Enhancing Your Print Shop

With increasing competition and evolving customer expectations, sign and print shop owners must find new ways to differentiate themselves and connect meaningfully with their customers.

Let’s look at some of the key methodologies that you can employ to achieve this at your shop!

Staying Visible Online

Even if your business is primarily in-person customers, having a robust online presence is essential to staying competitive.

And the good news is that having a solid online presence doesn’t require a web developer or an extensive design team.

You’ll want to use platforms that provide easy customization so you can build a professional, branded website that customers can use to contact you for jobs.

You also need to be able to add crucial elements like product pages and shopping carts, allowing your brand to shine across every online touchpoint.

Additionally those easy-to-build sites must showcase your brand colors, fonts, and images so that your shop is consistent and recognizable across all your online content.

Consistency is critical here, so ensuring your shop has some core brand guidelines is necessary.

Your brand guidelines could be as simple as a shared document that everyone on your team can access with your company’s logos, color scheme, essential web links, and other assets (like your company’s email signature).

Providing E-Commerce Solutions

In addition to polishing up your shop’s online image, you’ll need to offer your customers e-commerce options, specifically online storefronts where they can sell products to their end-user customers.

Your customers need user-friendly online stores that give shoppers an easier way to buy merchandise—whether for a small business, fundraiser, school, or other niche.

There are several options available, like InkSoft, OrderMyGear, and Printavo, where you can offer powerful online stores that make it easy for your customers to sell their products online and add or update products that suit their campaign or business.

Enhancing Print Shop
Artwork provided by Joe Arenella.

A few key things you’ll want to consider for those online stores include:

Branding capabilities: Just as your shop needs consistent branding, customer stores need consistent colors and logos to be recognizable.

Secure checkout: A secure checkout is essential, so make sure you use a platform that you can trust. The last thing you want is your customer’s sensitive information stolen, let alone your business since it can damage your reputation and credit.

Mobile optimization: People make more purchases than ever from their phones, so you’ll need stores that load quickly and display correctly on mobile devices and tablets.

Easy customization: A suitable platform for online stores makes it simple to add and remove products from the storefront and integrate with supplier catalogs. If you have to manually upload photos every time a customer changes products or opens a new storefront, it’ll get more challenging to scale.

Offering Modern Artwork Capabilities

For many reasons, artwork can be the most significant pain point for customers and shops.

Mock-ups can take up a lot of time and money, whether it’s a customer’s lack of knowledge about resolution, an unlicensed image, or continuous revisions because of communication breakdowns.

You can get around this hurdle with tools that help you create better customer artwork and source graphics and fonts from an art library built for print and sign shops.

Customers can browse and select design ideas for their jobs and send them back to the shop, typically through an online portal.

This tool helps reduce labor costs and saves the shop money so they can improve profit margins.

You’ll also need tools to create, submit, and finalize art approvals all online, so you can coordinate a job with a customer faster and get it to your production team.

Improving Your Shop Production

Along with tightening up how you serve customers, streamlining how you run your shop can improve how you provide better services.

That efficiency usually comes down to better customer order management, so you’re tracking everything from start to finish and able to prioritize jobs.

Having a set of spreadsheets and a whiteboard is fine; but when you’re busy, you need a system that’s accessible from anywhere and flexible based on your order volume and timeframes.

Consider implementing a Cloud-based system that works on any device.

Simply log in to take charge of your shop remotely. Ensure the system has the ability to tailor the workflow to your shop’s schedule, efficiently organize job files, automate tasks for team productivity, and monitor customer orders for on-time deliveries.

Plus adopting an easy-to-use and flexible quoting system that allows you to set up pricing templates for all your products will help protect your profits.

With quoting templates that allow you to control markups and see exactly what you’re making on your jobs, pricing jobs is no longer guesswork, and your sales team can offer accurate quotes and close more profitable deals.

Enhancing Print ShopJoe Arenella founded two sign shops before launching SignTracker, a software program that helps sign shop owners run their shop. Joe is also the host of the Behind the Signs Facebook group and podcast.


Mike Clark is the content marketing manager at Inktavo and previously served as a managing editor for several print industry publications. He strives to create educational resources for print shops, big and small.