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How important is 100% WYSIWYG in Web-to-Print B2C markets?

How important is 100% WYSIWYG in Web-to-Print B2C markets?

Christoph Schacht

B2C print business is different from B2B. In B2B, most of the time you have customers who know at least a bit about possible issues and because most of the time the order is prepared by professional designers are quite sensible for the many errors which can exist. Also, most of the time pretty solid formats like PDF are used to place an order, so nothing can shift or look totally different. Even if something goes wrong there is enough time planned to get a corrected reprint just in time as everybody knows that errors happen.

End Customers have tight deadlines

The possibly stresses bride ordering her wedding invitation cards is in a different situation. First and foremost, she is not uploading a PDF instead she will use one of the many existing online offerings where you choose a template and then alter headlines text and maybe upload a few images.

Never trust a browser

Once everything is to her liking, she will put her creation in the cart being confident of her work. What she does not know is that she never looked at the real final output file, instead she had been looking at an HTML representation of her layout which is based on the browsers text engine. So, when her card gets into production it will get recomposed as PDF and sometimes small differences in word length led to complete words flipping to the next line or even worse, her text gets eaten up at the end completely. There are even differences between browser engines so that a text in Chrome might look different in Firefox or Edge. So essentially there Is even no right way of converting a text if you start like this.

Repeat your mistakes - really?

But what’s even worse in B2C markets: most of the time things are ordered just in time for an event like her wedding and that there is little to no time to find a remedy. She will probably not delay her wedding just because the invitation card needs to get reprinted. And sometimes even though B2C portals are super-fast with complaints and send reprints out in an instant, customers are getting the same error sent again because the service desk essentially has the same issue of not looking at the final print file but an HTML representation. Imagine this desperate bride with her second batch of faulty cards - pretty sure the shop just lost the complete customer lifetime value with this order.

How to achieve accuracy?

So, what can you do here? Just make sure that your online editing solution does go the extra mile to have its own typography engine which is browser-independent and in the best case uses the same code for output in PDF than to display text to the user. Same counts for all other used effects as well as the complex task of taking care of image profiles and vector colors. Essentially just because it looks easy to create a solution for online editing of documents it isn’t.

In times where every customer voting below five stars is a disaster for your B2C shop, better make sure that this will not give you extra headaches. In the end, WYSIWYG matters a lot for your online print business.

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