• Nov
  • 14
  • 2018

What can a Brick and Mortar Print/Mail Shop do that an E-Shop Can’t?

Some days it seems as if e-commerce is taking over the world, leaving brick and mortar businesses in the dust. This is especially true with print and mail services, which have experienced stagnation in recent years due to cheap online print options. The good news is that brick and mortar stores are making a comeback, especially among Millennials and Gen Zers, and they always have an advantage when it comes to customer service and personalized experiences.

Despite this good news, it is important for print shop owners to remind themselves of the value they give customers that e-stores can’t, and build customer service and marketing efforts around this information. Ultimately, there are 7 benefits that your print and mail company can deliver that an online store can’t:

  1. Deliver Non-Generic Products. Even the most sophisticated online store has a limited number of print options within specific price points. The result is a generic look. These days, most people can look at a business card and know which online template was used to create it. A brick and mortar shop can do any number of customizations, from fonts to images, based on what the customer supplies and without adding costs. For customers who want to stand out from the crowd, they need to use a local print/mail shop.
  2. Provide Print Expertise. Few people using online print shops understand issues such as inappropriate graphic, bleed and trim. Even something as simple as printing a postcard and having the text and cover images retain the same orientation can be problematic. These errors result in expensive mistakes. Bringing an order to a person rather than uploading it to a website means that someone is there to address these problems before printing has begun, saving the customer time and money.
  3. Be an Extra Pair of Eyes. Online print shops will not catch small typos or design inconsistencies because someone doesn’t review the orders. They are printed as received and that’s it. With the local print shop, a person is physically reviewing each order so these small slip-ups are more likely to be noticed and corrected before going to print.
  4. Utilize Knowledge and Skills. Online prints shops simply don’t have the capabilities to handle projects beyond a very narrow set of parameters. In contrast, local print shop owners and staff have extensive knowledge and hands-on experience and can handle almost anything a customer brings through the doors. Physical print shops have a wider range of materials and skills and are better positioned to meet their customers’ expectations.
  5. Address Rush Jobs. When a client needs a fast order turn-around, online vendors either can’t meet them or will charge additional fees both for the service and for shipping. The local shop is more likely to be able to handle an urgent order and the customer won’t pay extra for shipping, and in most cases, the order won’t cost more either.
  6. Create a Relationship. While a customer might place several orders with an online vendor, they are still just a number in the system. Brick and mortar shops allow customers to develop a strong working relationship with print and mail vendor. This relationship fosters trust with the shop, and the customer is more likely to seek advice and consider the business a true partner in their operations, which is a win-win for everyone.
  7. Keep Dollars Local. Using a community store such as a print and mail shop keeps dollars spent in the community, rather than supporting jobs across the country or overseas. Local spending also supports small businesses and keeps the area vibrant and growing.

The truth is that most people prefer the convenience of online print orders but the process often costs them more in the long run and the results aren’t as unique as they’d like. Educate your community on the benefits of using your shop with Facebook posts or marketing pieces to help drive customers through your doors. Remind them that supporting a local business is worth the effort, especially when it produces great results.