Efficiency Gives Customers the Print-On-Demand Experience They Want
Wait, what’s this? A new bookstore opening? You’ve all heard the pronouncements that, in one way or another, print is dead. Well, the opening – or actually re-opening – of this particular print-on-demand bookstore in Paris is attracting plenty of attention these days. I find it not only exciting, but also very revealing about what some of the real issues are with business today. A large part of success in business today truly is about creating the best possible customer experience…and print plays an important role in the process.
I’ve shown evidence here many times that people still prefer reading things in hard copy – printed vehicles they can hold in their hand, rather than on screens. Other studies indicate that students remember things far better when they read them on paper than on a fleeting glimpse from cyberspace. It’s simply a better experience.
Printed At Your Pleasure
The new 775 sq. ft. bookstore in Paris operates in an innovative way. It doesn’t stock books on rows and rows of shelves. Instead, it prints books “on demand.” A customer comes in, requests a book, then enjoys a coffee or other diversion while it is printed for them. They walk out with, or stay and enjoy, their printed book to read at their leisure, cover to cover or a chapter at a time, wherever and whenever they choose.
In thinking about this bookstore, I realized that the attention and success it has generated really reinforces several things that we all need to keep in mind as we move forward with our marketing and communications efforts. Here are the three big takeaways for business from the out of the box bookstore in Paris:
To “Touch” People, Give Them Printed Materials They Can Touch
Businesses need to keep from getting caught up in the race to the “latest” and make sure we don’t confuse “newest” with “best.” Of course electronic formats are easier and cheaper; but that doesn’t mean they are our best choice. The smart businessperson considers results along with costs and simplicity, and there is little doubt that printed materials leave a more effective, longer-lasting impression.
Chances are, all those people flocking to the new bookstore in Paris could stay home and get electronic versions of the same books. But they don’t. They want a better experience and part of that experience is creating a printed book they can touch and feel.
Deliver What Your Customer Wants In The Most Efficient Way
One of the reasons traditional bookstores have faced a rough road is the fact that they had to invest in thousands of products which were destined to simply sit on a shelf for long periods of time, requiring lots of space and attention with little return. And for many of them, the more time passed, the less desirable they were.
The new bookstore in Paris has no such space requirements. They just require excellent printing capability and an inviting environment in which book-lovers can pass a little time. It occurs to me that exactly the same principle applies to your collateral materials. Why invest in printing huge quantities of business forms, promotional materials, and more that may or may not ever be needed and which likely start to become outdated just months after they reach your shelves. That’s not cost efficient.
Superior Business Solutions brings this same smart “Paris bookstore” approach to your company’s materials with our “Print on Demand” capability. The system allows you to print only what is needed for a particular event or period, so there is no waste. And it permits easy updates, changes, and customized targeting to make sure your materials are always current and relevant to your targets, even as those targets change.
Keep Your Ears And Your Mind Open
Americans have an industrious, nose-to-the-grindstone business culture. But don’t keep your head down so much that you don’t learn about new things and entertain new ideas. If the people opening that bookstore had settled for conventional wisdom, a lot of customers’ wishes would have gone unheard and their desires unfulfilled.
As I said earlier, every new idea isn’t a great (or even good) one, but if you isolate yourself, you won’t be in position to take advantage of the good ones. That old saying “all business is local” ought to include, “but all good ideas are not.”
As for me, I try to tune into lots of different sources to make sure I don’t miss anything that might be good for my life or my business. When I hear something helpful, I pass it along if I think it might help yours. Want to toss around some ideas and hear some of the things I’ve discovered? I’m glad to talk any time: just get in touch with me.
I’m happy to say our people are also committed to providing great ideas (from in and outside the box) to help you, so feel free to contact one of our sales reps directly.
Remember, take it from the Paris bookstore; if you want people to buy the book, you can’t always go by the book.