafe
Scene: Light Snacks & Cash Bar
RSVP: Must register ahead of time / free for members and non-members
Time: 5:15-7pm

Event: Premier Awards Gala
Location: Chicago Marriott Downtown Miracle Mile
Scene: Dinner Gala & Cocktail Reception
RSVP: By August 9th, 2013 / $175 per person
Time: 6:00-9pm

Monday, September 9th

Event: NOPA – Print 13 Networking Event
Location: Hard Rock Cafe
Scene: Light Snacks & Cash Bar
RSVP: Must register ahead of time / free for members and non-members
Time: 5:15-7pm

Event: Printoberfest Party
Location: The Berghoff
Scene: Oktoberfest-themed open bar, served appetizers & live music
RSVP: Must sign up / free for Print 13 participants
Time: 7-10pm

Event: DSCOOP Party
Location: Rock it Bar & Grill
Scene: Members only party sponsored by HP
RSVP: DSCOOP members get 5 guests each, partners get 2
Time: 7-11pm

Tuesday, September 10th

Event: Xplor Breakfast Panel – Multi-Channel Communications
Location: McCormick Place
Scene: Complimentary breakfast, conference badge & session moderated by InfoTrends’ Matt Swain
RSVP: Limited to first 200, register free
Time: 8:30-10am

Event: Dinner Meeting-Where is Print Going?
Location: McCormick Place
Scene: Dinner meeting with guest speak Dr. Mark Bohan
RSVP: Limited, $30 per person, must register ahead of time

Harlequin 25th Birthday Party
Registration is free, but event time and location is unknown. You have to sign up and wait for details by email.

If you know of any events or parties that we missed, please email with the details and we’ll get it listed ASAP.

Printoberfest Party at Print ’13 in Chicago


Print is Big graphically displays a collection of facts statistics that show just how big the $640 billion-dollar print industry is, highlights the truth about print eco-friendliness and points at the trend of more print commerce happening online. The campaign has gone viral and has been embraced by the print industry worldwide.

To celebrate, we’re inviting all of our customers, partners, and Print ’13 participants to Printoberfest, an Oktoberfest-themed celebration. The festivities will be happening on the evening of Monday, September 9th, in downtown Chicago. Come to mix and mingle with other industry professionals, an open bar, bites to eat and live music.

For the location and details of Printoberfest, RVSP here.

We hope to see you in Chicago with a stein in hand. Until then – prost!